The Future of Libraries is a pain in the ... (rated PG)

In libraries in the future, there are computer screens mounted on stands about 2 feet high. On the side of each monitor (or "vid") is an attached wand or stylus about six inches long.

When I grab the wand and wave it at the vid, a "librarian" (a pale, thin dudette of about 18), approaches:

"Hey, hey, hey, grandpa. What do you think you're doing?"

"I'm just searching the catalog."

"Searching the catalog. Yeah, right. And President Britney is my girlfriend. Bend over, and let's just get this probe up your ass."

"Up my ass? Why? What happened to the mouse?"

"Mouse? Man, that's old skool. Nope, all we have is the Gerbil. Now bend over, pops and let's get this over with."

The Gerbil is inserted, but I don't complain. (Hell, I graduated from library school.)

"Watch the screen. Images will flash by. Temperature-based search tools deliver the highest accuracy. Social norms, paranoia, embarrassment; all these things kept people from telling the librarian what they truly wanted. Libraries suffered for years trying to design the perfect interface for searching. And then we found this. When you see what you want, tiny fluctuations in rectal temperature indicate we've found your requested item without the embarrassment you might feel from approaching the desk and asking some stranger for help."

"This Gerbil up my ass avoids embarrassment?"

"Look around. Everyone does it."

It was then that I noticed that everyone was doing it.

"Is this a Microsoft product?"


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