Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Typical FML Wednesday

1:32 PM: I just hung up the phone with Crazy Karen, who is so over-medicated today that she can barely slur a full sentence out, and it took 30 minutes to get her off the phone, though she only had one question, asked repeatedly.

2:14 PM: There's a middle-aged, balding man sitting at a computer 5 feet away from me, and he keeps asking me questions. That's not a problem. The problem is that his nose is running directly down his upper lip into his mouth, and he keeps pausing in the middle of talking to me to lick the mucus on his lip.

2:15 PM: Next to him is quite possibly the snottiest grown man I've ever met. If he throws one more hissy fit, I'm going to call him "Ma'am" and ask him if it's that time of the month.

2:20 PM: Behind me is a man my age and his disabled, elderly mother, and he keeps yelling at me from the other side of the library to come and help him with a government website that is down, which I have no ability to fix. He doesn't seem to understand that when this site states that "the website is currently down", it is not my fault.

2:23 PM: The snotty grown man I mentioned just threw another fit when his time ran out, furious that the item he sent to the printer didn't show up (although I was vaguely aware of him printing it moments ago, but I could be wrong), and when I offered to reserve a computer for him again, he stomped his foot and insisted he couldn't wait his turn for the next available terminal because he had to leave right away. I'm going to put him on a computer myself just to get him out of my hair.

2:45 PM: For more years than I can count, I've been looking for blue leather boots, and over the weekend I found a pair at an expensive shoe store, where they were having a gigantic clearance sale, so my $80 boots only cost $29. I could not wait to wear them and today I found some clothes that matched, so I'm wearing these awesome blue boots, which are made far better than any shoes I've been able to afford in years, if not decades. They're made so well that the patrons are now glaring at me because whenever I get up to show someone something, the hard soles of my boots clunk hard on the floor, loud enough to draw glares. Apparently my awesome boots are offensive because they disturb folks from surfing porn in relative peace. Where are the shoe fetishists when I need them?

3:04 PM: I just realized the snotty grown man has been sitting at the computer I gave him for almost 45 minutes and hasn't printed the item he needed immediately because he had to leave and couldn't wait 10 minutes for the next reservation. I'm thinking about ending his session but it's almost over anyway.

3:07 PM:
Snotty Grown Man just left the library without printing the item he so desperately needed that required me to put him on a computer instead of waiting his fair turn. He's dead to me now.

3:12 PM: There's a lady standing in front of me, smiling and staring me right in the eyes, completely unable to remember what she came here for, and she won't break her stare or come back when she remembers -- because I have suggested this. Instead, she feels that standing 3 feet away and boring holes into my head with her laser vision will make her remember better. This could be less painful if not for her strangely blissful smile.

3:41 PM: A teenage girl is crying because she had no idea what "maiden name" meant on a college application so she put down her mother's name, and is now concerned that this is going to keep her from getting into college. She is inconsolable. I'm out of Kleenex.

4:38 PM: The director is walking away from me, having just inquired about my sore elbows and knees. When I showed him my elbow's still raw state, he laughed really hard. I wonder how hard he'd laugh if he read yesterday's post. Knowing him, he'd be pretty pleased.

5:00 PM: Reference desk shift is over and another Wednesday of crazy patrons and madness is behind me. It's awful that there are only 6 days in between for a reprieve.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Earning My Pay On My Knees

Today at work, I got rug burns on both my knees and elbows from being on them for most of the day. The jolting and rocking, first on my knees, then on my elbows and knees, then back on my knees again, repeated so often that the skin on them became inflamed and raw. This was all under order of my director, who put my job on the line, contingent upon my ability to abide by his wishes and succumb to his will. I certainly wouldn’t have done anything of this sort, at least not at work, but it was at his insistence and I was powerless to deny him. I had to submit.

