The Answer Person

Please let the identity of the sparkling wit who provides all of us with hours of amusement with his/her clever and charming responses to our mindless questions be known.

Ans.: Your appreciation of the finer things marks you as a most perceptive individual. As it is said, flattery will get you everywhere. If the curtain hiding the answerer’s identity were lifted it would reveal 12 chimpanzees dutifully typing away on IBM Selectrics. Each day the chimp with the best composed answer is rewarded with a banana and the answer is inserted into the Suggestion/Answer Book.

What is your favorite colour?

Ans.: Mainly warm, bright ones such as the yellows and reds.

Have you done this since 10-14-82? If so, that’s quite a feat. If not, that’s okay too.

Ans.: Yes. With momentary lapses from fits of distemper, the same hand and mind (with lots of help from colleagues) has responded (and benefited from) the concerns and comments expressed in these pages.

My God, this library has a sense of humor!! This book is incredible!! 1) who is this person that so neatly types answers to even the most asinine questions? 2) what’s the deal w/ the clock on the way to the ground floor reading room? Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Why? Is it a communist plot to disorient the up & coming capitalist leaders?

Ans.: The identity of the responder is a top secret; anyone found in the lobby wearing a pillowcase over their head is a likely candidate. Thanks for letting us know about the clock; we’ll check it out.

Forbid morons from answering in your place.

Ans.: A local terrorist group has offered to liquidate anyone answering, out of turn, the suggestions in this book. They’ll be patrolling the lobby day and night, assuring its integrity, sanctity, and purity.

Who is this all-knowing person that answers all of our questions? Would you consider yourself an “important” person?

Ans.: All know-it-alls are important, especially so to themselves.

Can I be your aide or possibly take over your job. It seems more fun than my job at the hospital. I’m an English major so I can write. If I can take over or help you than call Teddy at X-7043.

Ans.: Thanks for your interest and kind offer. Are you sure you’re ready for the anxiety, uncertainty and indecisiveness caused by incomplete and non-specific suggestions? Then, too, there’s the lonely suffering engendered by an enforced anonymity. It’s really best for one to suffer than for two.

Why are there so many unanswered questions? Please respond as soon as possible (however, after the ones before this stupid suggestion!)

Ans.: To prepare you for the real world where answers are scarce and questions many.

Who writes the responses to all these questions? Specifically the ones that don’t require expert opinions, just a cute response to the not-so-serious questions. The ones on the previous page are good examples.

Ans.: Non-expert responses are composed on a word processor using Obfuscation II software. Parameters for whimsy, sagacity, and avoiding the issues are pre-set with minimal port contention and hardly a twisted pair.

Will you marry me?

Ans.: Leave a picture and last year’s tax form 1040 and your proposal will be given all due consideration.

Are you on vacation? What’s taking so long to answer pp. 929-945? I don’t want to study — I need distractions.

Ans.: It’s the hordes of college kids at my favorite resort, Puerto Escondido in Oxaca. Because of the overcrowding I always jet down the week after Spring break. Pardon the lapse; it’s necessary for my tan.

I write for The Chronicle and I’d be interested in doing a telephone interview with you sometime. I assume you want to remain anonymous — hence a telephone interview. If you are interested, please leave a message for Steve at The Chronicle.

Ans.: They’ve taken away my rotary dial phone. Feel free to come to Room 220 and schedule an interview. You are right about the required anonymity; we hope you won’t mind wearing a flour sack over your head.

Who are you?

Ans.: A composite personality sketch would look amazingly like the 7 dwarfs.

a) Who is answering this question? b) When are the Cleveland Browns going to beat the Denver Broncos and advance to the Super Bowl?

Ans.: a) For various reasons, no one takes responsibility for answers in this book. b) Never.

What is your job? Do you just sit in an office all day and write ridiculous responses to these questions.

Ans.: No, sometimes I stand up; not infrequently answers are composed out of the office with the help of a Ouija Board; other times, Sister Grace (Class of ’72) of Highway 70 helps out. Bonzo, the new Duke lemur, has been assigned responsibility for ridiculous responses.

Who do you like better: Whitesnake or Motley Crue?

Ans.: Any time they sing along with Waylon Jennings they’re both great.

Give the person who writes the answers in this book a raise to make sure they don’t quit — reading these responses while finishing my Fritos and Mountain Dew in the lobby is always the highlight of my visits to Perkins.

Ans.: Aw, shucks, Mom. You gotta quit writing in this book.

I suggest that you, masquerading as a humble library suggestion book, are actually the omniscient all-being, master of the cosmos. Your ability to field any question presented proves this. Why have you chosen this form?

Ans.: It beats being a sparrow in the shade of an uplifted elephant’s foot.

Who are you people who answer these questions and what do you want? Do they pay you?

Ans.: We are unemployed OPEC administrators. It is said that gratuities will produce results; no sheep’s eyes please. Yes, some pay is involved but more is our motto.

