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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

A Surreal Forray into the Periodicals

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As I enter the UNESCO-protected moss-draped literary woodland, flanked by Dakota County gingko groves and abundant shrubbery from which the piercing screams of the circulation desk shred out mundanity and order, I hear the translucent humming of a Yo La Tengo track on the midnight crammer’s laptop. Reference librarians scuttle underfoot, and high in the trampoline canopy I hear the cawing of a Scarlet Blue-Banded Researching Professor as he calls to the Wide-eyed Sophomoric Owl (Bubo magnoculus pubescens), a clueless wreck on 7th Week. I feel myself falling deeper and deeper into the looks from my peers which seem to say, “Interrupt my studying, and you’ll get eviscerated on Yik-Yak.” This goes on until several minutes of circling leads me into a strangely empty void barricaded by a vertical assortment of common leaf litter. Ugh, never has the term “litter” been more appropriate to describe forest floor debris. It’s as though a chemical company sprayed them, preventing decomposition.

And so I find myself staring at the periodicals section. I’ve got to be the first one ever to go in there. What an odd little nook, the bookcase is in. A neglected assortment of dead-end publications and useless writings all stacked together on an all-too flimsy bookcase, a dormant enterprise in the no man’s land couch corner. It’s pitiful, but, at the same time, not altogether surprising, given the material. As I glance around the room, I see intense stares and ears being blasted with the latest cheap sensation and hands anxiously sliding through hair, as well as the occasional distracted Snapchat selfie.

But, most notably, not a single hand turns the page of our treasured periodical collection. With such titles as Bitch and Bomb, an issue of The Atlantic adorned with a tinfoil soldier, the rubbery face of Donald Trump in bombastic pursed lip-mode, and the ornithophilic Audubon magazine, you’d batten down the hatches for an imminent inundation of customers. But don’t worry, you’ve also got a cover featuring medium rare steak sloppily hanging off the edge of a fork along with several publications that wouldn’t look out of place in the same zoning district as Cub and the grim outskirts of Northfield, certainly not within sight of an institution as esteemed as this one.

I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but the library is a collective office, and these are simply desk objects to fiddle with. Though even as a glaring distraction, the periodicals section fails to deliver. With all due respect, I’d love to have a nice little section for magazines and news tidbits, but we could perhaps discard some of the flashier, tawdry publications and keep the weightier, more collegiate stuff. We’ve gotta give the candy to the children and leave the fruits and vegetables for the adults.

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