Okay, perhaps there was a part of me that was interested in this. I mean, well, it could be fun. Maybe I would enjoy it. Maybe I could make use of it later, with someone who deserved it. Maybe I’d unlock a part of me that secretly yearned for subjecting myself to this kind of service. Maybe it would be good for me and illustrate to my boss that I have skills he didn’t know I had.

When it was finally over today, I was exhausted and sore and was then told to clean up all the body fluids I’d somehow allowed to spray and drip, which, considering how hard I was working, was truly beyond my ability to control. It was a little undignified, but I’ve been through worse.

So, I still have a job, and the director thanked and congratulated me on doing well. For now I am certified in CPR and AED.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Conversations Outside My Head

Coworker: There's a book called The Quotable Douchebag that looks really funny, but I'm hesitant to buy it for the library because of the "douchebag" in the title.

Me: Why? Just do it! There's another book called Hot Chicks with Douchebags. We could get both, put them on a display and we'd have a "Douchebag" display!

We laughed. I wonder if we could get away with that.

* * *

Coworker: When I got in today I went to the washroom and there was no toilet paper -- OF COURSE! In ANY stall! I had to go all the way downstairs to get some and by the time I got back a little girl was in one of the stalls. I heard the toilet flush and was thinking she couldn't have wiped -- there was no toilet paper!! Yet here she came out of the stall. I tried to tell her I had toilet paper and was putting it in now, but she didn't seem to care. You KNOW she couldn't have wiped! And then she started to leave and I said, 'You need to wash your hands.'

Me: NO!

Coworker: Oh yes I did! And you know what she said? She said, 'No I don't.'

Me: Hahahaha, well, she told you.

Coworker: So I said, 'Yes, honey, you do. Wash your hands.'

I laughed really hard. It's one thing to suggest it, but another thing to insist on it with a total stranger after they rebuke you. She's so funny.

Coworker: That snotty little girl with dirty hands said, 'No! I don't!' and she walked out! Can you believe that?

Me: No! I don't!

* * *

After publishing my plea for contact with my reader from Perth, we emailed back and forth and the most recently received email had me giggling at his responses. Since I was at work, I leaned over to Marina and shared his insight, and then we both giggled.

Me: So, from this we learned that people from Australia are funny.

Marina: All of them?

Me: That was a huge, sweeping statement, wasn't it? I mean, I'm only communicating with one person, and it really isn't fair to attribute my impression of him to all of his countrymen. He is just one person, after all.

Marina: So, we've learned that this one person from Australia is funny then, right?

Me: No. Perth. Perth is funny. I can't speak for all of Australia. I can't be THAT widely sweeping, but I think I can say that people in Perth are funny.

Marina (laughing): Okay, well, at least we know that much.

* * *

Early last week, a few of us in the office were sharing our traumatic stories with our boss about a certain patron, and when it was my turn, I explained how, after I helped this gentleman extensively with the simplest tasks for about an hour straight, not only was I treated to a long, pathetic story about how his mother died, but this guy said to me, "Your husband is a lucky man, Nikki."

As I was telling this story, I made sure to add that I thanked this guy for his compliment and started thinking about my imaginary husband, and actually started thinking about all my other imaginary friends, and how lucky they are to have me in their lives. Lucky imaginary bastards.

Tonight the same guy was in and I learned that he is very nearly illiterate, while all this time we just thought he was computer illiterate. He couldn't spell small, common words, not by a long shot, and he couldn't read to me the very simple sentences he was having trouble understanding. In fact, he repeatedly asked what the degree was that one receives when they graduate high school, and we told him over and over that it's a high school diploma, but he couldn't grasp the words. As he was leaving, after we finally accomplished filling out the simple online form he was struggling with, he stopped at my desk to thank me profusely.

Guy: I couldn't have done this without you, Nikki.

Me: Well, that's what I'm here for.

Guy: Do you have a phone number so that I can call you if you're not at this desk and I need to ask you more questions?

Me: I don't have my own number and whenever I'm here, I'm at this desk, so that's the only time I'm reachable.


Guy: Okay, so if you're not here I can't call you?

