The Soupster reminisces about childhood games with the librarian.
“Here for more of your favorite biographies, Soupster?” Ms. Conklin, the librarian said at the book check-out counter.
“There’s nothing more interesting than the life stories of people,” answered the Soupster.. “Nothing in the whole world.”
“What is it about biographies that so particularly fascinates you?” asked Ms. Conklin.
“The patterns of a life,” the Soupster said, “especially from the vantage point of the future looking back. Minor events that go this way and that hold vast influence later on.”
“Sensitive dependence on initial conditions,” he concluded.
“Pardon?” said Conklin.
“It’s the term they use in math’s new chaos theory,” the Soupster explained. “Small changes at one time mean big changes in another. A butterfly flaps its wings in Beijing and it affects the weather in New York.”
“I find for instance,,” he continued, “that people who excel in certain areas in later life – like music or even finance – show an early talent and interest in related topics.”
“True for me,” said Ms. Conklin. “When I was a child, I actually used to play library. All my friends would play house or with their dolls. I would line up all my books, my desk and a chair and make my parents come in my room, choose books and then check them out. I had a special little bear stamp I would use. I even used to make friends of my parents check out books when they came over to visit.”
“What did you play, Soupster?” Conklin asked.
“War stuff, “ said the Soupster. “A Union soldier trapped behind Confederate lines. Sailors in a flooded engine room trying to plug up the leaks. On another planet against monsters. Whatever hostile dramas we saw on TV and in the movies.”
“My family had no TV, so we read a lot” said Conklin. “Which may explain my library game. I used to play swimming pool, too. I made my parents rent towels and take a fake shower before they could sit on the living room couch. I used to blow a whistle at my father and make him get out of the deep end. They thought I was loony.”
“Were you ever a lifeguard?” asked the Souipster.
“I was never a lifeguard,” Ms. Conklin said, stamping the return date into the last of the Soupster’s biographies. “But I’ve saved people from drowning in some really lousy prose.”