Written by Fred Patten and published on Bruce Pelz's mimeograph, January 13, 1965. Intended for Apa L, Thirteenth Distribution, LASFS Meeting no. 1431, Jan. 14, 1965. Address: 1825 Greenfield Avenue, Los Angeles, California, 90025. Phone: GR 3-6321.
|LONCON II in 1965!||Jock Root for TAFF!||Salamander Press #69.|
Things are a little late this week, and I'm typing this up on my office typewriter, an IBM electric. It occurs to me that I may not have mentioned my job to you before, and I think it'd be handy if I said a few words about it to let everybody know just what it is I do when I'm not attending LASFS Meetings and pubbing fanzines. I assume all of you have some sort of mundane lives too, though for all I know about most of my fellow LASFS members, they pack you away in the storage closet at the back of the Playground after each Meeting, and only let you come alive on Thursday nights.
I'm a catalog librarian at the Los Angeles County Law Library, down at 301 West First Street. This is right downtown at First and Broadway, just a block away from City Hall. You won't see me if you come in, because I'm in the technical services section downstairs, where the public isn't allowed. My job is to take the new books that come in (not all of them; we have other catalogers) and decide whether they go under the subject of legacies, subrogation, espionage, novation, forensic psychology, or possibly even bottomry and respondentia, not to mention a lot of other legal categories, so that they can be found again when needed. The LACLL is one of the largest law libraries in the world, and we get books and legal periodicals from all over the world, in all languages, so some of them can get pretty involved. No one here reads Burmese, for example, but we're getting Burmese books to catalog all the same. One of the biggest sources of new material right now is coming from the new African nations; now that they're independent, they apparently feel they have to maintain the prestige of their governments in all the usual ways, and volumes of Court decisions and treatises on the effects of established Roman law as opposed to various local tribal laws, are pouring in.
The Library is principally for the use of lawyers in preparing their cases -- we're only a block from the County Court House -- and the general public usually doesn't do business here. The principal exception occurs when some private citizen insists on handling his or her own case in court; they're allowed to use our resources then, and some of these people certainly turn out to be dillies. Several of these apparently feel that nobody else can be trusted to conduct their case correctly, or possibly no lawyer will handle a case on the far-out grounds they're charging. We had one fellow in recently who wanted to know the legal procedure for filing his candidacy for mayor in the upcoming local elections. Around his forehead he wore a dirty banner inscribed with the symbol of his "fight against Satan". Besides these people who come into the library, we have several Bible-beaters who parade around outside. One who comes by daily loudly demands of passers-by why they're all standing around with their mouths closed? "How will people know you're not Communists if you don't call out for Jesus?" All in all, it's an interesting job.
Back home later with the old typewriter again. I don't want to give you the impression that the entire clientele of the Law Library is composed of kooks, though; it's just that it's only the colorful ones that're worth talking about. At least 99% of our users are professional lawyers, and things are usually very dignified. I have to wear a suit, tie, and coat all day to maintain decorum, even though I don't come in contact with the public. One nice thing about working here is that discipline is maintained, in contrast with the branch of the L.A. County Public Library system I got my first job at. Just after I started working at the LACLL, some character began coming in fairly regularly to use the library as a hotel; we caught him washing his socks in our restroom and hanging them over the stair railing in front of the main entrance to dry. When warned to stop that, he still came in to sleep -- he'd take a book off the shelves (apparently at random), prop it in front of him, and go to sleep. When the boss threw him out once and for all, he pointed to the book he had in front of him as proof that he was too using the library to study. The boss said, "Mister, I'll bet you don't even know what that book is about, much less are you doing research in it." Back at the County Public Library, if a patron said he was reading, we'd have to take his word for it and let him be, even if he didn't turn a page all day. (Tho it wasn't the quiet ones that gave us the trouble there, but the high-school dropouts [incipient and otherwise] that we had to call in the police to discipline.)
Another nice thing about the LACLL is its regular working hours. It's great being right in the center of town, too. Within easy walking distance on my lunch hour are two big newsstands, so I can keep up with all the latest prozines & paperbacks, a good Mexican newsstand, the Broadway department store, the main branch of the L.A. City Public Library, the best stamp & coin shops in the city, and the big post Office in the State Building (good for everything except apa mailings at Educational Matter rates). Within easy driving distance on said lunch hour is DupSupply, which allows me to replenish my store of mimeo supplies without any trouble. The only drawback to working downtown is getting in & out during the peak traffic hours, and even that's not too bad -- taking Olympic Blvd. In and Beverly Blvd. Out, traffic seldom drops below at lest 25 mph, and usually is at the regular speed.
Well, that's what I do between 8 and 5 five days a week. How do you kill your time when you're not heckling Ed Baker or losing money at brag? This is a subject on which all you non-publishing LASFS members can finally talk; let's see something from more of you in Apa L. Dave Fox? Neal Reynolds? Henry Eichner? Larry Niven (or are you a full-time pro now)?
--BEING COMMENTS ON THE TWELVTH DISTRIBUTION
Jack Harness -- Inclusions have been getting a bit much, which is my fault as much as anyone else's. That's why we're trying the process of just putting all the inclusions on a table in the back of the room and letting those that want them get them themselves. They aren't o official parts of the Distributions, so there's no quantity limit; if you can only get 17 empty snail shells, but still want to pass them out at LASFS, just give them to the 17 members you feel will be most glad to get them, and they won't be any more official or unofficial than any other inclusion. This way the out-of-towners needn't go broke paying air postage on a lot of junk, and future fans who try to collect the Distributions won't have to worry about there being no complete copies to be had because all the loose inclusions have become lost.
Incidentally, if anyone is wondering why this issue of RR is being run off by Bruce instead of the LASFS Rex as usual, the Rex is in the shop for the next two weeks. Big issues of TIGHTBEAM and PASTELL two weeks running, not to mention a couple of years' worth of overwork and hard use without any repairs, were finally just too much for it. So gives an overhaul, after which it'll hopefully be good for the next two years.