Saturday, February 11, 2006


god DAMMIT, grandpa!

The library ecosystem has a very common pest. This pest has many names. I call him Grandpa, Uncle Walter, Ding Dong, The Mouth, Lips, Foghorn Leghorn, Mr. Bull Horn, etc.

Let me back up. The reference desk is a "talky" place. People ask questions, get them answered and as more questions. The phone rings. People stop by to chat. All libraries have regulars that the staff gets to know so we talk a bit if there is no one waiting.

The pest abuses this delicate social niceity. The short chat with a patron is predicated on you LIKING the person, or being at least slightly interested in what they have to say.

The pest does not pick up on this cue. He is probably also the last-guy-at-the-party guy, the too-into-local-politics guy and the expert-on-local-history guy.

"Hey there, Chuck!"

Mary, Mother of Christ ...

"So, they working you too hard?!"

Actually, I'm the highest ranking person out here, shitbird. I work as hard as I damn well please.

"Here, I got a question for you. I wanted to know about that dam on the river north of town."

Oh no you don't, Uncle Walter. You want to run your mouth about the dam and I can't even imagine what else. This is just your twisted little segue.

"Well, that part of town was all walnut groves and uranium mines until the mine forman got his legs blown off by a malfunctioning kerosene stove. But what is interesting is that that damn was made with concrete rebar AND flamistan grommets on the flange weasels ... "


"... so by that time I had already been to Korea ... "

Our Father, who art in Heaven ...

"I have this book here about dam construction. Have you ever read 'What's your Dam Problem' by Kent McCord?"

Oh grand, the I've-read-more-than-the-librarian contest. This will end well.

"You haven't? Well, it's a great book. Here you can borrow it."

Do you realize you just asked me for like two, solid waking days of my time? If I asked you to come to my house and sit in silence, starting at my dining room table, you'd think I was fucking crazy and you'd be right. How is this different?

"You know, I thought about going into damn construction ... "

Don't all people have an instinctive sense of discomfort when a conversation is a) 20 minutes long and b) so one sided it would capsize if it were a boat? Not you, grandpa.

I should have been a cataloger.

JUST! ONCE! JUST ONCE, I'd like to run into an Uncle Walter-type when I'm off the clock.

Isn't it funny how they seem to know that they can only do this to people who are working, and their victims can't tell them to go fuck a duck? Oh they know! And they are all the more evil for it!
At my (former, now flooded out by Katrina) branch, this guy was named Bob.
Hey d,

Thanks for reading. As if Katrina could get any worse, I'll bet it gives your Bob more ammo.

"You know, I was able to keep the water out of my house using waxed paper and household twine. Learned it in the Army. See, back in those days, we had to ... "


There is nothing more pathetic than someone who abuses the kindness and attention provided by someone who has no choice.
Haha! What a great post. We have pillars in our library to hide behind when we see them coming.
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