the Wakefield Doctrine (…of thee I sing…)
(for fans of 1970’s rock and roll albums, I paraphrase: “people keep asking, wheres the roger?”)
Being the being that be what I am, I indulge in the following screwing with the system, a re-positioning of a comment by the (Progenitor) roger. (Hint: he is one of the three in the picture to the left.)
(From the Roger; Beware the UltraRoger)
Being a Roger, I am eerily cognizant of how important it is to other Rogers to have a supply of regularly updated examples of our kind in action in the world. Helps us to look up from the particular patch of grass that we are currently obsessing on, and take notice of other elements in our world that we can be equally obsessed with.( Ah, bitter sarcasm…) And maybe someday, through simple repetition, to rise above obsession altogether. To actually achieve complete spiritual freedom. Nirvana. Salvation. I find it quite ironic that the ultimate lesson of the Wakefield Doctrine is to be able to abandon the Wakefield Doctrine. If you meet the Clark on the road, kill him…
So… today’s illustration begins with me going, as I often do, to the local library. Chance would have it that today they were hosting a book sale, which is normally a somewhat less than stellar event. Typically attended by a sporadic assortment of damaged and battle-weary Rogers and Clarks, with an occasional flanking raid by a half-starved and fervently desperate Scott. But this one was way different. It might have been the driving rain that did it, or an aftereffect of a tanked economy, but the place was packed. Overrun with the flat-out strangest damned array of human flotsam I’ve seen in a while, and between years of rock and roll bands and re-enacting, believe me, I have seen some truly jaw- dropping weirdness. I am not aspiring to separate myself from my brethren, but these people worried me. There is, in the world, a very particular and really disturbing faction of casualties who seem to lurk in the corners of public places, and especially favor libraries. ( Of course I am NOT included here; I always have a very good reason for being there. I peruse; they just wander aimlessly) From the teenager with the hopefully functional cassette walkman who sat in a corner doggedly going through an entire mountain of books on tape, to the three old ladies running what I think was meant to be a row of antique tables but was actually an assortment of broken lamps and crockery, truly filthy small kitchen appliances ( a blender with several multi-colored rings inside of it, really very Van Gogh if you looked at it from a safe distance) and possibly the strangest of all; several boxes of old dolls, all of whom seemed to be missing limbs. Now , all this has been seen before, at flea markets and such…but at the library?
The massive display of books was very well organized, each section with a dutiful attendant bagging books and answering the geuinely strange questions that can be posited only by a tragically twisted Roger or Clark. ” There is a particular James Patterson title that I need. Why don’t you have it? Why can’t you get it for me? Do the other libraries have it? Can I get it from the regular library shelf? Why not?” And so on. Not a single one of them seemed to understand the subtle nuance between a Borders retail store and…a library fundraiser.
As implied, Rogers were in great supply here. All shapes and sizes. All social groupings. Families, with children posing weird questions to their parents, who in turn demanded them to the hapless and exasperated librarians. Couples…” no, honey, get the other one.” This, overheard while a pair of Land’s End professorial sorts pored through a few dozen of the same Dean Koontz title, looking for the most recent printing. Why? Why is this important? Am I less of a Roger for wanting to reprimand them? For realizing that if they were at the outer edge of the herd, even a badly wounded Scott could get them both with one stroke? One should remain vigilant while the other indulges. This is a cardinal rule for fledgling Rogers.
And then I saw them. The Rogerian couple of all time and space. Consisting of a typically attractive but totally subserviant Rogerian female, and…him. Pretty impressive for suburban Rhode Island. She all but swept the floor before him as he passed through the crowded aisles without allowing any inferior creature to come into direct contact. Brown suede boots, straight jeans, Australian-style duster coat ( I hate those) and a meticulously polished and perfectly placed leather outback hat. With a chinstrap.( Hate all that, too.)Thank God that they don’t allow horses in libraries, he would have been sidesaddle, with a parasol. The look of utter distaste and contempt as he waited for the female to search for acceptable material for his perusal.He also had a carry-basket gleaned from the nearby supermarket. She would bring him a book; he would inspect it thoroughly ( for what, exactly, I could not determine), check the cover ( for tears, I suppose)and finally… smell it. Yes. Smell it. As if he were verifying Satan’s babies’ diapers. And then, if acceptable, it went in the bin. I observed, and resisted the urge to grab the chinstrap and try to fling him across the room. A small opportunity did present itself, however. The female brought him a book which he had just started inspecting when she brought yet another. He put the first one down while he was distracted by the second, and on impulse, I quickly moved in and grabbed the first one. Moving away, I immediately went to the checkout line,( I had had quite enough by then)and bought the damned thing just to screw up his day. Turns out, I now have a copy of an old Andrew Greeley detective novel. Completely useless. But it was worth the dollar. And it smells ok to me. But… the weirdest bit is that the main character in it has my same last name. It’s a pretty unusual name. Remember my other rant about Rogers and sychronicity? I know that it means something, but I haven’t the slightest idea what…
Oh, and I also got a copy of the Eric Clapton biography that came out last year. It was in a section marked ” Rogerian Apologists.” ( That is not true.)
So, kindly leave a donation on your way out, mind the stairs and be sure to come back.