Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Top Five Supervisors

The Suicidal Woman

One of the two "notorious" bosses that I worked for, this one looked like something out of a Jim Henson movie, with her bugged-out eyes, wobbling head, lanky figure, and mouth that took up two-thirds of her face. She was the very definition of awkward, and never seemed to say the appropriate thing at any time. Regularly insulting the staff and patrons, I can imagine her being genuinely baffled as to why people disliked her. But all this is commonplace: What really made her stand out was that she moved to a new house right before I started working with her, and she was a complete wreck. Every day that I came in, she complained about how cold her new house felt, and said how wonderful her old place was. She would have shaking fits while describing it, which made it rather uncomfortable having to break away from this to help an on-looking patron. She even fell into a long bout of crying in the back, clearly audible from the front desk. I felt bad for her, until she came out and made some snotty, demeaning comment to me. Favorite moment: Though I wasn't there to see it, apparently she came into work one time without a bra on and with her hair wild and uncombed and worked an entire shift that way. This story was confirmed by everyone who worked that day, and I can only imagine the looks of horror that the weekend crowd had when parents brought their kids to the desk to ask for "Clifford" books.

Grimace


Probably the most hated person I worked with among my friends. A friend said that this woman looked like a piece of candy corn, but her habit of wearing purple outfits made Grimace a much more suitable nickname. In addition to being a petty, mean-spirited cunt, she also made light of the fact that she was constantly cheating on her husband, went to see male strippers with female staff members, tried desperately to be twenty years younger than she was, bragged about getting my closest friend fired, stole people's food from the refrigerator, sexually harassed male staff members (who were obviously too embarrassed of the fact to report it) and invited another employee to go smoke some weed together. She was the most thoroughly repulsive person I've ever worked for, and she still smiles at me and tries to "make nice" every time I go into the library. Favorite moment: One of the sweetest coworkers I've ever known, on her last day of work before going to college, took out Grimace's lunch while Grimace was at the reference desk and spit it in, then mixed it in with her finger. I never knew that a girl this nice would actually do something like that.

The Pound Puppy


This lady looked like one of those old Pound Puppy toys, except that she was in desperate need of some Rogaine, since she has as much hair on her head as I have on my arms. Even though I worked at the same place for seven years, she thought I was an idiot and didn't know how to do anything. During my second year as a page she scolded me for not putting some books in the proper rough-sorting place, even though on that same day I worked mainly with new hires and had trained most of them. Taking my breaks, needing to request days off, and even something as simple as when I wanted to take my lunch were all pain-in-the-ass ordeals with this woman, who always sighed when I asked something as if I were trying to borrow twenty bucks or something. I later discovered why this lady had such an attitude with me: She told my friend that I reminded her of her ex-husband. Favorite moment: A coworker beat me to a promotion and The Pound Puppy bought him a ridiculously oversized congratulation card and threw him a nice going away party at work. On my last day, after over seven years of working with this bitch, a coworker had to make a banner herself and organize a going away potluck without her help. A few weeks later I got a card in the mail from her, almost as an afterthought. Before you ask, yes, I am bitter. Very, very bitter.

The Cowgirl

The other "notorious" boss I worked for. This lady was a long-legged, gap-toothed, pale-skinned, curly-haired sexy beast of a supervisor, and from the moment I was hired I had an enormous crush on her. She wore cowboy boots and tight skirts, and whenever she'd walk into the work room there'd be a loud clacking noise from the boots. She also had the supremely erotic habit of calling everyone "Mr.," "Miss," or "Mrs." It was widely known how I felt about this woman, and the question I always got was, "why?" The reason for this confusion was that most people hated working for her, since she was the strictest boss I've ever had. She was the one who told me that people from other branches compared the library she worked at to a concentration camp. I had no problem with her strict work ethic, and actually preferred it to the laid-back atmosphere that I've had at other libraries. The best part was that when things were not going to her liking, she would organize little staff meetings to chew us all out, and remind us that we need to stop talking to each other and do our jobs. She would also have little "private meetings" with the work snitches who would complain about other coworkers. These meetings were held in small closets with the door shut. Whenever I saw that door closed, I felt embarrassed for her. Favorite moment: Even though she was going through a divorce and talking to almost everyone on the staff about it, she still told us during a meeting that we had to stop discussing our personal lives with coworkers while on the job.

