And I saw a man with a beard. He looked as if he had been up all night loosing an election. He sat in a straight-backed chair at a small wooden desk too low for his knees.
A small tome, the size of a journal or ledger, but much thicker, lay open in front of him. He leaned over the book and read through the bottom half of his bifocals, “Section sixty-one point three hundred and forty-two, subsection (a): An owner or operator of a facility at which the total annual benzene quantity from facility waste is less than 10 megagrams per year (Mg/yr) (11 ton/yr) shall be exempt from the requirements of paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section. The total annual benzene quantity from facility waste is the sum of the annual benzene quantity for each waste stream at the facility that has a flow-weighted annual average water content greater than 10 percent or that is mixed with water, or other wastes, at any time and the mixture has an annual average water content greater than 10 percent. The benzene quantity in a waste stream is to be counted only once without multiple counting if other waste streams are mixed with or generated from the original waste stream. Other specific requirements for calculating the total annual benzene waste quantity are as follows. Section sixty-one point three hundred and forty-two, subsection (a)(1): Wastes that are exempted from control under Section sixty-one point three hundred forty-two subsection (c)(2)…”
He sighed, stood up, and walked past us to a shelf of identical books. The shelf, just above his eye level, stretched from the elevator on his left down the corridor and around the corner, out of sight.
He felt for a book, pulled it down, read the cover, and returned it to its vacant spot in the line of books on the shelf. With his hand he felt down the row of books. Two volumes down he pulled another book off the shelf, glanced at the cover, and returned to the desk with Section Sixty-one Point Three Hundred Forty-two, Subsection (c)(2), and continued reading.
As I grasped the meaning of the bearded man’s fate, I exclaimed to my host, “Surely it will not take all of eternity for him to read the entire Code of Federal Regulations!”
“Ah,” replied my guide with a be-deviled smile. “They make 'em faster than he can read 'em.”