Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Screw It

I knocked on my brother’s door.

Me: Do you have a tiny little phillips-head screwdriver I could use on my keyboard to open it up?

Bro: Um, let me see. Why do you want to open your keyboard?

Me: Because the letter L doesn’t work, and there’s an L in my email address, so I can’t even check my email.

Bro: Here, try these. They’re flatheads, but they’ll probably still work.

He handed me those lame-ass, bullshit tools that are pretty much large screws with a textured, cylindrical sheath for a grip around the barrel.

Well, it worked, but then the real challenge began.

Me: Why the FUCK do they put 300 screws in one little keyboard?

Bro: Because you’re not really supposed to take them apart. It’s a deterrent.

Me: Because they just want you to go, “Shit, I could take out these 300 screws that are smaller than ants to clean it out…OOOOOORRRRRRR, I could just spend $20 and get another one. Durrrr, I’m going to get another one.” And thus, they make more money on something that could be a quick cleaning fix.

Bro: Yes. Probably. You know how funny you look doing that?

Me: Quit laughing! What do you mean?

Bro: Well, there are all these tiny little screws and you’re using this tiny little screwdriver, and it makes you look like this Darby O’Gill giant trying to work in a tiny little world. “Must get screw out.”

With that, he made a big oaf face and pretended to be rolling a teeny-tiny screwdriver between his thumb and index finger, squinting at the miniscule thing it was unscrewing.

Bro: And it’s even worse with those things because you can’t hold the top like you want to because it turns. You have to hold that narrow, slotted thing around the middle, which is even more awkward, and you’re rolling it between your fingers instead of gripping it with your hand.

Me: Yeah, and the manufacturer made sure to put in 100 screws that are atomic sized, 100 that are molecular sized, and 100 that are barely visible with the naked eye. Why three sizes? And why are they in here so tight? It’s like Dad worked at this plant and convinced them that the tighter a screw is, the more sound the design.

Bro: They do, but over time they get corroded, so not only do you have to break that seal of the super-over-tightened screws the size of DNA, but you have to break the chemical corrosion that has sealed the screw to the plastic, too.

Me (breathing heavy): This is nuts! I can’t get these tiny screws out!

Bro: That’s why no one opens their keyboards!

Me: It’s a conspiracy! I won’t participate! I will fix my L!

Finally I got the keyboard open and all these little plastic suction-cup-looking things went flying everywhere.


He started laughing so hard he had to leave the room.

I spent the next 15 minutes trying to line up the plastic thingies with the keyboard keys and circuit board thingy to get it back together, and when I finally did, only the letters D and F worked.

Meltdown in 3…2…1…

Grabbing the keyboard and all the carefully placed plastic thingies, I slammed it on my desk with a scream and little miniature suction cups and screws went everywhere. It was the biggest miniature mess I ever saw and it made me laugh.

Me: So, wanna go to Walmart and get a new keyboard with me?

And so we went.

In a snowstorm.

But now my L works again. And I feel normal-sized once more.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Adult Services

Last Week:

After explaining to one of my coworkers that I mistook the earthquake for my room being haunted when I was wakened by a loud boom and my bed shaking, then finding out that Marina thought it was aliens, she asked a poignant question about why it is that all these alleged abductees claim they were anally probed during their abduction. We discussed this, between giggles, wondering if the aliens had some kind of knowledge about the colon that we do not, or was it some kind of anthropology study of the waste of a people revealing their culture. The more we discussed the anal probing of aliens, the sillier we became, and then Arms approached the desk and we asked if he’d felt the earthquake. He did not.

Me: Marina thought it was aliens.

Coworker: What do you think about alien abductions?

Without her elaborating that we’d basically deduced that alien abductions = anal probing, Arms began a exclaiming in favor of alien abduction.

Arms: Oh, I’d LOVE to be abducted!


Arms: I think I’d enjoy that immensely!


Arms: I’ve ALWAYS wanted to try that!


Arms: Since I was little, I’ve wanted to be an ASSSSSSS-tronaut.

Tears and sobbing.

