Category Archives: Lobby Book

Originally appeared in the Perkins Lobby Suggestion Book.

Stubby little pencils

Those stubby little pencils that all reference and circulation desks give out.  They used the same kind when I was in college 3-5 years ago.  What are they called?  What is their history?  How many does Duke buy per year? [3597C]

[written in answer space:  “History–I have seen this type of pencil used for score cards at most golf courses”]

[written in original hand:  “Interesting.  But did libraries come first?”]

Duke only buys one very, very long one each year and staff cut it into “stubby little pencils” (both technical name and accepted vernacular).  It’s brought in on a series of flat bed trucks, usually in late July, and dis(as)sembled and sharpened at Wallace Wade Stadium.

Embrace the chaos

Who makes all the little aluminum foil people/statues and places them so wonderfully around campus? [3595A]

[written in answer space:  “Most likely the person who wrote the above question.  Cute self-promotion, sweetie.”  In other hand, with arrow to above comment:  “unnecessarily bitchy.  Get some self-confidence yourself.”  In other hand, both instances of “self” above circled:  “Redundant?”]

The answer is, I don’t know and I don’t want to know.  For what it’s worth, for me the fun is in finding the very small versions in unexpected places around campus.  Where’s the mystery in seeing that aluminum homunculus sitting at the Circulation Desk?  It creeps me out!  But the creator has received some press, for instance at Duke Today.

Pen is not provided

Why don’t you provide a writing utensil (that could be tied down) with which to write in this book? [3594C]

[written in answer space:  “You’re at Duke.  Ask your dad to send you some $.”  In other hand, with arrow to above comment:  “No need to be sexist.”  In other hand:  “One is provided, theft on campus is rampant.”

I don’t provide a writing utensil because I’m trying to discourage all the anatomical renderings.

Definition of luck

Dear answer person, Finals coming up, wish me luck ok?  By the way, I want to know your definition of ‘luck’.  Thank you! [3593A]

Finals?!  Yikes!  I guess I’ve been on holiday all summer.

I’ve always liked the definition of luck offered by Seneca, who wrote, just before not very efficiently killing himself, that “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

What is the meaning of life without love?

What is the meaning of life without love? [3586B]

[written in answer space:  There’s so much to life beyond love.  Look harder to find meaning.  Love is a complement and not a necessary criterion to giving life meaning.]

What life means has been considered and debated by countless philosophers, theologians, artists, and assorted weirdos.  If “love is a complement and not a necessary criterion to giving life meaning,” as the Secret Scribbler asserts, the lemon next to the pie, so to speak, let me live in a grove of lemon trees.

Blog / Answer Book Comparison: an uncritical analysis

11/16/09  How long does it take you to answer these questions (in the book) vs. the blog? [3592C]

Aren’t you clever, posing this question online and in the book on the same date?  I answered the former the next day, and am just getting to the latter.  So the short answer is that online submissions are answered faster.  My Personal Elf retrieves pages from the book every couple of weeks and I answer as quickly as time permits.  We intend to put ourselves on an rigorous espresso regimen to pick up the pace.

Then again, I might’ve delayed answering the book version just to mess with you!