Honorable Mention: The Rare Male Supervisor

Ever since I started working in libraries, my direct supervisors have always been women. I have had a couple supervisors who were men, but they were usually in charge of other aspects of the library, and were never in charge of my schedule, when I took breaks, or anything else. When I briefly worked for the Orange County system, I never once worked with another man, and the entire workplace just oozed with estrogen. I think I may have had a grand total of four male supervisors, as opposed to the over twenty female supervisors. This will be a tribute to one of them. When I started working at the library, the library manager was an old man who wore a Woody Allen-style cap and looked very frail. He was quiet, hardly spoke to anyone, and I think he only said my name one time while I worked for him. One day some staff members bought him some ice cream to take home, and if I remember correctly, I think his wife made him throw it away because he wasn't allowed to eat it. He retired from the library and died a few months later. His quietness and business-like attitude reminded me of the stereotype of what a librarian should be. Even though we never talked, I felt legitimate sadness when he died, like he was the last remaining relic from a time when libraries were quiet places of information. Now, with the influx of younger staff members and a change in the concept of what a library is, he will always represent for me something that's slowly on the way out. So I tip my hat to his memory.

Top Five Patrons

The Deaf Lady

There was a woman who used to come into my old library who was not only deaf, but one of the rudest broads I’d ever dealt with. She would yell at the staff in a voice that sounded like an adult character in a Peanuts cartoon plugged into an amplifier used by The Who. She was old and had her hair in a ponytail which made it look like she was blind rather than deaf. She wore the same ugly dress and sweater every time she came in. Fondest memory: One time she was sick and was using one of our computers. She wiped her nose and mouth with the palm of her hand, and a couple of times she let a large blob of mucus-y spittle drop from her mouth into her hand, which she then dropped politely into the trashcan sitting next to her. A women who was assigned to use that computer once she was finished watched in obvious horror.

The Handicapped Girl

A group of “special” adults came into the library every morning with their teacher, and were allowed to wander around the library to do whatever they wanted. One girl had a face that looked like a Halloween mask that someone was pulling on, from the inside. Her teeth looked like someone took a pair of dentures and shot gravel at them for half an hour. Because we had the bell system, whenever she needed help she would look at us and holler “DING DING DING,” meaning she wanted a librarian. She smiled at the staff every time she came in and would say “Hello.” Overall, a sweet girl. Fondest memory: I was once at the circulation desk and she looked at me and giggled. Then she said loudly, “I like cute boys!” I told my girlfriend about it and she told me that I better not sleep with her.

The Little Jerk In The Wheelchair

There was a boy who always came into the library in a wheelchair and wanted to use our computers. His face looked perpetually angry and he always verbally abused him mother, who once passed gas loudly while I was shelving books and looked at me with a smile afterward. He was a rude kid, and only got worse as he got older. Because of how mean he was to his mother I realized that maybe God cripples some little children for a reason. Fondest memory: He liked one member of our staff a lot and knew his full name, which he used every time he addressed him. Finding out that this clerk did not get a lot of presents for Christmas, he shouted at him, “WHY DIDN’T YOU GET A LOT OF PRESENTS THIS YEAR?” as if this were an injustice comparable to his being crippled.

The Toothy Artist

This guy was the enemy of the patron above, and once complained to a librarian that “The Wheelchair Kid” was trying to steal his library card number. He had the biggest teeth I’d ever seen, and he always walked with the slightest hint of a skip. He always had some issue with the computers, and one time when there weren’t any librarians at the desk he yelled from his computer to me that the printer wasn’t working. I looked him in the eyes and went back to work, ignoring him. He then yelled out “THIS IS SERIOUS,” a plea which I also ignored. He always tried to request Cds and DVDs that had never been released, and would ask for a comic book, “about that guy, who was in a group of superheroes.” Everyone tried to figure out what he was talking about, but not a single person could figure it out. It wasn’t Justice League, so don’t bother suggesting it. Fondest memory: On my last day of work at this library, a librarian told him that I was leaving and he drew me a picture of a superhero. I later commented to another coworker that the left arm on the character was much shorter than it should be, and that this kid needed to work on perspective.

