Princess Zurg:  There was a boy in my class whose mom let him watch Spiderman 3 but wouldn’t  let him watch Corpse Bride, even though Spiderman 3 is rated PG-13 and Corpse Bride is rated PG.  She said Corpse Bride was too gross.

Giraffemom:  Well, Corpse Bride is a little too macabre for some people.  You know, it’s got all those dead people and…maggots.

PZ:  But those maggots aren’t even real.

GM:  Yeah, well…

PZ:  And Spiderman 3 is rated PG-13 for violence.  Corpse Bride only has one little duel in it.  And it doesn’t have any naked people in it, or anything disgusting like that.

GM:  No.

PZ:  What’s grosser, maggots or naked people?

GM:  Uh…I guess it depends on who’s naked.

PZ:  You mean, if the maggots are naked, they’re grosser, and if the people are naked, they’re grosser?

GM:  Something like that.



So those of you who have been studying for the exam might recall that I’m an assistant librarian at church.  They called me to the position a couple of years ago, and I remarked at the time that Ward Librarian was a position of extreme power among Mormons because librarians are the only individuals aside from the bishopric who have keys to the church library.  Why is the church library such a well-guarded facility?  I guess because electronic equipment is stored there.  Like old TV’s and DVD players and ancient cassette players.  Oh, and erasers.  People are always “borrowing” our erasers and “forgetting” to return them. 

Totally irrelevant aside:  We keep our chalk and erasers in an old wine crate.  The head librarian was conscientious enough to black out the words “Red Wine” but not the word “Mondavi.”  Nor was she conscientious enough to remove the paper towel that resides at the bottom of the crate that says, “Get me wet and I’ll erase for you.”  For some reason that disturbs me more than anything else I’ve seen at church in recent years.  End totally irrelevant aside.

Anyway, as I was saying, any jerk can get keys to the church building itself, but the key to the library is most precious above all other keys.  So naturally I was rubbing my hands with glee, anticipating the moment they bestowed one of these babies upon me.  Well.  There’s a scientific term for this phenomenon; it’s “premature gleeful-hand-rubbing.”  For about a year and a half I did not have any keys, to the building or the library, and every time I had library duty, I had to hunt down keys from one of the other librarians, or from one of the bishopric, and while it wasn’t like crossing the plains on foot in bitter winter and losing my toes to frostbite, it was still a trial for me to bear.  Inconvenience is the scourge of our modern times. 

About a year into this business, I became reconciled (mostly) to the fact that I was never getting a key to the library, and I would just have to settle for the power trip that accompanies eraser disposition.  I kept telling myself, “You know, self, it’s not that they don’t trust you.  It’s that they’re too lazy to make copies.  I mean, they’re too busy.  They are so busy, and they can hardly expect to make your individual library key a top priority, no matter how many times you and the head librarian keep reminding them that you still do not have a key, and you do in fact need one.  It’s not like crossing the plains on foot in bitter winter and getting frostbite.  At worst, it’s like being in a covered wagon and having a cold.  So you can just suck it up, self, and stop trying to rise above your station.”

Then a wonderful thing happened.  The bishopric member from whom I most frequently borrowed keys (because he lives down the street from me) came in one Sunday and presented me with a key to the church building.  Which, as I told you, is the key that any jerk can get–but still, it was more than I had before.  I was now equal to any jerk in the church.  That was nothing to be ashamed of.  Of course, I still needed a library key in order to discharge my librarian duties to the best of my ability–which I ever-so-humbly reminded him, whilst expressing extreme gratitude for the gift already given.  At which point he said, “Oh.  I thought you already had one of those.”  I so humbly and graciously told him that I had not that precious key, but I would be ever so indebted if he could procure one for me.  No pressure.  I’d just been waiting a year and a half, which was not remotely how long it must have seemed to the pioneers crossing the plains in bitter winter, on foot or otherwise. 

In spite of the fact that I was clearly not under any imminent threat, he promised that he would get me a key the following week.  And you know what?  Eventually he did.  And I’m proud to say that since I’ve assumed ownership of that key, I have not once let my rowdy friends into the library to watch unauthorized videos or erase things with wet paper towels.  I have been the very picture of responsibility.

Until I let Elvis play with my keyring with the iffy clasp and the keys to the church building and the library fell off.  Actually, a lot of things fell off–the grocery store club cards, the Blockbuster Rewards card, the tiny and purely decorative rape whistle–but I found all of those things in pretty short order.  The church and library keys were nowhere to be seen.  Naturally.