It was as if he knew what we were talking about and was playing along. But he didn’t have a clue.

So my coworker decided to let him in on the source of our laughter and she wrote on a piece of small paper, “anal probes.” Once he realized what we were laughing about he laughed as well.

Arms: I’m going in the back to shred this piece of paper. I don’t want to just drop it into the garbage and someone else will come along and see that and find it disturbing.

Me: You can’t just fold it up in your pocket and risk finding it later when you do laundry. What if you don’t remember what it’s about and there’s just this paper that says “anal probes” in your pocket?

Arms: Exactly. What if it fell out of my pocket and someone saw it fall out and tried to tell me, but they read it and then had to wonder why I was walking around with a slip of paper in my pocket that said “anal probes.”

Me: You have to destroy all evidence of that paper.

Arms: That’s exactly what I’m about to do.

Monday Night:

Arms: Look, I got a Valentine!

Me: Oooh, who from?

It was from one of the girls who works in the youth department.

Arms: But look. It’s not just any Valentine. It’s a Jonas Brothers Valentine.

Me: Wow, that…that…is…sad.

Arms: It says, “Happy V-Day.”

Me: Yeah, but they’re the Jonas Brothers and V probably means something entirely different to them.

Arms: Whoa! You know, every conversation I have with Adult Services lately goes straight downhill. You guys put the “Adult” in Adult Services.

Me: Don’t be giving them credit for my dirty mind! That’s all me, baby!

Arms: I’m getting out of here and going back down to the youth department where they’re good.

Me: You can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen.


We were discussing a wild time Arms had at the bars the night before and a random girl he was making out with.

Me: You sure she was a girl?

Arms: Oh yeah, I’m sure.

Me: Are you REALLY sure? Because some of those cross-dressers are prettier women than real women.

Arms: If that happened and I found out she wasn’t female, there would be some violence. ‘Captain Winkie!’

Me: Huh? Tell me you don’t have a nickname for it!

Arms: No, that’s from Ace Ventura! Remember?

Me: No, it’s been a really long time since I saw that.

Arms: Well, I could’ve said ‘cock’, but that’s such a harsh word. I’d have to say ‘cahhhk’ so it wouldn’t sound so bad. I don’t like that word.

Me: Oh, I like it. I like it a lot!

Arms (blushing and laughing): Every time I come up here, this department gets more and more ADULT.

Me: Scary, isn’t it?

Arms: No, I like it.

But he walked quickly away. Back to the youth department for some cleansing.


Arms: What’s that chemical called that the body releases?

Me: Serotonin?

Arms: No, the stuff that makes you feel good.

Me: Endorphins?

Arms: Yes!

Coworker: Margaritas!

Me: Oh, that would be awesome if our bodies just produced that! Every few seconds I’d do this…

I pretended to lick the entire length of my left arm.

Me: Mmmmmmmmmm…

And then I pretended to lick the entire length of my right arm.

We were cracking up and I continued going, pretending to lick myself with an exaggerated lusty, hunger.

Coworker: It would be like pheromones!

She began sniffing the air, searching for the smell of someone releasing margarita pheromones.

I leaned over to her with my tongue lolling out of my mouth and sniffed her shoulder with dramatic facial embellishments.

Me: Mmmmmmmmmmargarita!

Arms was laughing and trying not to watch this directly.

I smiled huge, my eyes buggy, and I leaned over and started pretending to lick my coworker’s arm, making loud slurping sounds. We were in hysterics again.

Me: It’s like those toads people lick to get high. We’d be licking one another all night around here.

Arms (bright red and laughing): OHMYGOD, you guys are sick!

Again, he slithered off to Youth for comfort and sweetness.

