Marvin Goes To The Library

Remember Marvin, the desperately depressed robot from Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy?

Well, I just witnessed an interaction with a real life “Marvin” (or perhaps “Mavis”, since she was female).

I was in the library avoiding the chaos of the house construction to work on Book 12, when an elderly lady came in accompanied by a younger woman.  It was unclear whether the younger woman was her daughter or merely a hapless stand-in, but in any case their mission was to get some audiobooks for “Mavis” (the older woman).

Mavis was blessed with one of those voices that is perfectly pitched to carry with maximum efficiency – quite an attractive voice, but very… audible.  And she had one of those dry British accents:  the kind where you suspect the speaker is making fun of you but you can’t respond in kind because you’re not certain.

So I couldn’t help overhearing.

It started as soon as Mavis came in the door:  “My daughter got me a bunch of books but they’re all science fiction and I hate science fiction.”

I missed the first bit of the exchange because I didn’t immediately recognize the comedic value, but here’s a transcript of the conversation after I started paying attention:

Daughter:  “…How about Robert Ludlum?”

Mavis:  “I don’t like Robert Ludlum – I never understood the Bourne thing.”

Daughter:  “How about Danielle Steele or Debbie Macomber?”

Mavis:  “I don’t like girly books.”

Daughter: *Reads off a title, something about joy*

Mavis:  “I don’t fancy that; I don’t have any of my own.”

Daughter:  *reads off another title:  Ten Steps To (something)*

Mavis:  “Well, I don’t believe in that.”

Daughter:  *reads off *A doctor’s guide to (something)*

Mavis:  “Pooh.  It’s too late for me.”

Daughter:  “This one’s about Zimbabwe…”

Mavis:  “Oh, no, I don’t want to read that.”

Daughter:  “Well, do you have any authors that you’re interested in?”

Mavis:  “No, not really.”

Daughter:  “Do you like Shakespeare?”

Mavis:  “No.”

Daughter:  “This one’s about the Persian war…”

Mavis:  “I don’t like old stuff like that.”

Daughter:  “How about…”

Mavis:  “Are those scary? I don’t like scary stuff.”

Daughter:  You said you like biographies; here’s one about Oprah…”

Mavis:  “I don’t like Oprah.”

Daughter:  “Here’s Marley and Me; it’s about a dog…”

Mavis:  “I’m not into dogs.”

Daughter:  “Would you like this one?”

Mavis:  “No, probably not.  Well, I’ll take it anyway.  I’m getting tired.”

Daughter:  “Here’s a book on end of life…”

Mavis:  “Oh, good, maybe it’ll tell me how to end it.”

*

I fully expected her to moan, “Oh, what’s the use?” in Marvin’s gloomy tones.

And then…

Super-Librarian to the rescue!  In only a few short minutes, the brilliant middle-aged librarian determined Mavis’s interests and loaded her up with biographies of Katharine Hepburn and Steve Martin, and an account of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.  Mavis brightened visibly.

As they moved toward the checkout counter, Mavis’s voice receded:  “You know, I enjoy biographies.  I liked the Schwarzenegger one.”

Librarian:  “You like Schwarzenegger?”

Mavis:  “Oh, yes!”

So, just in case there was any doubt… librarians rock.  But Mavis’s over-the-top gloom and doom gave me my chuckle for the day!

P.S. If I ever get that negative, please remind me of Mavis – it’s sure to make me laugh.

 

 

Bro Bulletin – Questions Of Doom: #1

For the month of Movember, I’m supporting my Mo’ Bros by offering a few helpful insights into the female mind.  Welcome to the Questions of Doom series.

A QOD is an unanswerable and highly dangerous question posed by your wife/significant other.  I’m going to teach you how to escape some common QODs (more or less) unscathed.

* * *

Note:  There are many reasons why I’ve never asked this question myself (not the least of which is that I wear a dress approximately once every five years).  But trust me, guys, I can help you.

QOD #1:  Does this dress make me look fat?

If you’ve ever been hit with this question, you understand the devastating consequences of the wrong answer.  Hint:  Both “yes” and “no” are the wrong answer.

Let’s review:

“Yes” – So, so wrong.  Expect tears, anger, and possibly flying objects.  Don’t expect to get laid any time in the foreseeable future.  And maybe you should wear a cup.  This ain’t pretty, but if you just want to get the whole thing over with, it’s definitely quick.

“No” – This is also the wrong answer.  She doesn’t believe you.  She argues: “Yes, it does.  You’re just saying that.”

It doesn’t matter what you say at this point.  Keep insisting “no”, and she still won’t believe you, you’ll get annoyed, and then she’ll call you an insensitive jerk.   But switch to “yes” and you’re totally doomed.  See consequences above, plus now she thinks you’re a weaselly liar into the bargain.

Best Answer:  “You look hot in everything.  Grrr.” – Accompany this with a kiss, and you might get away scot-free.  But remember, you’re going for distraction here.  A peck on the cheek isn’t gonna cut it.  Just like pulling a punch, a quick lip bump is only going to piss off its recipient.

Go for the gusto.  Kiss her as if you haven’t seen a woman in ten years.

In the beyond-your-wildest-dreams scenario, she says, “Grrr yourself, big fella.”  Nature takes its course, and you end up too busy mattress dancing to go to the stupid event you were dressing for the in the first place.  But don’t get your hopes (or anything else) up for that.

In the best case scenario, she finishes getting dressed with a smile on her face.  (You didn’t really expect to get lucky at this stage, did you?  She’s focused on getting dressed.  But your chances are looking pretty good for some action later if you play your cards right.)

Worst case scenario, she relents and changes the question to, “But do you like the blue one or the black one better?”

Danger, Will Robinson!  This is a trick question.

You probably already know that “I don’t care, just put on something and let’s go” is the wrong answer.  But do not, under any circumstances, breathe a sigh of relief and choose a dress.  That will start the whole process all over again.

The only correct answer is, “The (pick a dress randomly) one makes your boobs/ass/legs look amazing.  Grrr.”

Repeat as needed.

You can thank me later.  (But if you score, I don’t want details.)

Movember Moment:  Depression is one of the most common mental health issues men face. Guys, if you think you may be depressed, see your doctor – don’t wait. The sooner you start working on it, the sooner you’ll start to feel better. Here’s a description of symptoms, risk factors, triggers, and treatments for depression in men.

P.S. Thanks to Le Clown for starting Bloggers for Movember. In support of the cause, I’ll donate half the November royalties from my paperback and e-book sales from all channels to the Cancer Society. Please spread the word!