Thursday, April 30, 2009

You Want Me To Look For WHAT?

Patron: I’m looking for a book called Genieveve.

Me: Okay, do you know the name of the author?

Patron: Yeah, Eric Jerome…um…

Yes, Dickey. I know. But his hesitation made me pause.

Patron: Uh…Di—mmm, um…

He couldn’t say it. He couldn’t say Dickey, which made me start to snicker. There is someone out here who is more of a Beavis than me. Which meant I should celebrate. And to celebrate, I chose to make him say it.

Me: Eric Jerome what?

Patron: Uh…

Go ahead! Spit it out! Come on! It isn’t that hard!


Me: Ahhhhhh, okay, yes we have it. Would you like me to set it aside for you?

Patron: Yes, please.

Me: Okay, hold on just a moment and I’ll go get it.

I put the call on hold and burst into laughter. My coworker was dying to know what was so funny, so I told her my caller was too shy to say the name of the author. She looked at my screen and started to giggle as well.

When I returned to the desk with the book, she upped the ante.

Coworker: I found your Dickey. It was in LARGE type.

We both collapsed in giggles.

Me: Would you like me to hold your Dickey? Where would you like me to put your Dickey?

We were laughing so hard, she was crying and I was coughing until I couldn’t breathe. It took a while to compose myself so I could pick up the phone again. I took his information and then brought the book to the circ desk.

Me: This guy is going to be here shortly for this book. When he comes, just for fun, would you ask him to verify that it’s the right book and ask him the author’s name?

Clerk: Why?

So I told them the story about the guy who couldn’t talk about his Dickey, and how I had coax out his Dickey. Two of the three of them found it very unfunny. The one clerk who laughed and wanted to play along was the new girl, who was the LAST one I thought would play with a Dickey joke. She looks like she’s about 8 years old, but she drives her own car, so I figure looks are greatly deceiving with her. Anyway, she said she’d try to make him squirm.

Later tonight she stopped me.

Clerk: That patron came in to get his Dickey book. He was pretty young and he looked very uncomfortable. I thought about asking him for the author’s name, but he was already squirming so much, I thought he might just bolt.

Me: Aw, well, that’s okay. We had our fun. And to know he was still squirming when he came in gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.

We both laughed.

It’s gotta be very hard when an entire library is laughing at your Dickey problems. Very hard.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I am already sick of swine flu bullshit, though I did celebrate after reading an email from our director, which stated that he is monitoring the swine flu outbreak and will notify us if we should ever need to shut down the library. Hey, if I get a day off because of a widespread flu, rock on, dear germs, rock on.

My brother happened through the front room tonight as I was flipping through the channels. I would watch the news until they said the word “swine” and then I’d quickly flip to the next news channel. He eventually saw the pattern and started to laugh.

Bro: ‘And now for an update on the swi—‘ CLICK!

Me: Uh-huh. I just can’t take it. Do you know how many other diseases and conditions are affecting more than 64 people in the United States right now, and not getting any news coverage?

Bro: Yeah, I don’t get it either. It’s the flu.

Me: I KNOW! That’s what I keep saying! It’s just another flu! Nobody in this country has died. The variants of the flu that we usually have, the non-swine ones, they kill something like 35,000 people each year in the US!

Bro (pretending): But, something like 150 people in Mexico died! So we should be scared!

Me: Right, and the conditions and medical care in Mexico had nothing to do with that.

Bro: People don’t exactly go to Mexico for their internationally known doctors and hospitals.

Me: It’s a third world country. One of the ladies I work with goes to Mexico once a year and said to me that she tells people that if she passes out, just roll her onto a plane headed for anywhere in the US, because she doesn’t want their doctors to touch her. And she’s FROM Mexico!

Bro: So it’s more likely that you’ll die in a plane crash in the United States than die from the swine flu.

Me: No, it’s more than that. In this country, if anyone has died of ANYTHING, you’re more likely to die of THAT than the swine flu.

Bro: More people die of pillow fights every year than swine flu.

Me (laughing): EXACTLY!

Bro: Yeah, I won’t watch anything about it either. Isn’t Lindsay Lohan getting drunk and crashing a car somewhere? Can’t we talk about that again?