Who are you? (The incredibly witty person who writes these Answers) Want to go out??

Ans.: The “incredibly witty person” is in reality a shoe box stuffed full of old fortune cookie tapes. These are arbitrarily and randomly pulled out as suggestions are entered. The shoe box is a size 10 1/2 wide; what size are you?

Hello. This isn’t a suggestion — it’s more of a request — but who is responsible for this book — is she female — and will she marry me. Look, I know I’m being forward and all, but after reading these answers — I find myself longing to meet the author (Such a wit!) I know you were proposed to on pg. 396 of this book and I know you probably want nothing to do with an intelligent, wealthy, single white male with Italian features and a draconian sense of humor — but I have to ask. P.S. — I don’t buy fortune cookies.

Ans.: Barbara Cartland needs to know of your forlorn interest — a perfect plot for her next novel entitled: Perkins Passion: The Poignant Story of how an Anonymous Answer Person and a SWWIM (with Italian features) met and … (gasp!).

Who cuts your hair?

Ans.: The little known Duke Institute of Barber Science. The student barbers, all former family practice pre-meds seeking a more rewarding career path, clip away on the walk-in trade in the hair lab off of Morgue Circle. Try their radiation cut; it’s on special this week.

Are you the guy with curly hair who works nights at the reference desk?

Ans.: You’ve identified one of the three of us. Now find Curly and Moe.

Were you the one who waved to me from the back of that ’73 Gremlin in Minneapolis last Tuesday?

Ans.: Yes, but I wasn’t waving. Since the Gremlin’s windows no longer close, my arm had frozen into the uplifted gesture made a block previously to a Yellow Cab driver.

To the “Answerer” — We love your responses! Meet 3 lovely girls for dinner at Anotherthyme, Dec. 5 @ 7:00 p.m. Hope you can make it. RSVP here!!

Ans.: We’ll be there with the wife and kids, Horace, Bulgar, Santio, Reynard, Qui Quog, Oscar, Woodrow, Desmond, Librambo, Propitious, Bodacious, Erstwhile, Elgar, Enis, and Mary Lou. Here’s to a large free balance in your Visas.

I have read this book and am thoroughly enthralled by the wit and self assuredness of the responses. Who, I would like to know, answers these questions, what are your measurements and can I have your phone number. An attractive stud.

Ans.: Your solicitous words have set this Southern heart all aflutter. But, surely it cannot be. What would my mates on the tag team wrestling circuit say? Worse yet, what about Jo Beth Ann and the children?

How do you get the job of answering this book?

Ans.: Suggestion/Answer Book Responder licensing tests are given annually by the Educational Testing Service in the Life Career Office. Arco, publisher of “Meat Inspector III” and “Police Lieutenant,” offers a paperback on the subject with sample test questions. Stanley Kaplan teaches, each Spring, a short course on it called “Obfuscation and Avoidance: You Too Can Succeed.”

Oh, great answer deity, I have spent 4 years at this esteemed institution learning and working in many areas. Now I have graduated & have completed my term of employment. I have found a job in the big city (Richmond, VA). Who will I turn to there for advice? Does the answer book deliver there, like the fast-food establishments? The thought of living in the cruel world without your wisdom & squishy chairs horrifies me!

Ans.: Cheer up, now the fun begins. Always read the funny pages first and keep your powder dry.

Who are you, o Mr. Responder???

Answer from another patron: Mr.? This type of humor & patience can only come from a woman!

Ans.: It is forbidden to speak the name of the “responder.” Doing so results in a little man dressed in lederhosen taking your firstborn.

Who are you?

Ans.: Who am I? That’s a question similar to “Where am I, and why?” Just another pilgrim on life’s long trek.

What religion are you? My best guess is Hindu.

Ans.: Actually, I’m a closet Naturalist.

Does the person who writes the “ANSWERS” have a gray mustache, gray hair, blue eyes with the potential of a white mustache, white hair, blues eyes? Time to “preserve” what he has? In Greece–no one has white hair–Why?

Ans.: Octopus ink, maybe? Olive oil hair dressing? Some Greek statuary has no head or arms or other extremities; the issue of hair color pales in that condition.

Who answers these suggestions anyway and why don’t you just stand here all day and night so we wouldn’t have to write in this book at all?

Ans.: Only on Halloween does the Great Answer Pumpkin appear and provide stimulating repartee for and all.

Reveal yourself! I read you more than textbooks — come out! I must know! Get used to disappointment. Besides we’re all in love with you anyway. Merry Christmas in any case.

Ans.: And a happy new year to you! Alas, even the warm sunshine of your adoration will not entice me from the shade of anonymity. Anyway, not knowing makes it more fun for everyone.

Welcome back, o answer book god(dess), to another exciting and wisdom-filled year. May you guide us all through the depths of our research (and search for prime scoping spots).