I think allowing 14-year-olds in our area is probably irresponsible. We clearly need to be NC-17.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Facebook Fail

Last week I did something I swore I’d never do, right on the heels of getting that cell phone I swore I’d never get, but once again I disappointed myself and joined Facebook. Already I’m frustrated and trying hard to figure out what to do because I’m getting friend requests from people I don’t consider my friends, like my boss’ boss’ boss (seriously?), and a warning from Bri about the most irritating patron ever who friended her and will likely come after me if she knows I have an account. Bloody hell no! And since I have working relationships with these people, what’s the polite way of saying, “Dude, I don’t want to be your friend. I don’t want you knowing even the most irrelevant, superficial things about me. And I really don’t want you knowing who my friends are so you can voyeuristically keep an eye on them too.” How do you say that to people you don’t want to friend?

I think about this shit too much, I know. To me the word “friend” still means something, and I’m not collecting as many of them as possible, not in the real world and certainly not in a fake one I don’t plan to spend much time in. And more than anything, I want my Facebook anonymity back so that I don’t have to “friend” someone and block them from everything in my account. What IS the point?

Anyway, there is something else bothering me that I found on Facebook, something that’s been bothering me for many years and I just shake my head and walk away from the debate because it’s so nonsensical to me that it boggles my mind. One of my real friends, who also happens to be a friend on Facebook, joined a group supporting gay marriage, and another real friend, who also happens to be a friend on Facebook, joined a group opposed to gay marriage, and it makes me scratch my head that I can manage to be such close friends with both.

Here’s what boggles my mind: we’re debating the rights of gays to marry. And it’s such a heated debate that it’s polarized people into joining one group or another to announce their side of the fight.

After taking a few deep breaths, I beg the question: why? Why is this an issue? Why does anyone care if gays marry at all? Why do we even recognize gay couples as being different? Why is it a legal matter? Why is it a political matter? Why do we join groups on a social networking website and announce proudly to the world who we think should be allowed to marry? Why is there such a thing at all as the phrase “gay marriage”? People are people, people!

Here is how this sounds in my head.

I’m against fat marriage. Adam and Eve weren’t fat, the bible doesn’t specifically state that people should be fat and marry and have kids, so therefore it’s blasphemous. Fat people shouldn’t marry. If fat people were to get married, that would send a message that it’s okay to be fat, and clearly that goes against the way we were intended to be. Fat people get diseases and don’t live as long. You don’t see fat animals in nature. We’re not born fat – it’s a choice! Our ancestors weren’t fat. Fat is abhorrent. If fat people got married, they’d want to be parents and have children, and we all know that fat people can’t be good parents or role models. Their kids would turn out fat for sure and it would create more fat people in the world. And how would those kids feel growing up, having to explain to their friends that their parents are fat. They’d be made fun of, other kids would say that they’re going to grow up to be fat, and skinny parents wouldn’t let their kids play with the children of fat parents because fatness is contagious. Don’t get me wrong, I have fat friends, but I’m certainly not going to some fat wedding with all their fat friends and family, because you just know that people are going to be talking about nothing but food, and eating more than I can stand to watch, and while I like my fat friends, I don’t want to support that lifestyle in any way. Isn’t it enough that there are fat bars in the world, where fat people can go and be themselves? What more do they want? Next thing you know, all ceremonies will be fat-friendly and we’ll have fat marriage, fat divorce, fat funerals, fat christenings, and with the way things are going, one day we’ll have a fat president. OHDEARGOD, can you just imagine? Now, it’s forgivable for some to experiment with fatness, I suppose. Many folks put on those freshmen 15 pounds and dabbled in being chubby for a bit, but they realized it wasn’t them and they went back to their normal, natural weight. College is time of experimentation, I understand, but then you grow up. It’s just not right. I’m not going to vote for anyone who supports fat rights and if I ever find out my kids are fat, I’ll disown them.

As much as I’d like to put up a big banner and announce to the world that I support gay rights, I’d feel like I’m entering into battle of idiocy. This should not be an issue that divides us. It doesn’t even make sense to me. I understand that we need to make strides (likely slow ones) that aim toward a more equal society, but like other wars going on, I just don’t want to enter into this war that shouldn’t even be a war to begin with.