Me: I know. Haven’t there been any new developments on the Tot Mom? I miss her in the news.

Bro: Oh, I hate her. If I ever see her, I might just punch her in those big lips.

Me: Hmmm, oh really?

Bro: Yeah, they’re huge and she puts this lipstick on them that’s all wet looking, like her lips are bloody. But not red.

Me: Like they’re crying? Because they belong to the Tot Mom?

Bro: Yeah!

Me: I don’t know anything about her lips, but her kid is dead and I’d rather talk about that than the swine flu.

Bro: One of them died???

Me: Um…OOOOH, you’re thinking of the Octomom!

Bro: Oh yeah! Who’s the Tot Mom?

Me: See? We should be talking about her again instead of the swine flu. People are just paralleling the Spanish Influenza and the depression with the swine flu and now. It’s nuts. It’s been almost 100 years. I think we’re better equipped now. I hope we are.

Bro: Just don’t go to Mexico.

Me: Okay. Or play with sick pigs.

Bro: Damn.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Loretta, You Bitch!

Sometimes, when Leelu isn’t around, I must somehow channel her to make up for the void, because today I took someone way too literally.

Patron (on the phone): I need to order some tapes.

Me: Okay, what would you like to order?

Patron: The author’s last name is Stone; first name Loretta.

Me: Okay, and do you know the title?

Patron: Spanish Language.

Me: Alright, let me look that up. [pause] Hmmm…I’m not finding anything. Are you sure of the title?

Patron: No, but it’s a language set.

Me: Okay, I’ll try again with just the author and see what that brings up. [pause] Um, well, I’m still not finding anything fitting your description. Is the author’s name spelled unusually?

Patron: No, not that I know of.

Me: Can you hold on a moment? I’m going to ask someone else.

Patron: Sure.

Me (to coworker): I’m looking for a Spanish language set by Loretta Stone.

Coworker (laughing): You mean Rosetta Stone?

Me (laughing): OHMYGOD, yeah, probably! Jeeze!

Damn you, Loretta, with your language sets!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Welcome Back Kotter

I’ve been on vacation for a while, and it was difficult to transition back into the workforce this week, but I somehow survived remembering how to do my job, having to present the library board with our shiny new website, and the end of science fair season. I still have 6 weeks of vacation left (nope, not a typo -- I rolled some over and get 5 big, fat weeks a year now, and I’m the fourth most senior person on staff…I feel old) and with those 6 weeks I have no clue what to do. In early October I’m taking two weeks, I’ll probably take a week or two over the summer and then roll two more weeks into next year so I’ll have 7 again next year! YEAH! But until the next vacation, I have to re-acclimate myself to working. Ick.

Our director and Christi were enthusiastic in welcoming me back, saying they forgot I was gone and went looking for me for some friendly relief from the daily grind, not to find me around, which saddened them. I wish I could say I missed them that much, but my nose would grow so long that birds would begin to perch upon it. Honestly, I didn’t think about work or even the entire state of Illinois all that much. It was great.

Back at work tonight, Arms approached us and asked what we thought of his new shoes, which are the first pair he’s purchased in four years.

My impression was that they were plain and comfortable men’s working shoes: dark brown boat shoes made of soft rather than hard leather. Meh.

Me: Snazzy. You know what you look like now?

Arms: What?

Me: A total librarian. Those are librarian shoes.

Arms: I know! Aren’t they cool? They’re so comfortable!

Me: If you buy a men’s cardigan, I will laugh-laugh-laugh at you.

Arms: No, I only wear polos. Even when it’s cold.

Me: Oh, a polo and a cardigan?

Arms: No, no cardigan. I just put a tee-shirt underneath, but always polos.

Me: And a sweater vest.

Arms: NOOOOOOOO, never!

Me: You say that now, but you’ll be knitting your own soon. Big library nerd.

I’ll say this: he has a good sense of humor to put up with me. He even laughed.

Arms: Seriously, they look weird, though, don’t they?

Me: Um, what do you mean?

Arms: My feet look so small. Like tiny little elf feet.

Me: I was thinking that myself, but I figured you just had small feet.

