It’s hard to put into words all I learned last week, other than conclude (again) I work in an amazing place. Distinct events blurred together as we completed the regular tasks of a pre-catalog release week, simultaneous with the receipt of eleven pallets of a new title.
As I know the least, I am the least helpful in this bulk intake process. Everyone else has done it before – making space where none seems apparent. So I stayed out of the way, fielding phone, email and web orders to the best of my ability.
This week, however, marks the Fourth of the July, and I took the opportunity to look at some surrounding details of 1776 through the real time lens of reported news.
The Sons of Liberty  met under the Liberty Tree. It’s not an American fable; I read the notice calling for attendance and providing an alternate location in case of overflowing turnout. People staked fortune and life to sign the Declaration of Independence , and Philadelphia papers published their names alongside that document. Paul Revere was a working man who bought advertisements in The Massachusetts Centinel  to draw more customers into his silver shop. Somehow, the risk of this bid for colonial freedom becomes more meaningful as I consider the sacrificial participation required from everyday people who had plenty to occupy them in their own private lives. Regular folks became significant because they stepped up when there was every reason to keep their heads down.
Today I am thinking about the farmers and shopkeepers, the printers and the writers who looked beyond immediate concerns to take a stand for the implications on centuries to come. Surely these are some for whom the words resounded, “When in the course of human events it becomes necessary…” I won’t pontificate aloud, but there are so many contrasts to the perspective I readily adopt within my plush and easy American life.
Fresh perspective on the human story feeds the impulse: the more I find out, the more I want to know. But the disconcerting truth is that the more I search, the more versions I find. The best course of action just might be to head back into the annals and read it for myself…