Friday, October 16, 2009

Are somewhat weak analogies also an Internet cliche?

I recently adopted two cats. Yes, I am a single librarian blogging about her cats. The Internet may collapse under the sheer weight of that many cliches.


I first tried to adopt a cat through a local shelter. I went and visited and found a cat who clearly loved me; even the shelter volunteers remarked upon how much this cat loved me. Completed an adoption application. Waited. And was ultimately rejected because I could not produce vet records from the last time I owned cats. Which was, for the record, five years and at least three moves ago.

Having failed to keep what ended up being necessary records makes me feel like a Bad Librarian. During my first year at my current job I purged the file cabinet; I purged the crap out of those files. And even though every logical fiber in my being tells me otherwise, every once in a while I still wonder if I made a mistake in tossing library accession records from 1988. I know, logically, that they're not even close to being an accurate reflection of my current collection, and that with an automated catalog accession records are, at best, redundant. But finding myself in a position where I had gotten rid of records that were, apparently, more useful than I realized, I found myself questioning my willingness to purge; what if tomorrow someone comes through the door and offers me a million dollar grant--but only if I can produce library accession records from 1988? What then, I ask?

Then nothing, really. 'Cause when I think about it, anyone who has such a ridiculous, rather arbitrary, mostly meaningless standard for giving me a million dollar grant is probably going to have other ridiculous, unreasonable demands, and is definitely crazier than average. And after talking with some people about how ridiculous this shelter was being I discovered that they had more than once adopted out pets without disclosing health and behavioral issues. And if I get either cats or a million dollars from someone, I want the person I'm dealing with to judge me--as either a pet owner or a librarian--by who I am and how I do my job, not on my ability to keep outdated paperwork around.

So I went to a different shelter, staffed by sane people enforcing reasonable standards. And now I have two cats who are, naturally, named after characters in my favorite book. I am, however, still waiting for someone to offer me a million dollars.

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