I found fragments of this post buried in my drafts section. Thought I might as well post it, (after some editing) 'cause even though it is a little out of date, it's still true.
Backstory: The Chief Loon and I both work at the same library. She works in Lending, I work in Cataloging. One of my projects is to barcode volumes of serial titles. The long-range goal is to make sure everything in our library has a barcode attached to it and is in the system. Most of the books are done, but there are thousands of periodical volumes that aren't barcoded. Right now I'm working on a list given to me by someone in another department, because she needs these specific things done for another project.
Anyway, I'd just bumped into a run of volumes that had been put into phase boxes as extra protection for them--they were old and fragile. Not old or fragile enough for Special Collections, I guess. I'd picked up a box in the run and thought it much lighter than its brothers. I had a feeling it was empty. I was right. No book in the box, nor was it anywhere on the shelf or on any of the shelves nearby. I checked in sorting areas, on tables, on the trucks at the ends of rows, by photocopiers--nothing. My last guess at where it could be (besides being stolen, which is probably what happened to it) is to go into the Dewey section of the library, because even though the boxes had Library of Congress numbers on them, the volumes themselves still had their old Dewey decimal numbers. On my way to the Dewey section I passed the circulation desk, where the Chief was on duty:
Chief Loon: Hi there!
Me: Hi. Look at this. [I show her empty box] I think someone stole this book.
CL: Oh, dear.
M: Yeah. I looked all over the place for it, can't find it. My last hope is that someone put it in the Deweys.
CL: Well, that's an idea. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.
Me: Me too. Fingers, toes, knees, eyes...going to be hard to walk. Well, maybe not eyes. What if I find it with crossed eyes? Then we'll have two. We don't need a duplicate.
CL: Besides, if you go around crossing your i's you'll have to start dotting your t's.
Me: Well, I was cataloging Yiddish materials this morning...*
CL: There you are. [turns to a patron who's just walked up to the desk] Hi! May I help you?
Ah, yes. The absurdist conversation. Another reason I love living in a college town.
And no, I never did find the book.
*See this chart. Middle of the third row, letter called "samekh"