One day I hope that common sense will prevail. One day I hope that we’re not on one side or the other for civil rights of any group discriminated against in society. Because while it seemed amusing to read my fat marriage rant, substitute any other section of society for “fat”, like “black” or “Jewish” or anything else, and see how funny is sounds when you have people on Facebook arguing for or against a black couple’s rights to marry and have a family. I’m ashamed to be alive during a time when this is a hot topic.

Leave it to Facebook to make it possible to pretend to be friends with hundreds of people you would have nothing to do with in real life, all the while encouraging us into factions of warring social groups. It’s not a network, it’s a breakdown.

For the time being, I’ll stay a member and I’ll talk about my purple hair, post some pictures of burros poking heads into my car, whatever superfluous, ridiculous, unassuming things might pop into my head, and try hard to ignore it when people want to participate in division, fan the flames of a fire that shouldn’t even be lit, and I’ll just ignore the people who have no business on earth thinking we should be friends, even though that’s divisive itself. Sigh…what a terrible position Facebook puts me in.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Last night we had an earthquake. This was the first one I’ve ever felt, though we’ve experienced three in the last 5 years. It woke me from a sound sleep because I thought someone walked into my room and banged their leg into the frame of my bed. Not only did I feel the impact, but I also heard a crash. Never in my wildest dreams did I think earthquakes made crashing noises when nothing was actually crashing down. It wasn’t until this morning that I realized what had awoken me was an earthquake – I thought my house was haunted and the fright prevented me from falling back asleep. (Note to self: stop watching ghost shows in bed as you’re falling asleep.)

It appears Marina was jolted from sleep as well and she thought it was aliens, which triggered a lengthy and hilarious conversation that spanned the entire evening at work and consisted of many giggles surrounding talk of anal probes.

When I got home from work, I had to share the anal probes with my brother (what brings siblings closer than shared anal probes?), and when we were done laughing at that, I also shared my anger at the article here, in which the douchebag journalist compares our piddly quake with the quake in Haiti. Seriously, he seemed to think we (the readers) are a bunch of kindergartners in need of asinine, analogous, completely irrelevant comparisons so that we might appreciate the fortuitousness of this quake in relation to Haiti’s. Dude, that’s fucking redundant, you booger-eating moron. You state clearly in your article that no injuries or damage were reported. If any of us was thinking of Haiti (which I wasn’t, because honestly, I’d forgotten that this epic tragedy started from the same common, natural occurrence), I think that pretty much spells out that it had almost nothing in common with Haiti’s earthquake. Frankly, ours seemed almost fun, while Haiti’s is too horrific to for words. Why the comparison? Why take something that amounted to nothing and say that it was completely dissimilar to one that did an incalculable amount of damage? Were you trying to flip off your editors for giving you the writing assignment of an earthquake that merely woke up some people in Northern Illinois? Because really, that was insulting to read. No wonder I stick with other news sources.

My brother’s reaction to the article was one of disgust and astonishment as well, which led to him saying it belonged on “The Simpsons” as a news item.

Having never watched “The Simpsons” (yes, calm down, stop gasping, it’s true), I asked him to elaborate, which he did with gusto. His examples were funny and I understood the reference, but as is true of most conversations with my brother, it spiraled out of control.

Bro: They’ll report that three people died in Chicago today in gang-related violence, but in other parts of the universe, a nova occurred, which puts your three deaths into perspective so you don’t dare think you’re important. It totally marginalizes your more localized tragedies.

Me: That’s awesome. The news should really do that.

Bro: So it’s like no matter what happens, it’s not a nova.

Me: The result is the same as saying the opposite, a star was born, but it sure wasn’t you.

Bro: That’s not true! When I was born, scientists took note!

Me: Yes, when you were born, they started referring to it as The Big Birth Theory. And you’ve been constantly expanding since then.

Bro: That’s right! And they completely stopped measuring time in the same way. It started over! “This is great. We must stop using the old system and start counting days effective today. Today is the beginning of everything because he was born.”

Me: And all time before that will be counted backwards from your birth.

Bro: That’s right. Negative time! Not only did nothing count before I was born, but that time is negative.