Me: No.

Guy: Well, do you drink coffee?

Me: No.

Guy: Okay, well, you've gotta drink juice or something like that.

Me: No, no I don't.

Guy: You don't drink anything like that?

Me: Nope.

If he pushed it, I was prepared to make up a medical condition which prevented me from consuming any liquids or solids of any kind. Lucky for us both, he didn't pursue it and thanked me again before he parted.

Afterward, Marina started giggling.

Marina: When he asked you for your number and how he could get a hold of you when you're not at the desk, and you just said if you're here, you're at the desk, period, I was thinking, GOOD ONE!

Me: Dude, I've been doing this long enough I know how to head them off at the pass. No way I was giving him a way to call me or any indication that he should look for me in the building when he couldn't find me.

Marina: That was great. I was cracking up.

Me: Gotta do whatchu gotta do.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Jane from Edmonton! I know you're out there! I have a question for you. Please email me at the email address to the right when you get a chance.

Also, I have at least one reader from Perth, Australia, and if you're willing to delurk, please email me as well.


This sounds insane, but I have a question for both of you, and you're going to have to email me to find out what that question is. I promise it will be painless.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Darwin Fail?

Occasionally I feel the urge to push the envelope.

Such a time is now.

A coworker reminded me that Darwin's birthday is upcoming in February. Since I was searching diligently for an idea for a small-ish display at the library, inspiration was found.

It would've been sufficient to slap a picture of the old man on a piece of paper and pronounce his birthday boldly, but this is not the way of the Happy Villain, as you well know. While surfing for a picture that embodied Galapagos, perhaps with some tortoises, I came upon an image that motivated me to do something that made me giggle long and hard.

Now, I am not a Darwin-worshipper, but I appreciate the incredible work the man did and regard him highly. But others, well, let's just say that their disagreements with science make him a bit of an anti-hero, and those who feel that way worship a being that I disagree with, so the cross-over concept was hatched and I Photoshopped this image for my display.

It doesn't stop there.

I filled the display with not just books on evolution, but books that bash creationism, by well-known atheists. It cracks me up. I'm waiting for the reaction. (I hope there is one.)

Heeeeeee. I love my job.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Holy Trinity of Stupid

It's been one of THOSE weekends.

It began on Saturday morning with a man who reeked so badly that I thought I'd pass out from oxygen deprivation before I finished helping him. He was looking for a repair manual for his old snowmobile, which he'd asked someone at the reference desk to interlibrary-loan about two months ago, and he thought we would still have it waiting for him.

Me: Um, no, we can't keep another library's book indefinitely. We have to return it to them if you don't pick it up in a week.

Dork: Oh. Well they told me it would be waiting for me.

Me: It was. For a week. And then we had to send it back when you didn't pick it up. I can try to order it again for you, if you'd like.

Dork: But I need it right now.

Me: Well, we don't have it here, but I can look it up and see what library nearby has it in.

Dork: Okay.

Me: Ah, it looks like [Neighboring] Library has it on the shelf, if you want to drive over there and get it.

Dork: All the way to [Neighboring] Library?

Me: Yeah. It's about 10 miles away.

Dork: Can someone meet me halfway?

Me: *blink* [pause] You want someone from that library to meet you somewhere and deliver it?

Dork: Yeah.

Me: *blink* [pause] No, they don't do that.

Dork: So I have to drive all the way over there for this book?

Me: If you want it right now, yes, that's your only option.

Dork: Damn, I don't want to drive over there.

Me: Then I could order it for you again, but it will be a bit before we would get it.

Dork: How long?

Me: Maybe by the end of the week, given that it's the weekend and it has to come from outside of our system.

Dork: But they're only 10 miles away!

Me: I know, but there's a process, and we're lucky that they're close enough to be on the pickup route, otherwise we'd have to wait for it to arrive in the mail, so aside from GOING THERE YOURSELF, this is the way it has to go.

Dork: Okay, never mind then.

