Hello Darkness My Old Friend

Hi! We are having winds here the likes of which will blow your skirt right up over your head! Wish u were here!

New subject! Do you ever say the phrase “code of silence?” Like, let’s say you were telling someone something and you wanted them to lock it in the vault, never tell a soul, lip-zipped, upon pain of death. Would you ever say “I’m going to tell you something, but it has to be in the code of silence after this, ok?”

Me either. Until I started hanging out with librarians. Librarians say words that I have never heard people use in casual conversation other than in books, which I suppose makes sense. For instance, librarians that I know often use the word “bailiwick.” Isn’t that a funny word? “That music collection is Matilda’s bailiwick.” Fie, me wee faerie. A pox on her bailiwick, I say!

So, the code of silence. I hear this phrase a lot, for those “off the record” work type conversations. A bit dramatic, yes? Like we are all library spies, working the underground resistance movement or something.

It gets even better. The other day, someone was telling me something that they wanted to keep just between us. And as he said “the code of silence,” he made a gesture with his hands. As he said the words, he brought both his hands up over his head and pantomimed like he was putting a tent over the two of us.

Me: What did you just say?
Him: Just, you know, this is under the cone. The cone of silence.
Me: Did you just say CONE?

All this time, I thought people were saying “the code of silence,” which was strange enough for me. But now? The CONE? What exactly is a cone of silence? Is it like an ice cream cone? A traffic cone? A pine cone? And the way that he gestured. He was literally putting the two of us underneath an invisible cone. The cone of silence.

Maybe it was just him. I kind of want it to be everyone though. The cone of silence is way, way better, right?

And does anyone get why I named this post what I named it? Because come on. That’s funny.

I’m out,
Librarian Girl


  1. Hello, darkness, my old friend….I’ve come to talk with you again….Because a vision softly creepingLeft its seeds while I was sleepingAnd the vision…..That was planted in my brainStill remains…..Within the sound of silence.

  2. The cone of silence, I believe, is a reference to the old Get Smart TV series. When Agent 86 had to have a private conversation with The Chief, a literal, plastic cone of silence descended from the ceiling. But as the Pop Culture Librarian, you already knew this.Librarians are, of course, the odd breed that can use “bailiwick” and also make Get Smart references. It’s a gift.

  3. Tombrarian! You are a GENIUS.I had totally forgotten about the actual cone of silence!AWESOME.Ali- I am only going to think og that song with the words “cone of silence” instead of “sound of silence.” It’s much better that way.

  4. Tombrarian beat me to it! 😉 “Get Smart” reruns were one of my favorite shows as a kid and “the cone of silence” phrase has since been part of my vernacular. And I’m a librarian, of course.

  5. I’ve never heard of either of the code/cone of silence. In my libraryland we call it “secret squirrel” stuff…go get that pop culture reference! Thanks for the get well wishes btw :o)

  6. In library school, we learned that everything librarians do that is wrong or weird can be blamed on the fact that the profession is underpaid, undervalued and predominantly female. I think librarians are just weird but that’s me.

  7. I had a prof in Library school–and I actually asked him once if he was saying CODE or CONE. He explained it was CONE, and as Tom said, it was about Get Smart.

  8. Damn. I wanted to be the first librarian to talk about “Get Smart” and the cone of silence. You know they’re making a movie about that show, right? Why do they keep making movies from those old tv shows when there are so many great books out there? Can you tell this is a thorn in my side? Or a burr under my saddle? Or some such twaddle. Hey, twaddle is almost as cool as baliwick.

  9. OMG! I used to do that cone gesture when I was a kid… in a totally different context. When we wanted to call something (kinda like shotgun), we’d do the cone gesture and exclaim P-Q-P-Q (in French). I have no F’in clue what it meant. But, say, I wanted to use the swing as a group of us ran towards it, I’d stop and do the cone-pqpq thing, and the swing was henceforth mine. That’s some crazy shit right there.

  10. for real, sauntering soul, i’m thinking i’m in the wrong business. the only secrets we have in my line of work are so lame that they never remain under wraps for long.

  11. I know I should be working…but this was too much to read and not comment on. Its true. Though I am captain of the “OMG. If you tell anyone I said this I will murder you…” team. I mostly say it to be dramatic, and could really care less if anyone repeats what I say. Usually, it is so hilarious, I know they are chomping at the bit to repeat it.I don’t induldge in office gossip. Tempting as it might be. I have other things to worry about, like the fact that I actually hit my head on the photo copier this morning. Long story.xo,WDL

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s