Me: Can you imagine how many calendars had to be reprinted and software had to be reprogrammed? It was huge!

Bro: That’s right. That’s how it should be. It all begins with me!

How a fun little earthquake turned into a conversation about anal probes, which turned into my brother being a savior I do not know, but it was funny. And I’m thinking now I might have to start watching “The Simpsons.”

Nah. I’ll just count on him to give me the highlights.

Monday, February 8, 2010

It Shoots Through Schools

After a wacky night and a series of goofy patron encounters, Marina and I began walking around the library minutes before closing, cleaning up and putting furniture back where it belonged when I spied something on the floor.

Me: Oooooooh noooooooooo.

Marina (sighing): What?

Me: It’s a Magnum condom wrapper. Opened.

Marina: Where?

Me: Right here at my feet.

Marina: NO WAY!

She came over and we both stood a foot from the wrapper silently staring down at it for a few moments.

Marina: Should I go get the grabby thing?

Me: No, I think I can handle this.

Marina: You’re NOT picking that up with your hands?!

Me: Nope, I’m picking it up with my feet.

Marina: What? How?

Me: Well, I’m going to try this…don’t laugh.

Using the tip of my left boot, I pushed the wrapper up onto the toes of my right boot, and with the kind of dexterity a graceless dork like me (who shouldn’t even be allowed to wear heeled leather boots without training wheels) does not normally possess, I not only balanced the condom wrapper on the toes of my right boot, but I managed to walk 2 feet to the garbage can, lift my leg up, and rotate my foot so that the condom wrapper fell perfectly into the bin. It was a thing of beauty. I threw my arms triumphantly into the air and loudly announced that I rock.

This entire time I was vaguely aware that there were two remaining patrons in the library somewhere off to my left.

Marina: Great, you got rid of the wrapper, but where’s the condom?

Me: Ohhhh, I didn’t think of that. Maybe it was IN the wrapper still. Or maybe there’s a condom floating around here somewhere.

This was when I was made aware that the two people left in the building were actually two little girls.

Girl #1 (giggling): A condom? Gross!

Girl #2: What’s a condom?

Me: don’t want to know. Don’t you two have rides waiting or something?

They scurried off, the first girl still giggling.

Oops. Did I just introduce the word "condom" to a perfectly innocent young girl? Crap.

Marina: A MAGNUM too! You just know some little kid stole that from Mommy and Daddy’s supply and brought it here to show off.

Me: Probably stole it from big brother’s wallet. A Magnum. I don’t think even I have ever seen a Magnum. *sigh*

We laughed and made our way back to the office to gather our stuff to leave, giggling about how many condoms we’ve each encountered in the library, fortunately none being worn when found.

As we were leaving, I stopped to let the janitor know.

Me: Um, I just thought I should mention that we found a condom wrapper in the library but we could not find the condom. Just a warning.

He threw his head back and cackled. The folks at Circ were in hysterics. One of the clerks asked if I remembered the incident where one was found in the drinking fountain. Yes, yes I did remember that one.

Marina: Remember when I found one in the travel section?

Giggles erupted.

Me: Yeah, it should’ve been in 613.96.

Clerk: A condom, in the travel section? Of all places!

Me: Well, someone was really getting around.

Clerk: Yeah, going at it, I’d say!

Me: Or were they were com—


Me: Never mind. I’m just going to leave now.

I left and they continued laughing hysterically.

Sometimes I think to myself, anything but poo, please! And then I get a condom and can’t quite decide what’s worse. At least it was just a wrapper. However, I can’t help but worry that the condom is going to show up eventually. I hope I’m not around when it does.

Points to anyone who knows the reference in the title.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Yesterday I took my brother to the dentist where he had a tooth yanked out of his skull, which was clinging for life by the roots hanging onto his sinus cavity. He and I have the same problems with long, straight roots going up into the sinuses so dental problems can be a nightmare. Mom decided to tag along with us, though I still am not quite sure why, particularly since she drugged herself with enough Xanax to keep herself unconscious for the one-hour drive there and the 2-hour wait in the office. The only indication we had that she was still alive was her snoring. She woke up finally for the drive home, and as is typical, knowing he had stitches in his mouth and was in pain, she asked him a barrage of questions until he indicated very violently and sternly that she needed to shut up and leave him alone. The drive home was silent until I pulled up to the pharmacy and she offered to take the prescriptions inside. Once she was out of the car, you could feel the instant relief in the atmosphere.

