The Newburyport Library’s Hidden Treasure

I find at the Newburyport Library, which is one of my favorite places in all of Newburyport, and somehow makes paying my property taxes less painful, a small, and what looks like a treasure chest of a section. I decide to keep the “call number” of this treasure chest of a section, a big fat secret, and not to share it with anyone, not even any of the librarians that work at the Newburyport Library in Newburyport, MA.

I impulsively dub this section the, “Everything is going to be all right, really and truly, at least I hope so, ” section of the Newburyport Library, in Newburyport, MA. I spot a book by Stephen Colbert, so I know this finite area contains humorous stuff. Humor being something that I could use a heaping dose of in these scary and uncertain economic times.

And I spot an old friend (my mother used to say, semi rolling her eyes, “Books are our friends”), “Lost in the Cosmos, the Last Self-Help Book,” by Walker Percy, which I snatch from the shelf, as if it might be snatched from my hands, and usher it downstairs to the beautiful granite topped checkout center, before scurrying home with my new found treasure.

And that night I sit down in the comfiest chair possible and start to read, once again, Walker Percy’s “Lost in the Cosmos.”

By page two I no longer smile in anticipation, but begin to frown. By page four I turn back to the copyright page to find out when this book had actually been written–1983, a while ago. By page eight I call it quits.

The book no longer seems like a witty commentary on the society in which we live. It seems bitter, angry and confused about the direction that society is taking. I am beginning to understand a) why “irony” has been getting such a bad name lately and b) why this book has been sitting on the shelf and does not have a long waiting list instead.

I wonder out loud to myself if it could be possible that we as a culture could have actually outgrown an angry 1980′s ironic phase?

And I think about our almost president to be Obama. Over and over again the one thing people seem to agree on, and still seem to agree on, is that here is a man that does not appear to be angry, when in fact, many think he should be.

And last night as I flip through the channels looking for the latest inaugural news, on one of the cable channels I come across someone who says that they think that it is “ironic” that our new president will be inaugurated the day after Martin Luther King Day.

I think to myself that I in fact I do not think that this is “ironic” at all, now that I am coming to the conclusion that it may be possible that “irony” may indeed be going out of fashion.

Instead I think of it as what a wise friend of mine calls “God’s pinky.” Possibly that this “coincidence” could be the god of my understanding indicating that electing the first African American president is a very good thing.