Me: Soooooo, you don't want me to order it for you?

Dork: No, that's okay. I'll try to get over there sometime.

Uh-huh. In the next month or so. Even though you said you need it today.

Though we were sitting next to one another, I opted to be discreet and IM'd Marina to ask if it was just me, or was it totally nuts to ask someone to meet him halfway with a book he wanted? She agreed he was delusional and was glad he was gone.

Almost immediately afterward, a very scary looking man-woman, who also smelled like old sewage on an searing summer day, asked me for something weird.

Woman: I need books on subliminal stuff. And self help. On tape or CD or video. No books.

Me: Uh, what kind of self help? And information on subliminal messages, like how they do it, or like self help tapes that deliver subliminal messages?

Woman: Yeah.

Me: But, what kind of self help? Inspirational? Motivational? Kick a habit? What kind of self help?

Woman: Yeah.

Sometimes you get a patron and just know that you've pried as much intelligence out of them as you're going to get. There is no more. You've hit the bottom of the well and must make do with what they've given you.

I gave her Tony Robbins. She seemed happy.

When I got back to the desk, I informed Marina that she had to take the remaining freaks for the rest of the day, to which she nodded and said she deserved them, given what I'd already dealt with.

As if the Forces of the Universe heard this, two women, probably in their late 20s, approached the desk. One came to me, one went to Marina. The one who came to me wanted to start reading again after not reading anything at all since high school, and she wanted me to recommend something she could read. When I asked what she was interested in, she said anything. When I asked what she'd read in the past that she liked, she said nothing. I asked for some kind of hint as to what she might like to read, she said she didn't know. So, I started throwing genres out to her and she eventually said she was interested in mysteries and crime novels. My immediate reaction was to say, "Oh, the Kay Scarpetta books are good," but then I realized I was looking at someone who probably was reading at a 5th grade level, and even if she made it through high school, her aversion to reading made me think she probably cheated and bullshitted her way to a diploma and hadn't read a book since The Outsiders, if not something by Judy Blume. So, I made the obvious recommendation.

"You might like James Patterson. I'll show you where those books are."

The woman who went to Marina was a little more informed, but she was talking as loud as her voice would go, and I cringed at the abuse my eardrums were taking. Marina blinked, as if the volume came out in wind and was drying out her eyes. The non-reader friend I had been helping yelled at her to shut the hell up, demanded to know what was wrong with her, and didn't she feel stupid for talking so loudly in a library. She swore they weren't together and smiled. Momentarily, she was redeemed. Momentarily.

And so it went for the remainder of the day. We'd hit a lull and get to talk about how health insurance rapes its clients, or recipes that get us excited, or ideas for future displays, and then the next freak would come to us.

There was always a next freak.

Toward the end of the afternoon, when we both had sprained our eyeballs from rolling them all day, a middle-aged woman came in and required me to show her no fewer than eight times how to copy and paste an email address from an online ad to the email she was composing. By the third time it became a script. By the seventh time, the woman across from her had memorized the script and mouthed the words I spoke: "Highlight the email address. Now click Edit, then Copy...."

The only thing worse than someone asking the same question over and over, is asking the question over and over, and belittling yourself in the process.

She'd say repeatedly, "I know I just asked you this, but I'm REALLY STUPID -- I'm sorry. Like, even my own family has given up on me! Can you show me again?" Twice she used the heel of her hand and slammed it into her head, telling everyone she was dumb.

When they do this, the self denigration, it says to me that they are looking for coddling and fishing for me to tell them they are in fact NOT stupid, and EVERYONE asks this question 100 times before they get it, so they are right on track with the rest of the human race and they should not feel badly for not getting it.

It's easy enough to say this. They're just words. It doesn't cause me any pain to utter them.

Yet, I cannot. I feel I'm in the business of providing people as much information as I can, as accurately as I can, and lying about this would be against some imagined code of ethics I hold myself to.

Or I'm just a bitch.

