As my regular readers know, I used to work in a bookshop.
Actually, I worked in several bookshops – I think I’m right in saying that I spent some time in every bookshop in and around Cardiff, except the small kiosk at the University Hospital of Wales, Ian Allan, and Paul K.’s shop in the suburbs. I also spent a couple of years buying and selling books before I had my name on a payslip (see Monday, Bloody Monday.)
Casual visitors to my house are usually amazed by the Cosmic Tigger Lending Library, which has recently spread out of control and invaded the upstairs of my house. I’m lucky in that I can put my hands on any book in my collection. I’ve identified some of the missing items, and so far my good friend Neil R. has found three of them to plug the gaps. We’re meeting up next week for a coffee and a much-needed catch-up. I’d pretty much abandoned the rest of them, though. Even periodic visits to Barbara’s stall (see Up the Amazon…) has produced nothing spectacular. I’ll bide my time and work through the Amazon and Ebay listings until I track the rest of the fugitives down. Today, though, talking to a friend of mine in the pub, I was reminded of some unresolved mischief.
Once again, this happened a couple of years ago, and I wasn’t involved. (That might be a good thing, really, as you’ll see.) After a long session in the pub, Sam B. had meandered as far as Gaz’s house. where Gaz had promptly crashed out. As my regular readers already know, (see The Power of Suggestion), Gaz is a waste of space when he’s had a few beers. I have only a second-hand account of what happened next.
With an unconscious Gaz to play with, Sam decided to introduce some chaos into his CD collection. Whereas my books are arranged alphabetically by author, Gaz’s CDs are arranged by artist. I’ve got literally hundreds of books; Gaz has literally hundreds of CDs. (I remember he asked me one night where would be the logical place to shelve Terence Trent D’Arby. I told him that I’d look in the Guinness Book of Hit Singles and go from there.)
With this enormous canvas to scribble on, Sam decided she’d do the obvious thing – take all the CDs off the shelves and then replace them randomly. She knew full well that it would drive Gaz demented when he wanted to hear a particular song days, or weeks, or months later.
Sam told me about her cunning plan a few weeks later, and I told her she’d missed a trick.
‘I’d have taken the CDs out of the cases, swapped them around, and then put the cases back in the wrong order.’
This extra layer of disorder would form an example of what mathematicians and engineers call Second-Order Turbulence.
It’s also the reason why neither Sam nor I have been invited to Gaz’s house since.