Arms: These shoes make me look like an elf! I don’t think I’ll be wearing them anymore. My feet aren’t that small!

Me: You know, Arms, it’s not the size of the shoe that matters.

Red. That boy turned bright red. And all of a sudden he had to be somewhere else. He walked away laughing, red as a baboon’s ass and made a motion with his hand.

No, not that motion!

He made an L with his thumb and index finger.

NO, not calling me a loser.

He was indicating the distance between.

Arms: That’s what matters, right? That size?

I just laughed. I thought, only if that’s supposed to represent the length of your tongue, then that matters. I didn’t say it. That’s the kind of really dirty thing I can only say to the director. And Leelu.

Later, having not been teased enough by me, Arms made his way back and boasted about all the Spanish he was speaking, despite being out of practice. I suggested he join our language club, and he asked what it was, so I started explaining.

Arms: THAT is totally library geek right there. Tsk, tsk. Nothing geekier.

He walked away, looking at me sideways and shaking his head. Thankfully, we were closing and there were only two patrons left at opposite sides of the building, so I shouted to him my retort.


I’m back.

The game is on.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I Need a Vacation

Patron: Do you have a phone book? I need the Yellow Pages one with the White Pages in it.

Me: Sure.

I handed it to him.

He began thumbing through it.

Patron: Which ones are the White Pages?

Me: The...[pause to see if he's joking] ones... [still waiting] that are white.

Patron: Oh, okay.

*blink* *blink, blink* *look around to see if I was just set up* *blink, blink*

* * *

Today, Arms totally got me!

All night he'd been walking by and asking if we were okay and if we needed anything. I tend to state that I need a nap, a frozen strawberry daiquiri or something else he consistently refuses to give me. He thinks I'm making a bad joke, but I'm dead serious. It's pissing me off. He's not bringing me anything.

At the end of the night, he swept past the desk.

Arms: Do you ladies need anything?

Me: No, but I think the more important question is, what can WE do for YOU?

Arms: I need you to not say that again to your security!

I was puzzled, said okay, and furrowed my brow.

Arms: Well, you can say it, but don't say it in THAT WAY again!

My coworker busted out laughing, and I sat there trying hard to figure out how I had offended him. It was really bothering me. And it wasn't until I noticed my coworker had turned bright red that I realized something dirty was said, and it was said by me.


He walked away cracking up and I sat there red-faced.

Arms is my new nemesis.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Come, Be Our Minions

My library has cleverly and wickedly devised a way to punish the public. It’s so cunning and brilliantly disguised as a service to the community that no one suspects a thing. But I’m going to tell you the secret right now, and if you choose to use it against your own community, I would not feel a bit guilty.

It’s no secret that we have large Hispanic population, and because we are trying very hard to embrace the Latinos and ingratiate our services with them, we have incorporated a Spanish translation into all signs and documents we offer the public, as well as offering numerous services and a large collection of materials. But it’s the Spanish translations that have led to our evilness.

At the end of the day, various staff members are charged with making announcements of the approaching closing, starting a half-hour before, then fifteen minutes, ten, five and a final one at closing. As an equal opportunity entity, we make the announcements in English and Spanish. But here’s the rub: sometimes, when a Spanish speaker isn’t around to do the closing announcements, someone who doesn’t speak Spanish must stumble through reading the Spanish words. Without fail, the only two people on staff willing to inflict this pain upon our ears are the people equipped with the mad skillz to impose the most emotional damage. That’s right, the crackers do it. The whitest cracker-ass-crackers to ever work in our building are the ones who stumble through reading the Spanish announcements, with their brutal, obtuse English pronunciations, ending their long and agonizing announcement with a very American accent of “poor favor”. FSM help us, it’s fucking painful.

This is one of those situations that could very well be more distressing to the English speakers than the Spanish speakers. Not only is the Spanish translation of everything seemingly twice as long as the English version, but our crackers can’t get the entire sentence out in one breath, and the hesitation to inhale causes doubt, which sometimes makes them backtrack and re-butcher the words already sufficiently slain.

    We are gathered here today to celebrate the lives of some very useful and beloved Spanish words, slaughtered senselessly by a vicious cracker at the local library, who had no idea how to pronounce them.