Usually, my answer is something about how we thrive on questions because it gives us job security. This is also what I say when people can't navigate the printing software, or when they wonder why Dewey is so complicated. I say that we do it intentionally to secure our positions, or to confuse everyone just so they'll talk to us to keep us from being lonely. That's the best I can do. I'm not going to pat them on the head and tell them they're not the mutants they fear they might be. They're being introspective and feel self aware of their shortcomings, and I'm certainly not going to tell them they're wonderful, dandy people when the self awareness might actually cause them to improve the situation. Nope. I'm-a-gonna smile and tell them they give me job security.

Today was no different except that I didn't have Marina to split the freaks with.

Our job applicant from the other day was in and wanted books on guns -- on collecting, identifying and studying guns.


Sometimes I would like to be able to decline to answer questions. His creepy obsession that I mentioned was with serial killers and mass murderers, and on a previous visit he had requested books on designing costumes to look like official uniforms. With a big and hopeful smile, I asked him if he was making a costume for a costume party, and he said no. My only relief is that I know his face and if I saw him dressed as a policeman, I would not let him in my house, and I might let my dog eat his crotch off.

Thankfully Arms was in and he chased many of the freaks away from my desk today. Though he's not normal by my standards, he is a freak repellent on steroids, and that makes my job much easier.

When I got home from work, I was greeted with my energetic dog and my hungry brother, both milling about the kitchen aimlessly.

Bro: The dog locked himself in the bathroom again today. He was probably only in there a few minutes, but he was totally panicked.

Me: I don't get how he does this. He pushes the door open, but he closes it behind himself? How is that happening? And why?

Bro: Who knows with him! It's like that Fail Blog thing with the woman who thought she was locked in her car. Did you catch that one?

Me: No. Do tell.

Bro: It was a recording from OnStar or one of those types of services, and this woman called in a panic and said she'd gotten in her car without her keys, and the doors were locked. She couldn't get out of her car now to get the keys. The OnStar person asked if she had tried to open the door and the woman yelled that she had and couldn't get out. Then they were like, uh, why don't you try pushing the button thing and unlocking the door manually, so she did and she got the door open, and was screaming how thankful she was that they saved her. Oh my god, it was scary how stupid this woman was.

Me: Wow, that's a lot of stupid.

Bro: There's a whole lot of it going on there. First there's the panic--

Me: Which makes us all stupid.

Bro: Yeah, and she obviously had to have been born pretty stupid, too. Then you add that she's probably young and has always had the remote button unlock on the keys and has no idea that the car doors have the buttons to lock and unlock, and it's like all this stupid came together to create a Perfect Storm of stupidity.

Me: HAHAHAHA! YES! Like genetic stupid, plus environmental stupid, plus panic stupid, equals the Triumvirate of Stupid!

Bro: HAHA, the Holy Trinity of Stupid!

Me: And thank god for OnStar who had to save this woman from this Holy Trinity of Stupidity! Imagine if they hadn't. She'd have died slowly of starvation, trapped in her locked car.

Bro: OH SHIT, that might have been a favor to mankind.

Me: Yeah, you're right. Damn OnStar could've increased the collective IQ of the human race right there, but no, they couldn't do the right thing.

Bro: More stupid.

Me: Sheesh.

So, despite having one of THOSE weekends, at least I don't work at OnStar and have the fate of humanity's IQ on my shoulders.

Then again, I found Job-Applicant-Guy a book on guns. Maybe he'll just mass-murder the stupid people he hates so much. Dude, I hope the thinks I'm bright. I'm going to have to start wearing my glasses again.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


From: Happy Villain
To: Bro
Subject: Author Visit

I know I'm a liberry-ian and all, but I'm having a brain fart. We have a budget of $8 [typo] to have an author come to our library for a visit and we're supposed to make suggestions, to be voted upon by the patrons, and I can't come up with anyone good. Can you think of an author (seriously, anyone) who would be cool to have come to this area? Anyone you'd like to see? They're tossing around names like Dan Brown, Neil Gaiman, Janet Evanovich, etc. All bestselling authors. Think of anybody, let me know.