Bro: I’m not in any pain. I just didn’t want to talk to her.

Me: Can’t blame you. Hope you can milk this for a while.

Bro: Me too.

Me: Did you hear what she said about having to go in and give the pharmacist a message from her doctor? Doctors don’t give patients messages to give to the pharmacist. Pharmacists can’t take the patient’s word for anything the doctor says. Who does she think she’s kidding?

Bro: I don’t know. She’s so fucking weird, I have no idea why she does what she does.

Me: Was that an excuse so that I’d park so she could go inside instead of doing the drive-thru? What did she want inside so badly? And why would she insist she had a message for the pharmacist from her doctor when she’s talking to someone who worked not only for doctors, but in a pharmacy, too? I know that shit doesn’t float! She thinks we’re totally stupid and she can make up any idiot excuse for stuff, not even considering that her lies are not even remotely within the realm of legitimate, but thinking we’ll believe it anyway.

Bro: I have. NO. IDEA. Why. She does what she does.

Me: *sigh* Stupid people bug me. They think everyone else is stupider than them.

Bro: I had a friend once who didn’t believe in gravity.

Me: OH YEAH! I remember her! And nothing you could say to her would convince her that gravity existed.

Bro: Right. How do you think you’re sticking to the planet and not flying off into space? She said it wasn’t some force keeping her down, it was just that she had weight. I tried to tell her that everything has gravity, even she did, but she didn’t believe me. She said, “I don’t have gravity! Things don’t stick to me!”

Me (laughing hard): And you asked her what happens when she falls, that she is drawn closer to the earth, lands on the ground, and she said, “That’s not gravity, that’s just the direction I fell in!”

Bro: OHMYGOD, there was nothing I could say to convince her, too. It was so frustrating.

Me: Was she messing with you, do you think?

Bro: No, she just couldn’t understand it so she didn’t believe it existed. It’s not all that complicated, either. And of all the forces in the universe, it’s one of the weakest. Like, everyday you BEAT gravity. Every time you move. If you’re not laying on the ground all day, you beat gravity. It’s not that hard.

Me: There are days when I can’t move and gravity wins, though.

Bro: Hehe, yeah, but mostly, gravity loses. Wouldn’t it be funny if gravity was like weather?

Me: Like it fluctuated?

Bro: Yeah, like there would be gravity storms or it would suddenly increase. Warning, this is going to be a high gravity day. Please take necessary precautions and bring things to the weak and elderly who don’t have the strength to move. Hehehehe.

Me: Ooh, and maybe there were places, like at the equator, where gravity was really strong and people struggled just to feed themselves.

Bro: And other places where gravity was always weak and they were bouncing all over the place! Ba-doyng, ba-doyng, ba-doyng! Oh, look, I just bounced all the way to the store! Ba-doyng, ba-doyng, ba-doyng! Now I’m back home again. That would be awesome!

We were laughing quite hard until we recognized Mom coming out of the pharmacy and then all conversation and laughter ceased. We drove home in silence and when I parked in the driveway, my brother hopped out of the car and went quickly into the house. I began gathering my stuff and I heard my mother from the backseat starting to panic.

Mom: Would you unlock the door so I can get out?!

Me: Um, you can get out. Just open the door.


Me: So unlock it!




Me: Are you serious?! Really? Push the lock button!

Mom: WHERE?!

Me: Under! The handle! Like every car you’ve been in for the last decade! It’s right where it’s always been! Where you just used it to get out at the pharmacy!

Mom: Here? This thing under the handle?

Me (through my teeth): YEEEEEEEEEEEES!

So she flipped it and miraculously the door was unlocked.

