Dewey Decimalogy: A Guide to Predicting Your Future

Little known fact: Patricia’s Dream Job #37= Fortune Teller. It’s entirely made up of aspects I enjoy: ridiculous costumes/accents, lying to people, and saying absolutely everything as dramatically as possible. I’ve often considered giving up my dreams of librarian glory to lead a fulfilling and nomadic existence following America’s carnivals and RenFests to touch sweaty people’s hands and pretend to see the future in them. Today, however, I had an epiphany. Why choose when I could just combine the two? This plan has the added benefit of basing my new branch of fortune telling off of something I’m already familiar with, which is great because I wasn’t about to memorize anything. And, once again, I prove that a simple knowledge of the Dewey Decimal System will get you anything you want in life. Or, at least, anything you want in the library. Except Twilight, natch.

For those of you philistines who are less library-savvy, the Dewey Decimal System divides all books and media into ten basic categories:
000: Computer Science, General Information and General Works
100: Philosophy and Psychology
200: Religion
300: Social Sciences
400: Language
500: Science
600: Technology
700: Arts and Recreation
800: Literature
900: History, Geography, and Biography

Then there are further divisions within each wider category. For instances, the 590’s are “zoological science”, the 599’s are specifically mammals, and some decimal place after that are horses, the most asked-for books at the library by girls aged 5-9 last summer.

With such lengthy numbers possible, I decided the best way to organize the new future-predicting system I’d just invented–or, rather, “discovered” was to use the basic principle of numerology, that certain numbers have inherent meaning in your life and can therefore tell you some truth about it. At least, that’s what I vaguely recall numerology is. Emboldened with this groundbreaking new psychic discovery, I hit the stacks to find out the juicy deets on the future.

I decided to find out about my brother Thomas’ future first, using his birthday, September 12th, 1991. Unfortunately this was the closest:

I can't help feeling like it might be illegal to take pictures of books in a library without checking them out

I can't help feeling like it might be illegal to take pictures of books in a library without checking them out

The book is this one:

A collection of subway and bus maps from international destinations!

A collection of subway and bus maps from international destinations!

Now for the dramatic interpretation bit: On the surface, this could tell us that my brother is destined for a life of international travel and public transport, which means he will always vaguely smell like Burger King and sweat. Another interpretation: that he will spend his life collecting useful data and then transform it into something useless and irrelevant, like this book. Why would I need to know the bus routes in Moscow? I’m sure they’ve changed by now anyway, and even if I were visiting there I’d look online. Who would ever, ever buy this? Therefore, through my keen new psychic powers, I can tell you that my brother’s future is that of an unmarketable book. Trust me, it sounds better with mystic arm movements.

Next I decided to get a glimpse into my own future with this:

Albert Einstein! This is more like it! Thanks, 521!

Albert Einstein! This is more like it! Thanks, 521.19!

A clear reading of this would be that I am incredibly intelligent, some might even say groundbreaking (in the field of Dewey Decimalogy perhaps?), with memorable hair and extreme pop-culture staying power. This omen also bodes well for my upcoming entrance into the world of science. Do you think this counts as a science experiment?

I then decided to try out other numbers besides birthdays. For instance, my Rice student ID number, the last four digits of which have become such a part of my life over the last few years:

Yeah, 386.3!

Yeah, 386.3!


Clearly my Rice student ID no longer bears much relevance since I am leaving that chapter of my life behind, but we can see from this past-looking auger that it was four years of hearkening back to a simpler place and time (Texas) filled with can-do industrialism (oil), and the murky clouds of pollution (I mean, it’s right there on the cover), which could be symbolic of social intrigue or crass taste (The Hannah Montana Movie? Stick It!? Every single Rene Cardona Jr. film ever made?). Yes, clearly, had I developed this psychic system before coming to Rice, it could have almost predicted my every move.

That was all the in-library research I did today, mostly because the librarians were starting to give me weird looks and I wanted to escape during a break in the torrential rain, but most libraries have an option for searching by Dewey Decimal number. My library’s new catalog software is a bit crap, but I hope to continue this fascinating new field of paranormal library science in my Library Science grad classes this fall. Who knows, maybe I’ve found my thesis topic?

6 responses to “Dewey Decimalogy: A Guide to Predicting Your Future”

  1. The only question now is how best to use your newfound powers of libraugury. And whether it would be more stylish to wear a turban or to dress like a gypsie whenever doing so.

  2. Uncle Bill says:

    Oh Great Seer of the Dewey Decimal Divinity, what can you tell me of 719.64? Does the future hold fame and fortune, or just more beer and chips? Where should I buy a lotto ticket on my return to the land of the prodigal Sanford, and what numbers shall I choose? Thank you in advance O Great One. I remain on bended knee, with arms outstretched to the great Dewey God in the sky, awaiting your wisdom and wise counsel.

    • pladd says:

      719 refers to natural landscapes (within 710, which is civic and landscape art). 718 refers to cemetery design, so I predict that you will spend the next few years cheating death in nature.

      • Uncle Bill says:

        That figures. I check for the answers to my important questions one day after returning to So. Kakalaki, and just three hours after stepping on a fire ant bed while cutting three week high grass in the backyard jungle. So the Dewey Decimal prophet has batted 100% on my predictions, as I narrowly cheated death by fire ant bite in my own back yard. Cue spooky music, please.

  3. Brian says:

    I feel so cheated! I went to my local pint-sized branch library, and looked up both my birthday (8/24) and the last four digits of my student ID (7536) and … nothing! Under either place. Maybe this means I am already dead. Probably just that the local library cannot hold my ambitions.

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