From: Bro
To: Happy Villain
Subject: Re: Author Visit

8 WHOLE DOLLARS! Damn library must be selling drugs out the back door or something. With that you can buy an ouija board and have any of the dead authors speak there. Well, that is if you have anything left in the budget for candles. The creepy teens will just appear though. You don't have to buy those.

When I got home, we continued the conversation.

Me: That was hilarious. We SHOULD do an author séance and save the money!

Bro: So many more authors to choose from! And you could do a bunch. Make it a series.

Me: And I’m sure we have the requisite amount of emo kids to make it look legit. Wait! Are you a real emo kid or an impostor with your hair all covering your face like that? There’s something off about you!

Bro: C’mere! Is that hair, or is that a wig!? WAIT A MINUTE! That’s a MOP! We won’t take any fake emo kids at our séance!

Me: We’d only be able to communicate with fake authors then! Who would the Milli Vanilli of dead authors be?

Bro: Hmmm, I don’t know. That is why you cannot have any fake emo kids.

And thus, another important discussion in my family goes the way of complete delirium. We blame it on my mom’s mental health issues and what that’s done to us.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Letter of Recommendation

Dear Library Job-Seeker:

While it is a noble endeavor for you to seek out a position at the local public library, which you find to be an environment befitting your high intellectual standards, with complete disregard for your future financial viability, it behooves me to illustrate the many reasons why you would be better suited to seek a job elsewhere. Let me count the ways.

1. You have, as you pointed out, six years of experience in the US military, which can be excellent training for someone like yourself in fields perhaps not available to you as a civilian. In addition to the excellent discipline the Army taught you, evident in your sloppy appearance, poor posture, and long, shaggy locks, it seems your training is so specialized that it is not even applicable to any commercial field in the country you defended. The irony isn't amusing, is it? We didn't think so either. So all this experience you have really doesn't translate into any value I see before me, and that's only going to hurt you, I'm afraid.

2. You're tall. You're almost too tall. It's painful to speak with you because my neck hurts trying to make eye contact, and if I look straight ahead to give my neck a break, I find myself staring at the bottom of the obnoxious, silk-screened logo on your dirty T-shirt, right where the brown stain is that clearly won't come out in 20-30 washes. Unpleasant for me. Again, your loss.

3. The last time you were in, you requested books that were not only creepy, but you confessed a strange fascination with this creepy subject. This frightened me. There are enough frightening people in the world who I experience with a reference desk between us, but if you were to be sitting alongside me, I would have to cry. Often. And hard. And I'd have to carry a weapon. And that would lead to biological messes, which I want no part of, so, though it bears repeating, this isn't working out in your favor.

4. Remember the "monkeys" you referred to who install cable, who you felt might make you miserable to work with, what with your dazzling intelligence being so wasted upon such neanderthals? Those "monkeys" are precisely the people you would be dealing with at the library, in larger quantities. Instead of working mostly alone doing cable installation, having to check in or work occasionally in teams with the people you are so much better than, you'd be working mostly alone at a desk in a library, far away from the people you might regard as more your equals, and the "monkeys" will be counting on your help day in and day out, questions and services demanded of you numbering well into the tens, if not near one hundred in a given day. If you're trying to escape the working class, the blue collar folks, the ones without degrees, the people who don't think you're as superior as you seem to think you are, then this library is not the place for you. You would be surprised how many of us identify more with the "monkeys" than the self-proclaimed elitist numbskulls like yourself. While that sucks for you, I think it's probably to the benefit of not only the staff I speak for, but the community I am here to help.

Surprisingly, the number of reasons to reject you as a potential coworker number only four, but what they lack in quantity they more than make up for in quality, and qualities are precisely what you are blindingly lacking yourself. You, sir, are a pompous punk, and not only would you not fit in at our library, but you haven't the constitution to do a job like ours, and assuming you do proves how dumb you really are.