I went inside and my brother and I waited for her to go up to her room, to go back to sleep off her remaining Xanax, and I told him what happened.

Me: It was like that stupid lady calling OnStar because her keys were outside of the car and she was “locked in”.

Bro (laughing): I…I don’t know what to say about her.

Me: I should’ve left her in there. Of course, I could never get into my car again if she was always going to be in it, so I’d just have to stop paying on it. Shit, repo that fucking car, and take my mother with it! Now YOU’RE stuck with her! HAH!

Bro: OHMYGOD, how long do you think she would’ve stayed in there before she remembered how to get out of a car?

Me: One…two…three…*crunch* The world may never know.

I have no idea what I’d do in the world without my brother, and frequently I find myself in situations where I know only he would appreciate the humor.

For instance, a week or so ago there was an accident at the library where a young man donating blood at our blood drive passed out, hit his head, and gushed blood everywhere. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital, likely with just a small cut, but still, it was an buzz-worthy event at our library and we watched it on the security cameras over and over.

While in the office, I questioned my boss about the event and he began retelling it, pausing frequently to wait for me to regain some composure because I was laughing so hard. Every detail he added made the story funnier to me. This young man passed out while standing in line waiting for his cookie. (HILARIOUS.) He crashed to the ground after giving his buddy a hard time for being “a wimp”. (UPROARIOUS.) While out, other people rushed quickly to his aid and the Red Cross workers seemed to be oblivious to the problem. (HYSTERICAL.) There was some debate about whether he was the friend who talked the other into donating blood or if he was talked into it himself, but we were all sure he wouldn’t be donating blood again anytime soon. (RIOTOUS.)

By then I was struggling to breathe I was laughing so hard, and I kept apologizing and saying I wasn’t sure why it as so funny, it just was. I wished with all my heart that my brother was there because he is the only one I know who would find it as funny as I did. Minus my other half, I began making fun of the situation with no one to join in the games.

Me: Was there a big puddle of blood?

Someone said yeah, but the blood drive folks quickly cleaned it up.

Me: Did they bear their fangs and slurp up the blood from his head wound?

Someone else chimed in and started explaining about contamination and needing to keep the blood in sterile containers only, which only made me laugh harder because they totally missed the joke.

Me: Or did they just look around feigning innocence and kick him under the cot. “Nothing to see here, folks. Happens all the time. He’ll just sleep it off. Now let me see your veins!” *hisssssss* They lose a few that way every time. Just sucked a little too much blood out. “Henry! Did you do that?” Henry is licking his bloody fangs. “HENRY, we told you not to get greedy! Now we’re going to have to kill all these witnesses!”

I was wiping tears from my own eyes as I kept going. Marina finally laughed along with me and the rest of my coworkers were just watching me in frozen amusement.

Me: Did you see that guy, too? He was like a buck-oh-five maximum. I don’t even know how he had enough blood to spare! And he had big, thick glasses and a goofy fist-shaped beard. I bet this is a highlight of his life. Most attention he’s ever gotten. Maybe he’ll keep donating blood and skipping the cookie and juice, passing out all over the county.

I took some deep breaths because I was totally losing it and starting to finally feel embarrassed for myself, but I kept going.

Me: I REALLY don’t know why this is so hysterical, but it just is.

Then everyone else started laughing at me because I was totally gone, totally off my rocker, and I eventually had to lay my head on my arms on my desk and try to regain my composure.

If my brother had been there, it would’ve been a half-hour of ridiculous back-and-forth, merciless jokes made about the fainter and the blood drive.

Maybe it’s better that he isn’t always with me. Especially at work.

But man, I could not have survived in my family this long without him. Believe in it or not, he is my gravity.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Stench

When they walked in, my immediate impression was inbreeding. Suspected retardation of the adult girl, and overall weirdness of the mother. Weirdness isn’t sufficient in describing her -- she was not right. There was also a young boy who seemed to be the child of the adult woman I suspected of retardation. Together, this threesome drew a lot of attention.

