When I first got my ASKME license plate, a few people thought I’d get unwanted attention from it. I’m not sure what form this attention was going to take, but needless to say, it never materialized. I do get people commenting on it from time to time and I always consider it a sort of “outreach for librarians everywhere” situation. It usually goes like this.

Random stranger: *looks at license plate* Ask you what?
Me: Anything, I’m a public librarian!

And then they usually laugh and sometimes they’ll come up with some sort of reference question on the fly and I give them some sort of answer and we all walk away from it feeling nominally better about the whole thing. Friday night I got back late from my trip to Iowa [which went great, you can read more about my talks and adventures on] and was driving through the parking garage exit/pay gate. It was late and I was a little bleary. When I got to the little kiosk, the guy there was already laughing.

Guy at kiosk: *laughing* Ask you what, dear?
Me: Anything, I’m a public librarian!
Guy at kiosk: *still laughing* Aren’t you precious. Well, could god make a boulder so big he couldn’t move it?
Me: I suppose so, if he existed. Don’t you think?
Guy at kiosk: Maybe so…
Me: I mean, I could get you a citation if you want one….
Guy at kiosk: *laughs* Nah, that’s okay. What library do you work in?
Me: Tunbridge.
Guy at kiosk: *laughs* Well okay then, have a good evening.

I’m not totally sure what the funny part was and I’m not sure if I botched the question and I usually hate it when people call me dear, but for some reason this exchange — in addition to seeing hippies playing Jenga in the airport when I got in at midnight — cheered me, the equivalent of a footsie-wootsie for my well-being.

What do you think?


  1. This reminds me somehow of this conversation i had with a lady on the bus when i was in toronto for clown school. people don’t really talk on the bus in toronto, so it was kind of a big deal she had started to talk to me.

    she asked me what i was doing in toronto, and i said that i was in clown school. she paused, thought a moment, and then said, “well, god has a place for everybody,” and she said it in such a voice of sincerity, that i knew that she meant it. it was a sweet moment.

  2. when i was in toronto for clown school.

    Now there’s a sentence you don’t hear every day.

  3. Botched it? Nah. Look up Harry Frankfurt’s (short) paper “The Logic of Omnipotence”–it’s a fun read.