Keep on walking, Mr. Job-Seeker. We are sorry you don't want to disgrace yourself by attempting a laborious job that would pair you with someone you feel is beneath you, but perhaps that's exactly the type of job that would give you the skills you need to function in the real world. Confidence is dandy, but you have to have substance to back it up, and that is not something the Army was able to provide to you. Good luck finding a way to support yourself.

Though I have no say in the hiring of any applicant for any position at my library, you asked me, a total stranger, to put in a good word for you, and I feel that this letter is about as good as it will ever get. Do with it as you wish.

Happy Villain

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Mars Or Bust

Bro: Do you have to work today?

Me: Yeah, I’m delaying going in, hoping they’ll close for the weather.

Bro: Do they close for the weather often? We only have a few inches so far.

Me: Damn, is that all? No, we dont close often, but more than we used to. Back with our OLD director, it was like the building needed to be more than 75% aflame to close. Any less was not enough. And for snow, what she’d do is send home everyone who lived more than 20 minutes away, so all the people like me who live close had to work all day and drive home at closing when the weather was its worst, risking our lives because we LIVED CLOSE.

Bro (laughing): That makes…no sense.

Me: I know. I was pretty vocal about how unfair that was. People who live far, their lives were worth more, apparently. I thought about telling her I moved to Nebraska just so I’d get to leave with the people who commute 20 minutes. Nebraska is far! I should get to leave first! In fact, I shouldn’t have to even come in. EVER!

Bro: I live on Mars now. In fact, in order to get to work today, I had to leave three months ago.

Me: Hahahahaha!

Bro: You think the weather is bad? Try re-entering Earth’s atmosphere!

And thus, I am off to work, which hopefully will close immediately after I arrive so that I can come home and shovel the driveway I stomped through and drove over, which will probably require strength I don’t have to chisel through the packed stuff and clear a place to park. Gee, suddenly working during a snowstorm sounds like a better option.

We don’t get this kind of bullshit on Mars. I should look for a more local job. But then, during those vicious red dust storms, I’d still have to work because I would be the local schmoe. Oh wait, no, I wouldn’t work for her again so it’s safe.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hand Sanitizer Necessary

While I was walking over to the stacks to retrieve a book for someone, I spied something on the floor that was grossly out of place, with emphasis on grossly. I thought to myself that I should pick it up, lest some small child find it and eat it, but the idea of picking it up bare-handed was too heinous to consider, and I made a mental note to get some napkins or tissues to pick it up. However, as is fairly typical, by the time I completed the task I was working on, the alien item sitting on the floor had slipped my mind and I went back to another project.

Later, I was helping a patron at the desk when my boss wandered out of the office, saw the foreign item on the floor, and automatically picked it up and set it on the desk next to me.

Me: Blah, I was going to get that, but I forgot about it. Did you just pick that up with your bare hands?

Boss (looking concerned): Yeah.

Me: OHGOD, hand sanitizer!

Patron: Do you even know what that is?

Boss (looking more concerned): No.

Me: YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW. Wash your hands. You’re better off not knowing.

He began squirting a single pump of hand sanitizer onto his hand, looking worried and staring at the item.

Okay, yes, I am a germ phobe, and I have a hypersensitive creep-out nerve, as well as a delicate gag reflex, so one must temper my heaving with a bit of reality. Yet the look of disgust on my face must have given him an indication that he really needed to disinfect.

Patron: That’s a toe separator! Women put it between their toes when they paint their nails.

He went straight from worried to panicked and gave himself a few more squirts of hand sanitizer before scurrying off with a full-body case of the heebie-jeebies. A brave soul picked it up off the desk with some tissues and threw it away.

Laughs were had, but no one even bothered asking what the hell a toe separator was doing on the floor of the public library. I work in that kind of library. It’s amazing I haven’t contracted some rare, incurable disease yet.

Oh wait, I have. Never mind.