Apparently, the mother and daughter began arguing with one another at the circ desk, so loudly and so vehemently that one of the girls got Sarge to come out and keep an eye on them. Eventually they separated and began their loud, clunky, awkward, inept trek into the main library, where they drew my attention and made hairs stand up on the back of my neck. The boy went down to the youth department, the daughter began using a computer, and the mother disappeared entirely. Eventually I forgot about them due to the distractions we call “patrons”.

After drinking a bottle of pop, I felt the need to release the liquid from my bladder, so I wandered to the washroom, where, immediately upon opening the door, I was greeted with a stench like rotting flesh and spoiled food, rife with maggots, mold and bacteria. It gave me the shivers, but I had to pee, so I held my breath and tried to go as quickly as possible.

A voice from the stall next to mine interrupted me as I was hiking up my skirt.

Voice: Excuse me, miss?

Me: Yeeesssss?

Voice: When you finish, can I ask you a favor?

Me: Okaaaaaay.

Voice: My daughter is out there using a computer. She’s wearing a pair of shoes the exact same color as yours—

HUH!? She’s looking under the stall at my shoes? Why would she do that?!

Voice: —and I need her to come in here and help me.

Me: Are you okay? Do you want me to get her right now?

No, you can finish what you’re doing first. It’s not an emergency.

It was too late. There was no way I was going to be able to pee after that.

Me: I can go get her now. It’s not a problem.

Her name is Mary and she’s wearing shoes the same color as the ones you’re wearing right now. Would you tell her to come in here because I’ve gotten sick and I need her help?

Me: If you are sick and need help, I can call—

Voice: No, really, I just need my daughter.

Me: Okay, I’ll go see if I can find her.

Eager to get out into the clean air, I ran out of the washroom and reported to one of my coworkers at circ what had happened. She offered to page for Mary, which worked out well because Mary was wearing black shoes, and I had on GREEN shoes. I never would’ve found her. Discovering that she was part of the threesome who had creeped me out so much earlier was not all that shocking.

Mary was in the washroom with her mother for a while and then she went outside, assumingly to the car, and brought back into the washroom a total change of clothes for her mother.

The clerk I talked to asked if maybe she’d thrown up all over herself, but from the smell in the washroom, that was not vomit.

About a half-hour later, they both emerged, both sat down at a table next to the reference desk and both picked up their cell phones and began having ridiculously loud conversations into each phone. I struggled with the idea of asking them to take their calls outside, but given that this woman just had explosive diarrhea all over herself, I didn’t want to humiliate her more and I did the wrong thing, which was allowing them to totally disrupt the entire library until they finally decided to leave.

An hour and a half later, two full hours since the washroom incident, I dared to venture back into that washroom to finally empty my own bladder and the stench was still so horrific that I turned right around and left.

Back at the circ desk, I informed the clerk from the first conversation that the washroom still smelled like a rotted corpse, and she said that two people had gone in there and sprayed air freshener, as well as cleaned up the stall. Terrified, I asked what was required for the clean-up and she said there were paper towels everywhere, as if there was a massive cleaning project required and the remnants were left on the floor. Someone suggested that the soiled clothes were off-gassing in the garbage bin, and I just gagged and walked away.

Later, as I was leaving tonight, the same clerk who cleaned the soiled paper towels mentioned that she also had someone who had terrible breath and he was leaning across the counter to view her monitor, so the safe breathing distance between them had dwindled to nothing. Before she knew what was happening, she’d opened her mouth to explain something to him and he looked right at her and spoke over her, and she said that his rancid breath went right into her mouth and she inadvertently breathed it in. She backed up, turned around and made a series of disgusted faces, trying to force the smell and taste of his bad breath out of her mouth and nose, to no avail. Eventually she had to turn back around and finish helping him from a distance, but even then she clearly had the heebie-jeebies from the memory of the odor and taste he put right into her.

I had to leave. There’s only so much of the public I can take each day and I’d reached my limit of tolerable biological nightmares for the evening. However, I had to be grateful that no one forced their putrid breath into my mouth tonight. It was a good night for me, evidently.