One of my favorite scenes in the movie, Thor, is the following one.
Ever found yourself in a situation of looking for something only to discover that you’re in the worst place possible to be looking for it? Me and Thor–we can relate. Or how about this: Ever been hit with an idea that you were convinced would have a genuine shot of making a real difference where you are? But when you attempted to put it into action, all the wind left the sails because of the environment or surrounding factors. Insufficient resources. Lack of excitement, support, or shared vision among a supporting cast. The right idea at the wrong time. The necessary pieces simply were not there. In other words, it was like looking for a horse in a pet shop.
When we realize that we are in a pet shop looking for a horse, we can do one of several things:
- Quit and give up the idea of having a horse. Defeat is deflating. But if the idea has merit, let’s not give up. Not yet.
- Find a horse auction where we can take our money and have a better chance of leaving with a horse. That’s quite practical and reasonable. There certainly would be times when this would be the best course of action.
- Try to convince the pet shop of the value of selling horses. Less practical, yes. But for the more passionate and entrepreneurial, this may be worth the effort. That’s how great ideas are born after all.
- Modify our need for a horse. So all the shop has are dogs, cats, and birds? Fine. Do they have one of those big enough to ride? Particularly if the ultimate goal is not horse ownership but a mode of transportation, can our idea be adapted to the resources at hand?
Anybody remember the movie Urban Cowboy that helped give rise to the popularity of the mechanical bull? Most of that movie was filmed in a real Pasadena bar (Gilley’s) co-owned by Sherwood Cryer and Mickey Gilley (country music singer). It was Cryer who dreamed up the idea of bringing a mechanical bull into the bar for entertainment. (The mechanical bull was not a new invention of Cryer’s, but its use as an entertainment ride was.) The “bull” caught on with the local cowboys, Urban Cowboy placed it square in the national spotlight, and a legend was born. Sherwood Cryer walked into a bar one day and said, “I need a horse!” (or “bull” actually, but you get the allusion) When there were none in the stock room, he improvised. And at the end of the day, there was a bull in a bar.
Great needs and great ideas are often confronted with challenges. That’s a fact of life. So whether you’re a hammer-wielding Norse god trapped in a mortal body and needing to get from point A to point B, a business owner with an innovative marketing concept, or just an individual with an idea on how to better the people and things around you, keep at it. Expect obstacles, but keep chasing the vision.
By the way, if you’re ever looking for something to do one weekend, try walking into a pet shop and saying, “I need a horse!” With the right kind of person behind the counter, it can make for some great entertainment. Just saying.
Happy Holidays, everyone!
Here are some images from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection to help spread the holiday cheer. Enjoy!
“Merry Christmas” (Currier & Ives lithograph, 1876)
“Christmas Morn” (Lithograph of painting by W.C. Bauer, circa 1880s)
“Christmas Eve” (Color print, no date)
(Note: I particularly like the cataloger’s note on this print’s LOC record: “Check record. not sure if I did this one right.”)
“Christmas Morning” (Photograph by F.J. Boston, 1896)
I have resisted the strong urge for some time, and I’m not really sure why. Perhaps it has been an avoidance of adding more to an already overflowing plate, a (very real) fear of inadequacy as a contributor, a lack of focus, an uncertainty of what I can add to the millions of voices already out there, or something else that I can’t quite put my finger on. Whatever the reason, I have stayed out of the game.
But no longer.
Yes, I have decided to begin a personal journey of sharing thoughts about librarianship, information, technology, and life in general. Table-talk, if you will. Or conversations held while traveling down the road.
I am reminded of the ending lines from Norman Maclean’s superb novella, A River Runs Through It, and am inclined to reflect in a similar fashion that eventually, all things merge into one, and a blog runs through it. So much of what makes up the world of librarianship, information, and technology converges in such a way that there is a natural inclination and desire to share thoughts about it. To borrow from Maclean one more time: I am haunted by blog posts.
Let the journey begin…