The Stripper

Every now and then a women who lived near the library would come over in either sweats and a tank top, or shorts that almost went up to the belt line. She had a terribly acne’d face, and the general opinion was that she was using a ton of drugs, most notably meth. Somehow it was known that she worked at one of the many strip joints that peppered my small town, and I question whether or not she told this to someone or if a lusty coworker actually saw her on the job. One night when I drove to the library to drop some stuff off I saw six or seven cop cars surrounding her house, and children in the front yard looking confused. Fondest memory: One time she came into the library with some hairy rodent running along her shoulders. When she came over to the circulation desk the thing looked at me and started running around her shoulders again. I almost had an accident in my pants. She smiled and said, “oh, she’s friendly!” Turns out it was a chinchilla, and if I were less of a pansy I would have found it adorable rather than terrifying.

The Janitor Is Needed To Shelf-Read New Fiction

When I was a page, life seemed so much simpler. Your supervisors expect next to nothing from you, and as long as you keep out of some of the behind-the-scenes politicking, you’d have to be a complete idiot to be fired. Either that, or have the extreme misfortune of being someone who your boss just doesn’t like. My duties as a page were easy, but I sometimes hated the fact that we were little more than “Janitor Plus,” since we had to check the restrooms, pick up trash, and other stupid little duties that weren’t in the job description. We were the little ants marching our carts up and down the aisles, shelving the books, picking up books that were laying on the floor, and basically keeping the library propped up and organized. The most tortuously boring task was shelf-reading. This was when a page would spend an hour staring at their assigned section of the library, and make sure that every single book was in it’s correct spot. It wasn’t so bad for the first fifteen minutes, but after an hour you begin to space out and start pondering deep philosophical questions. I came up with ways to achieve nirvana, ideas for what would be a masterpiece of modern literature, and various schemes for making millions of dollars all while shelf-reading, but never once wrote a single one of them down. I frequently thought about my life, and would leave the shelves with a furious expression on my face, and it became known that you didn’t bother me after I had been shelf-reading. There was probably something very Zen about it, but at the time, I didn’t see it and just wanted to shoot myself.

The most degrading aspect of the county library that I worked at was the bell system. We were trained to come to either the reference or check out desk when someone rang a bell. Actually, everyone was on the bell system, from the pages to the manager. To make matters easier, every hour a specific person was assigned to be “on bell,” and if someone needed a page and rang, you would only have to answer when you were on bell. This was annoying because when I was a clerk and would ring for a page, sometimes there would be one right next to me who could have easily helped me out, but flat-out refused, saying, “I’m not on bell. Let whoever's on bell do it.” This was a blessing to me on one occasion though. I had mentioned that as a page we were expected to be “Janitor Plus” on occasions. If something spilled or a mess was made and you were on bell, it was your duty to clean it. This would range from a Sugar Daddy stuck on one of the shelves, covered with ants, to a soda spilled on a desk, sliding dangerously close to the business books. These were nothing compared to what I saw when I was closing one night. During the closing hour a boy had an accident while waiting in line at the check out desk. Normally this is an issue that the parents take care of, but there was one little problem: The boy was wearing shorts. Once that “accident” slid down the leg of his shorts and splattered on the library floor, it immediately became our problem, or rather, the page’s problem. I remember walking by with my cart after hearing the bell ring, and seeing the grotesque Rorschach blots on the floor. The clerk at the desk looked at me and said “Oh good, you’re here. Can you take care of this please?”
“Sorry,” I said, “I’m not on bell.”

The Library: Not The Place Where Romance Begins

If you work at the library and are even moderately attractive, you will at some point have people hit on you. This can be either charming or cringe-inducing. While many of my supervisors have felt pangs of revulsion, others have taken advantage of this attention. I have heard stories of previous supervisors having brief flings with random patrons, and there was one supervisor who was known to be flagrantly cheating on her husband with at least a couple of patrons. The other librarians even joked about it, as if sleeping with the public was commonplace among library folk. Not all the patrons were Casanovas, though. One patron, memorable for missing a front tooth, wearing a faded “God Bless America” T-shirt every day, and always requesting books on different types of poisons, actually hit on a younger clerk by asking her if she were pregnant, since her stomach had gotten a little bigger. Needless to say, the pick-up line did not have the desired effect.

Anyhow, I remember back when I was a page, there was a girl who I went to high school with who started coming to my library and creeped me out. While I was shelving books I had the distinct feeling that I was being watched. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a head peering over at me from the edge of one of the shelves, and when I turned to look it ducked away, like a Gremlin or Munchie. I decided to ignore it and continued shelving. Once again I could feel someone staring at me, and I saw the same head gawking at me through the corner of my eye. This went on for about five minutes, and I went up to her and said “hi.” She smiled meekly and started an awkward conversation. She was a year older than me and would be pretty if she cleaned herself up. As it was she had dirt smudges on her face and what looked like spittle stains all over her tank top. All that I remember of our conversation was that she said she liked Disneyland, and when I asked her when was the last time she had been there she replied that she had never been there. She came in a few more times after that, and I felt so uncomfortable around her that I wanted to throw up.

