Friday, October 2, 2009

Romance Under the Sea

If my coworkers and I have any kind of reputation at all in our own little world, it’s the propensity to do over-the-top displays. (By “our own little world” I mean our department.) We build things; we hang things from the lights; we create elaborate sets; we use props that you might never see in another library if you live to be 100; we do whatever we can to draw as much attention as possible to whatever it is we are trying to display. Sometimes, I think we sell off a piece of our souls to make it all come together, but if people stop and look, we feel vindicated.

Such was not the case recently.

In an attempt to try to win favor with the local schools, we were asked to do some kind of display to celebrate and promote the high school’s homecoming. We had very little time to concoct our plan and put it into action, and we were all lacking in creative inspiration, which is not surprising given what the theme of homecoming was this year.

Romance Under the Sea.

Dear FSM, is that on some kind of two-year rotation schedule in every high school? Can we not come up with anything more interesting than that? What the hell is the library supposed to do with that?

Well, we did something. Something that will go down in history as the single ugliest display we have ever done. It’s one of those things that will appear from every angle to be a big fuck-you to the high school and those who asked us to do the display, but the absolute truth of the matter is that this was the very best we could do, and that is sad.

We hung two gigantic stuffed fish from the light fixtures, paper-clipped their lips together, dangled heart bubbles coming up from their lips, and surrounded them with streamers in the school’s colors. It was absurd and it was disturbed. And in a strange kind of way, we were proud of how awful it was.

Meet the fish.

People did double-takes and looked away confused. Who can blame them?

Even the fish looked like they were not enjoying it.

Although, I swear, the ugliness, awkwardness, agony, and utter horror on this fish’s face sums up my high school experience pretty accurately.

Sergeant came in the day it was finished, closed his eyes and swore he’d never look directly at it again. When he stood by my desk talking to me, he made sure to keep his back to the fish and refused to turn around.

Me: Why? Because it’s so ugly?

Sergeant: No, that wasn’t the word I was going to use.

Me: What was?

Sergeant: Nah. Never mind.

Me: No, now you have to tell me.

Sergeant: No.

Me: Is it awful? Terrible? Horrible? Disturbing?

Sergeant: Yeah, any one of those work.

Me: But what were you going to say?

Sergeant: There was a guy I hung out with in the army and whenever he saw something that was disgusting, he said it looked like ass. That…looks like ass.

I agree. Very much so.

Thankfully, homecoming is over and we were able to destruct our assy display of kissing fish, much to the relief of our staff and patrons.

It wasn’t until the display was done and gone that we received the kind of suggestion that might have made for a fabulous display, straight from the ingenious mind of one of our coworkers.

She said we should’ve had a gigantic letter C hanging from the ceiling, and put some romance novels beneath it.


Hindsight in this case makes us wish we were blind and didn’t have to look at that stupid display for a week.

We’ll really have to crank it up for the next display to make up for this disaster.


Shy said...

It looks like innocent Nemo is being accosted by some older, smarmy, mustachioed fish from the wrong side of the pond. It's fantastic.

Um, you guys just happened to have two gigantic stuffed fish?

Anonymous said...

Holy Mother of Poseidon--that is one disquieting display and I find myself looking at it again and again like a horrible car wreck.

PS Where did you get the barbled fish? I want one--badly.

Happy Villain said...

Yes, we just happened to have them. Actually, they're leftovers from our Summer Reading Club theme: Reel In a Good Book, where people had to sign up by filling out a fishing license at the fishing hut and then got Goldfish crackers and Gummy Worms, among other prizes. I was so hopeful the fish were going to go off to sleep with the fishes, but they were brought back. UGH!

One of my coworkers got it at a garage sale and we threw it upon the fishing hut, attached by a line to the mannequin dressed in waders and holding a pole. I told you we are over-the-top.