2019-01-17 / Editorial

Submarines, super heroes and secret codes

Library Links
By Bob Cochran

This past Friday afternoon I was checking out a new non-fiction book about the mystery of the exploding teeth. (Not making this up. Thomas Morris’ “The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth: And Other Curiosities from the History of Medicine” is available in our new nonfiction section) when I heard the sound of frenetic typing emanating from the staff room. I peered inside and saw our mascot, Libby Lobster, hard at work on his latest project for the library’s popular Writers’ Group.

“What are you working on now, Libby?” I inquired.

“I’m writing a story based on my Uncle Ladbroc, who was sort of the lobster version of Captain Nemo.”

“You had an uncle who terrorized the world’s navies in a submarine called the Nautilus?”

“Not quite. He did try to raise money to build a land-going submarine, which he was going to call the Nautilus. Unfortunately, due to the disappointing outcome of his Gofundme campaign, the only thing he could afford was an actual nautilus, which he used to patrol Milliken Street.”

“Didn’t anyone tell him he was going to have a hard time finding battleships on Milliken Street?”

“Hey, he may not have sank any warships, but he did manage to scratch the paint on a gyro truck before the FBI caught him.”

“How’d they catch him?”

“They broke his super secret code.”


“It was pig Latin.”

“Well, your uncle may not have been the scourge of the shipping lanes on Milliken Street, but he did provide a nice segue for our next two topics.”

“That’s good, especially now that Lawrence Whelk is taking his new job as Segue Enforcer very seriously.”

“That’s right, Libby. Let’s get to our first topic. It’s about our second of two presentations on the history of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, ‘The Rescue of the Squalus Submarine.’ This dramatic retelling of the 1939 sinking of the Squalus in the waters off New Hampshire and the heroic efforts to rescue the surviving crewmen, using never before tried techniques, will be presented by David Ramsey at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24.”

“What’s the second topic?” newly appointed Segue Enforcer Lawrence Whelk interjected, in a highly authoritative voice.

“Hold your seahorses. We’re getting to that now,” Libby replied.

“Libby, you mentioned earlier that your Uncle Ladbroc tried using pig Latin as a code. It sounds like he needs to attend this week’s STEAM-Powered Saturday Childrens’ Program. It’s going to be all about secret codes. We’ll use some really fun methods to break codes and make up some codes of our own, too. Again, that’s this Saturday, Jan. 19 at 10:30 a.m.”

“The kids will want to stick around after the STEAMPowered fun for our Family Matinee at 1 p.m. This week we’re showing ‘Lego Batman.’ As always, there’ll be free popcorn available.”

Before we go, we should remind everyone about our new library hours. They’re now 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Saturday hours are still 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Let’s not forget to tell readers to check channels 6, 8 or 13 for information regarding library closures during inclement weather this winter. They will also find information on closures and other events on Facebook or @ooblibrary on Twitter.

Bob Cochran is a volunteer at Libby Memorial Library in Old Orchard Beach and jazz director at WMPG in Portland.

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