So today I got a very nice e-mail from a librarian who has participated in the summer reading program, for which I did the big poster and art and whatnot. (Which, hey, I can post now!)
In addition to the main poster, I did a bunch of little spot art that went into various T-shirts and bookmarks and tote bags and stuff. They kept the aquatic theme, and the committee was very clear on what they wanted, so honestly, a lot of it looks like something that would go on a pair of board shorts, and at one point I found myself doing a shark covered in tribal tattoos, about which my feelings were…well, damnit, if anything in the fish world would get tribal tattoos, it would be a mako shark, and did I mention they were paying REALLY well?
The shark became a bookmark. I thought no more about it. And then the very good-natured librarian wrote me, eyes rolling audibly–and I shall not mention name or location to protect the innocent–to say that one of her patrons had become concerned because those squiggles! They looked like Arabic! And the patron had used the bookmark in her Bible!
You know, not a single person has said “By the way, your poster is a GIANT GOAT GOD RISING FROM THE SEA! Repent, sinner!” and thrown holy water. I was kinda braced for that. I had a little speech prepared about the mythological representation of Capricorn as a sea-goat and the Tropic of Capricorn and so forth. (Actually, a couple people wrote to ask what the inspiration was, but they were all very nice about it.) I mean, heck, back in that regrettable period when Mom was married to a crazy evangelical, unicorns, rainbows and stars were secret Satanist signs,* along with the moon and the Beatles. Had they had their way, goat-kind would have been exterminated, and the loss to our collective cheese culture the price we paid for virtue.
So I was ready for that. I didn’t agree with it, but I was ready for it.
Tribal shark tattoos resembling Arabic…that was not something I was expecting. (The librarian was very clear that she thought said patron needed to get real things to worry about, but wanted to give me a chance to address it.)
God, I love the world. It’s batshit crazy sometimes, but it’s never, ever dull.
*I have been picturing Satan carrying around a Lisa Frank Trapper-Keeper ever since, possibly doodling “Satan + Milton 4 EVAR” on it in gel pens.