Musical Monday vol. 11: ALA conference = good times

My internet just came back online today, after having been briefly cut off due to some foolish business about "payment" and a "seriously overdue balance" or some such thing. Pah. Yesterday I took care of that little issue, although it will mean delaying some other, equally important things, but right now I am in far too good a mood to be upset about that.

You see, over the weekend and through tomorrow, I have had a temp job that takes me to the American Library Association's yearly conference at McCormick place. When I first arrived on Saturday, I had no idea what the nature of the assignment would be; I'd assumed it would involve sitting in a booth and attempting to convince librarians to "use this product or service rather than some other, equally useful product or service".

Instead, I get to hand out the free ALA Conference newspaper, which is called "Cognotes." This paper has been the vehicle of ALA news at these conferences for years, so between the fact that the papers are familiar to attendees and the fact that they are free, I have the distinct good fortune to be handing out pieces of literature to people who actually want them and are happy to receive them.

In part because of this, it's a pretty fun job, and has provided me with great amusement. On Saturday, for instance, there was a large robot roaming my designated hallway advertising something or other. I assume, by the quality of its banter, that it was being directed and voiced by remote control, because when I walked up to it and made as if to hand it a newspaper, it got the joke, and rolled around for awhile calling "Paper, paper! Get your paper here!", with me following close on its treads waving a copy of said paper in the air. On Sunday I saw a couple of guys dressed as the Blues Brothers; they were apparently performing that afternoon. Today's newspaper even featured of photo of the winners of the ALA Book Cart Drill Team championship, the Oak Park Library Vikings. If I remember to bring home a copy of yesterday's paper later, I will scan it in and post it, so you can share my joy in having a clear mental picture of Viking librarians riding book carts.

However, the principal cause of my joy in this temp gig has been because I realized Saturday afternoon that there was no reason for me not to sing. So long as I sing as a means of letting people know that I would give them free Cognotes if they wish to have one, I have carte blanche to be a complete ham, and walk around in public showing off my meloodious pipes and my ability to improvise new lyrics to familiar melodies. I can stand at the top of the escalator and serenade people in a mellow fashion. I can walk up and down the hall singing at the top of my lungs. I can stroll past the crowd standing in line waiting for the exhibition hall in the morning and sing to them. As I remarked to one of the security guards, with whom I've had some very pleasant chats, "There are many things I love in this world. Coffee, chocolate, kittens, surprises...but one thing every member of my family dearly loves, is a captive audience."

Here are some of my favorite selections:

To the tune of "Midnight Special":
Come and get your Cognotes
Issue Three today
Get your new free Cognotes
The newspaper of the ALA

To the tune of "You Ain't Nothin' But A Hound Dog":
If you haven't got a Cognotes
You got to let me know
If you'd like to have a Cognotes
Come on and let it show
Cognotes will tell you all you need to know

If you don't have a Cognotes
I can help you out
If you would like a Cognotes
Just give me a shout
I'm here to give you free Cognotes
Of that there is no doubt

To the tune of the "Ode to Joy":
Cognotes is a free newspaper
Published by the ALA
If you don't yet have a Cognotes
I'm here to give them away

To the tune of the chorus of "Greensleeves":
Cognotes lets you know what's happening at the ALA conference
Cognotes will keep you informed about all events of consequence

Other tunes included Bridge Over Troubled Waters, the "I hate Flanders" song from the Simpsons, the Simpsons theme, Freebird, D'yer Mak'er, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, The PiƱa Colada Song, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, What a Wonderful World, the theme from Flipper, and Friends In Low Places. Oh, and Cabaret, but that was mostly for people standing in line at the entrance to the exhibition hall or at Starucks:
What good is standing
Alone in a line
With nothing at all to read?
Come get a free Cognotes, my friends
It might be what you need

At Dave's suggestion, I also did "Bring it on down to Cognotes-ville", a la Justin Timberlake's dancing advertisement sketches on Saturday Night Live.

Late this morning, I found a couple of ladies holding up signs announcing the ALA Members' Meeting. Of course I couldn't let them just stand there and hold up their signs all by themselves--especially since they were right next to my favorite escalator. So I stood next to them and mixed it up a bit by making up combination Cognotes/meeting jingles.

Afterwards, shortly before it was time to leave for the day, one of the sign-holding ladies came up to me, thanked me for helping them out, and told me I was a Twitter celebrity at the conference. Apparently a singing newspaper girl was enough of a novelty that people felt they needed to Tweet about it. Given that this is the first time my life has connected with the existence of Twitter in any way, I am delighted.

All in all, it's been a pretty good few days. I have an interview at another temp agency tomorrow afternoon, and after an interview last Thursday and a drug test Sunday, I anticipate being employed as a cashier at Dominick's by the end of the month. My financial situation is still pretty desperate, but nonetheless, things are looking up in Fiatville.


Amber E said...

It sounds like the happy singing brightened peoples days, I'm glad you had a good time and made it memorable for folks. I want you to have fun at work. Hopefully Dominicks (or any temp/permanent job that displaces it) will offer possibilities.


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