Yesterday, I was leafing through some books at the local library when three giggly teenagers walked in.
First, they conducted a computer search, while nervously looking around. Then, they tittered their way to the fiction section. Then, they came back to the computer. Then, they snickered their way back to the fiction section. Then, they returned to the computer. Finally, they gave up and reluctantly went to the reference desk.
Librarian: Can I help you?
Teen 1: I’m looking for Shakespeare.
Librarian: You’re looking for a book about Shakespeare or books by Shakespeare?
Teen 1 (stammers): Um, I’m looking for Shakespeare.
Librarian: Yes, but are you looking for books written about Shakespeare or books that Shakespeare wrote?
Teen 2 and Teen 3 giggle.
Teen 1: Well, not really a book by him or about him. Maybe a book about his writing?
Teen 2 (whispers): Ask her about the shortened ones.
Librarian (overhears the whisper): Oh, you’re looking for Coles Notes for one of Shakespeare’s books? Follow me.
Teen 1, Teen 2 and Teen 3 let out sighs of relief and then burst into laughter.
Gotchya! Not one of you has read your Shakespeare book and therefore needs a copy of Coles Notes (Cliff Notes in the U.S.) in order to zip through the story and complete your assignment. All of the silent judgers standing around you simply thought you were looking for some risqué title or subject matter. Who would’ve guessed you were looking for a study guide?
Trust me, kiddos. You go to university, and you’ll be seeing copies of Coles Notes lying around everywhere.
Not that I would know anything about that.