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Archive for April 1st, 2020

What

is more embarrassing

than a

Belch

in the library?

In the library

a Belch

rumbles

through the corridors.

It booms

in the shocked silence.

It echoes

extra loudly.

It startles the people

and everybody looks at you,

some disapproving, over the tops

          of their glasses

and some laughing, behind their

          books,

at your brick-red discomfort.

For

what

is more embarrassing

than a

Belch in the library?

A Belch,

you know,

is not exactly the mark

of a Cultivated Person.

In fact,

a Belch

is frowned on so sternly

that most people

would rather

be cut in very small pieces,

than let it be known that they

Belched

in the library.

No one

wants to be pointed out

as

The Person Who Belched in the

Library.

No one

wants to be pointed out

as

a Person Who Belched

at all.

It is not a mark of

Distinction

to have Belched

in the library.

And changing the word

to the less euphonious

Burp

is just

silly.

Oh!

The ignominy

of having

Belched

in the library.

The shame,

the disgrace,

the feeling of failure,

the realization the everyone

Knows

that it was

you

who

Belched in the library.

A graceful hand

daintily covering your open

mouth

will not help.

A blank, nonplussed look

will do no good.

A “who, me?” stare

will not be effective

at all.

People will talk,

But not to you.

To you they will say,

“You are no gentleman,

sir,

mainly because

you Belch

in libraries.”

You are dishonored.

Doomed

to a lonely life,

to sneaking furtively down

streets

and lurking in alleys.

Afraid

of having a little child

point at

you

and scream,

“There!

There is the man

who

Belched

in the library.”

You are branded

forever

For, after all,

what

is more embarrassing

than a

Belch

in the library?

 

Published as “An Essay on the Belch” by R.N.W. in the Wet Hen, May 9 1941, page 5.

The Wet Hen is a 1920s-1940s USD student produced humor magazine and can be viewed in the Archives and Special Collections.

Happy Library Week, April 19-25, 2020.

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