I may never be able to hear the word “ahora” again without hearing one of our crackers in my head pronounce it “ay-whore-uh”.

A fair estimate would be that only about once a week a cracker is called upon to make an announcement in Spanish, and yet, they have not picked up a single bit of the correct way to pronounce Spanish words from the Spanish speakers who make the announcements in their presence all the rest of the time. Each time it’s like an introduction to a whole new paragraph in a whole new language they are asked to read aloud, and often times they employ pronunciation which doesn’t even get used in English, in any dialect. It’s as if their brains shut down completely and they just start saying the letters out loud, one after another.

One particular reader is the worst, and often, when it’s over, I will turn to anyone near me and ask if my ears are bleeding. If not, I ask that someone please stab them so that I never have to hear that again.

People of all walks of life listen to this booming, ominous, bodyless voice take perfectly reasonable Spanish words and phrases that everyone should know, like “de nada,” instead it is pronounced “dee nay-day”, and the cringing and wincing can be seen all around. Our library clears out by the second announcement, and I can’t help but wonder if it is to avoid having to hear the remaining three. I certainly would if I had the opportunity.

While this act of evil is meted out to staff and patrons alike, you have to admire the balls of the person who decided that this was to be done. I mean, aside from raining acid down from the sprinklers, I can’t think of anything more simultaneously painful to a building full of people. And like many situations in my life, I’m left wondering if the crackers who do this bidding are part evil too, and participate knowingly, perhaps even embellishing their part, or if they’re just the clueless crackers who they usually are, finding humor in their own shortcomings and assuming others might chuckle as well. Either way, it’s a marvelous blueprint of malevolence. Despite being a victim, I have to sit back and admire the absolute model of iniquity we have created. If it had a scent, it would reek of sulfur, smoldering flesh and rancid bile. It is crystal clear that in putting our worst translators on the job to read in another language, through a microphone, broadcast to every nook and cranny of the building, we have carved our niche in history as one of the cruelest institutions known to man.

Though I now plug my ears when I hear those familiar cracker voices start to make the announcements, I take a bit of pride in knowing that there are handfuls of people in the building wishing someone would also stab them in the ears.

And no one would ever suspect we’d do that on purpose.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Dear Bill,

Since we have no real written policy on acceptable patron behavior other than violent and threatening actions, I am sending you this letter to iron out the finer details, which you clearly are unaware of. I understand that male-female interactions in a public setting are full of nuances and body language and vibes and signals that we may not even be aware we’re communicating to one another, but if you read on, I would like to clarify things and explain the unwritten rules of dealing with your librarian.

You may…

Ask the librarian a question pertaining to the location of a desired piece of material. You may even ask the librarian a few questions about a few items. When the librarian walks you over to the section you are looking for and cannot find the specific image you request, she may suggest you look downstairs in the Youth Department, where books have more pictures that are less complicated, which fit your need.

You may…

Joke with said librarian and look at her skeptically, as if your silver fox look was indicative enough that you should never have to venture into the Youth Department again. She will insist she is correct and perhaps, if she’s in a good mood, might bet you that you find it downstairs.

You may…

Place a pinky bet with said librarian if she is the one who initiated the bet.

You may…

Return to the librarian after finding the image downstairs and thank her.

You may…

Ask the librarian more questions about movies you might also like to check out.


You may NOT…

Suggest to the librarian that you have more “interesting” movies at home, if she would care to join you some evening.

You may NOT…

Return the following afternoon and sneak up on the librarian, shocking her senseless when you place a hand on her shoulder to say hello.

You may NOT…

Touch! The! Librarian!

You may NOT…

Then ask the librarian when she’s available to take a lunch break so you can take her out.

You may NOT…

Leer at her as she stands uncomfortably at the Reference Desk, wishing you’d go away and quit humiliating her in front of Marina.

You may NOT…

Try to draw Marina into your stupid joke world by saying Marina told you that she has a problem getting to work on time. That’s not funny. You’re not cute. And now Marina is uncomfortably involved in this ridiculous conversation.

You may NOT…

Hang around outside the librarian’s office, pretending to browse the CDs and movies while she is holed up inside, not wanting to leave and suffer another encounter with you.