I didn’t panic initially.  I reasoned that since Elvis had most recently taken my keys down to the mailbox to get the mail (that’s his new favorite chore, second only to taking out the trash), the keys must be somewhere between our front door and the mailbox.  Which is across the street.  Yes, I let him cross the street by himself.  “Street” is really an overstatement–it’s more like “a stretch of asphalt separating my sidewalk from my neighbor’s sidewalk, that sometimes cars drive on.”  Okay, this is really a topic for another blog.  Forget I told you where the mailbox was.  Suffice it to say that I visually scoured every inch of the path that Elvis would have taken to get the mail–and I found a couple of decorative doohickeys from my keychain that had been missing for several days–but no church keys.  I’ve always been afraid that Elvis would accidentally drop my keys into one of the gutters and I’d never see them again, and if you think I didn’t check the gutters–twice–you are mistaken.  That’s when I realized they (the keys) could be anywhere.  Possibly even in my house–meaning that I might never find them!  Augh!  This was when the panic started.

Knowing that if I told the head mucky-mucks that I’d lost my keys–not just the key to the church building, which any jerk can get and which jerks lose all the time, which is why they have to keep re-coding it, but also the coveted, most-precious-above-all-other-keys library key–I had about as much chance of getting replacement keys as I did of getting my pre-pregnancy breasts replaced.  Short of a miracle, it was simply not going to happen.  And it’s not like they would have relieved me of my librarian duties, since I was obviously not to be trusted with church property.  No, they would keep me as assistant ward librarian, forcing me to keep borrowing keys year after year, mocking me with their power–power that I would never again hold, so long as I lived.  It would be a little mini-hell, not unlike what the pioneers went through when they got to Utah and there were no department stores yet. 

So in desperation, I told my kids that my Very Important Keys had been lost and that whoever found them, I would buy that person a Webkinz.  (Is Webkinz an acceptable singular, or should it be Webkin?  This is the question I always ask myself, unless I am too worried about my keys.)  To be perfectly frank, I didn’t expect I would have to deliver on that promise, as I am a pessimist and believe that once something is lost, it can never be found again, all historical evidence to the contrary.  At some level I probably believed that God was punishing me for my negligence.  Letting my five-year-old borrow the keys so he could get the mail, which is across the street–tsk tsk. 

Anyway, I knew I was being extreme, but on the other hand, I really wanted my keys back.  I wanted them at least $13.99 worth.  So I did some back-of-the-envelope calculations and decided that the worst thing that could possibly happen was that I never found my keys.  The second-worst thing would be that both of the older kids found the keys simultaneously and I’d have to buy two new Webkinz and Mister Bubby would say that was unfair because now Princess Zurg would have three and he’d only have two, which would remind Princess Zurg that some kids have seven Webkinz, and we’re really falling behind in the showering-children-with-gifts department, and they would both (continue to) grow up with this disgusting sense of entitlement and they’d never succeed in the real world.  So that’s why I did what I did.

The next 24 hours I just spent re-reconciling myself to the fact that I was never going to have keys to the library.  Then, on Tuesday, we were coming home from swimming lessons, and as Elvis was unlocking the door (with my utterly replaceable house key), Mister Bubby spied the church keys on the welcome mat.  Yes, the welcome mat.  The one that’s right in front of the freaking door.  Now, I assure you people that I had looked all around the door, including that area with the welcome mat, including the welcome mat itself, and the keys were not there.  So make of that what you will.  This was either a test of my faith–which I think I failed–or it was fate smiling on MB, who has been yearning for a Bengal Tiger Webkin(z) for about three months.  Maybe it was both. 

So yesterday, true to my word–and ever so happy to be in possession of all my keys again–I took MB down to the local Webkinz dealer and I bought him a Bengal Tiger.  You know, I still don’t really “get” what Webkinz is all about.  It’s not a fad I ever would have bought into, except that my (or should I say the kids’?) babysitter bought MB and PZ Webkinz for Christmas, and the two have been obsessed with their online pets ever since.  Like I said, I’m still not real clear about what the deal is with these things–they could be part of some weird cult or an international slave trade, for all I know.  For the first couple months the kids had their Webkinz, I didn’t take any interest because a) I’m a busy person and I have my own frivolity to see to, and b) I’m generally negligent.  Then one day MB called me over to see the new swimming pool he’d bought for his Panda, so I went over and looked, and there was this panda bear wearing swim trunks and taking a swim in a pool–and I just about died because it was just the cutest thing I had ever seen. 

Do you get it?  It’s a panda bear and he’s wearing clothes, swimming in a pool, brushing his teeth and sleeping in a hammock, just like he’s people.  It’s beyond adorable.  Maybe a small part of me wanted this Bengal Tiger just for my own enjoyment, and that’s why I lost my keys in the first place.  The Lord works in a mysterious way, that’s all I know. 



Giraffemom:  Mister Bubby, that Bengal Tiger is freaking adorable.

Mister Bubby:  I know.  What should I name him?

GM:  I don’t know.  What do you want to name him?

MB:  Well, one thing’s for sure.  I’m not naming him Jeffrey.

GM:  No, he doesn’t look like a Jeffrey.

MB:  Maybe “Teeny.”  No, that’s a girl’s name.

GM:  Yes, “Teeny” is a tad effeminate for a tiger.

MB:  I know.  How about “Tigey”?

GM:  That sounds…appropriate.