You may NOT…

Realize this, but you are not making a love connection here and you are moving quickly into harassment territory, which, if brought to the attention of my manager, he will be forced to take it to the director, and the director will quickly turn it into a gigantic issue that could involve the police, the mayor, the governor, a team of attorneys, your mother, your primary care doctor, your uncle’s firstborn child, a holographic rendering of yourself, synovial fluid, a hair from the decomposing corpse of your childhood dog, and possibly the NSA. So, don’t make me take this to my boss. None of us needs the headache of me filing a report. Reports are not good. Just move on.

Oh, and Bill, just keep in mind that people who are nice to you, like I was, are paid to be that way.

Have a nice day – elsewhere.

Oh-so Sincerely,

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Guess What I Found

Today, one of my coworkers cleaned beneath the reference desk, and judging by the size of the dust bunnies, this probably hasn’t been done since our renovations, which were so long ago, we need more renovations.

Stowed away where our legs usually crash painfully into things that we don’t even question, she found some expected items. Among them were empty hand sanitizer containers, discarded scraps of paper, a receipt, a Yalsa poster from three years ago, and a cool pen that someone likely hid for their own personal use and forgot about. None of this amazed us. In fact, I expected more.

There were a few mild surprises like the Easter basket, a sticky and decomposing stress ball made to look like the earth, and a movie poster for Talladega Nights. At one point she found a peanut and threw it in the trash, so I spent a while singing the song. Go ahead and sing it. I’ll wait.

Okay, that’s enough.

Then my brave coworker, who was down on her hands and knees, so far under the desk that I could only see her bottom half, whipped out the thing that had me in stitches for the rest of the night.

Covered in filth, barely recognizable, she slammed a small, hairy thing onto the desktop and demanded to know what the hell it was.

I turned it around in my hands and immediately started laughing. She found a beaver.

We had a hand-sized, stuffed beaver beneath our desk.

And it was so filthy! Clearly, someone was neglecting their beaver.

I started laughing like a schoolgirl and I could not stop. However, since the only other person on staff who I can count on to laugh at stupid dirty jokes with me is our director, and he was long gone for the day, it was just me, bouncing up and down in my chair, laughing about a dirty beaver being found by my coworker.

Our new security guy, Arms, walked over and I was squirming in my seat, trying to control the laugh and said, “Look! Look what she found! A beaver. A poor, neglected beaver,” and I burst into laughter.

Without missing a beat he said, “Come again?”

With that I was grabbing my guts and falling out of my chair.

I looked at him hopefully and said, “There are so many jokes! So many! And I can’t say any of them!”

He just looked at me with sympathy and nodded.

One of the high-school-aged shelvers was standing there the entire time and she said, “I don’t get it. It’s a beaver. So what?”

Arms said, “You’re too young.”

I said, “This is something you’re better off not getting.”

Arms agreed and walked away.

For the remainder of the night, whenever Arms saw me, he would grab the nearest staff member and say, “You know what they have hidden over at the Adult Reference Desk? A BEAVER!” I would bust out laughing, he would smile and walk away, and the poor, unsuspecting coworker would stand there looking irritated and ignorant.

That’s right, folks. An unfortunate librarian who had to have preceded us, lost her unloved and unused beaver. It’s been collecting dust and cobwebs, buried beneath many layers of protective stuff, only to be discovered many years later. We can’t possibly know who this beaver belongs to, but for sure I have my theories. Which I shall not share. And given that this beaver has likely spent her life unused, unloved and so far from the light of day that we feared for her stability under the fluorescents, we felt that a fitting place for her, to balance out her life, was to proudly sit upon the shelf above our desk as the Mascot of the Month. Finally, this beaver is going to be appreciated as she should have been.

And I swear, the first person who walks up to my desk and says, “Nice beaver,” will have to call 9-1-1, for I will be dead from laughter.

More Snips

Okay, people, if you haven’t been watching South Park lately, well, you probably have better taste than I do. Also, you’re missing out. Let me just say that Martha Stewart…no, I can’t say it. I’ll never look at her the same again. Did anyone else see the queef episode???

Only at my library would some moron pry the lock out of the tampon machine and rob it of its quarters. Tampons remained. This has to be the funniest crime I’ve seen in my career here. Count yourself lucky you weren’t part of my conversation with Leelu and our painful tampon puns about the string of tampon robberies, and the contemplation about whether it was a rash of crime or a yeast infection of crime. Somewhere nearby, there is a heavy pocket, weighed down with an unknown number of quarters that belong to our tampon machine, and that person made my night far more entertaining than it should have been.

I spent two weeks with a virus that caused me to have all-over aches, high fevers and debilitating headaches. Fucker. My doctor said to take Mucinex and Tylenol and hope for a quick recovery. Viruses suck. Viruses suck almost as much as malware, which kicked the ass of one of my computer’s hard drives. I switched over and used the other for a time, until Windows just simply disappeared from that drive one day and I was screwed. How sad is it in this day and age that I would prefer to have a meningitis-like virus running rampant in my body than any kind of problem with my computer? Things run now that I reformatted the malware-infected, but I’m still scared.

Yesterday I was having a conversation with my brother about global warming and he mentioned a fellow named Dyson, to which I asked, “The vacuum guy?” This was when my brother went totally off on Dyson, the Vacuum Guy. “That guy needs to die! What the fuck kind of pompous, snotty, European fucktard can’t turn his fucking vacuum like the rest of the world, so he needs to put his on a ball?! Just lift it up and pivot like everyone else, you fucking loser! Only some bald, rich, idiot would do something like that. I hate that guy!” This was when I realized I didn’t have an opinion of Dyson, the Vacuum Guy, and his vacuums did not spark any kind of cynicism in me that made me think less of him. What’s wrong with me? I’ve always been the type of person who would look at people like Dyson, the Vacuum Guy and think likewise thoughts, that the world didn’t need a vacuum with a ball, accompanied by some self-patronizing commercials pointing out how one inventor can make a fortune on his own laziness. Something is wrong with me. I’m slipping. I’m losing it. My edge is dull. I don’t even know what to do but apologize to the universe and promise to try to be more aware of the idiots I have been accepting.

Many people despise Google and all its Googley goodness, like Google Docs, Gmail, and my new, personal favorite, iGoogle. However, there are people out there like me, who are prepared to worship at the foot of Google and pledge undying allegiance. For example, I am leaving on a short, cheap vacation in a week, to visit Grand Rapids, Michigan, which is a city I knew nothing about except that they have butterflies. Upon discovering how very many people live in Grand Rapids, I realized it’s much like Rockford, Illinois, and that meant just because I found a hotel room for $40/night, does not mean I should stay there. So what did I do? First I Googled all the hotels in Grand Rapids and did rate comparisons in a Google spreadsheet. Once I found 10 hotels with rooms under $50/night, I checked out Google Maps to see where they were located, in relation to the places I plan to visit. Then I Googled the crime rates in and around Grand Rapids, to see what areas I wanted to avoid. Once I narrowed my search down to just a couple, I used Google Street View to check out the hotels and investigate their neighborhoods. Dude! How did I plan vacations before this? Not only did I find a chain hotel with all the amenities we require, it’s in a nice-looking nearby suburb, and they were having an internet special: three nights for the price of two. Google, I am yours.

I declare, I am a big, huge, geeky library nerd. Earlier in the week I asked my boss if there was any room in the budget for some pamphlet holders that would attach to our slat walls. He told me he’d see what he could do. Today, a gigantic box arrived with four beautiful acrylic pamphlet holders for me, and I nearly peed my pants with glee. I have big plans for these pamphlet holders! They are so gorgeous and perfect, though, that I’m not sure they should go out in the public. However, that is what they are for, so yes, I will use them. As Leelu was the only one who seemed to understand my ecstasy, she pointed out that it’s like Christmas, except that I got exactly what I wanted because I picked them out. And she was right! I petted them for a bit, spoke lovingly, promised to never take them for granted, and I slatted them on a display with some pamphlets that needed a home. I admired the way everything fell into place so perfectly. And I felt complete. Which is when I realized I am a big, huge, geeky library nerd. And that's...okay.