In addition to the “stalkers,” there are also the gorgeous patrons who some of the staff obsess over in ways that are creepier than even the most persistent of patrons. When I was a clerk I remember a couple of my coworkers looking up personal information about patrons as they checked out, and would commit their database numbers to memory. More than a few admitted to looking up a patron’s information before checking out their books, just to make sure they were “legal.” No one ever did anything as douchey as slipping their phone number into a book that was being checked out, but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if someone did. There was also a ton of blatant flirting going on at the circulation desk, and to this day I’m surprised that no one got reprimanded for it. But then again, when even the bosses are slobbering over the patrons, you can’t really expect them to say “boo” to a part-timer.

Weeding The Collection

Once upon a time and a very good time it was I worked with a librarian who everyone but myself hated. She was by far the sexiest librarian I ever worked with, and hers is the image I imagine writers of "Librarian Erotica" conjure up when clacking away at their keyboards. This was not why her and I hit it off, however. I am by my nature drawn to people who others loathe, since my instinct is to question the wisdom of the crowd. On a few occasions, they have been right, but more often, dead wrong. Anyhow, this librarian was a cut above the others since she legitimately cared about libraries and, surprise surprise, was actually a reader. She not only read, but she also liked classic Hollywood cinema, and we talked frequently about films and books. When I wanted to listen to classical music, she gave suggestions and even told me some operas that she enjoyed. While my coworkers dreaded closing with her, I looked forward to it. She wasn’t an overly tough supervisor, she just expected people to do their jobs.

She was in charge of the fiction collection, and at one point we needed to do a massive purging of books. For the past few years I had made it a point to regularly check out my favorite books just to make sure that, when someone checks their status in the computer, it shows up that the book circulates. My favorite author is James Joyce, and one thing I prided my old library on was the fact that it carried all of his works, which a lot of libraries do not. The one book of his that I wanted to make sure we kept was Finnegans Wake, so I checked it out every now and then. One day when I came into work I was given a cart of books to be discarded, and lo and behold, my beloved copy of Finnegans Wake was among them, laid out to rust. I asked her why she was getting rid of it, barely containing my disgust, and she said simply, "It doesn’t circulate." I tried convincing her to keep it, asking her again with my eyes, but she said, "Sorry. We need to make room for other books."

I later joined my other coworkers in loathing her. When she transferred to another branch, I could barely contain my joy. I realize that this is a completely irrational reaction to something fairly trivial, but emotions don’t follow logic, and the moment we discarded Finnegans Wake was the moment I knew that even the greatest librarians can sometimes be no better than swine. I brought the book home, while some went to the book sale racks and the rest were tossed unceremoniously into the dumpster out back, with banana peels and cored apples falling faintly upon all the discarded and the unread.

Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here

For about three months, working in the library was my dream job. I was working at a department store during the holiday rush, and I had a deep hatred for my bosses, my coworkers, and the consumers. I saw the library as a cozy spot where I would shelve books and form an intimate bond with the collection. Most people have romantic views of the library, but mine was extreme to the point where it was nearly a fetish. I was there every week, tearing through the stacks and wanting to cram all that knowledge in my head, and nothing seemed more heavenly to me than to be in an environment of fellow book-lovers. I filled out an application for Library Page and went into the interview a ball of nerves. I was interviewed by two women; one a balding blob of skin that looked like a pile of rags, and the other a gap-toothed pale gal with cowboy boots and a shirt with a button that was popped open in the center, continuously flashing her bra every time she shifted her upper body. I gave what I thought were the right answers, and told them how much I loved the library. When I left I was filled with excitement, sure that soon I’d have the job I wanted.

A few weeks passed, and I called the library. They said that they were sorry, but that they gave the job to someone else, and that they would "keep me in mind" if another position opened. I discovered later that the spot I interviewed for was taken by a fat black-haired girl who told me that her ex-boyfriend was a heroin addict, and she only applied because a friend of her worked there and suggested it as an easy job where you don’t have to do much. I was persistent, however, and I went into the library every week to ask if something opened up. Probably to stop my asking all the time, they eventually hired me.

I ended up working for this hell hole for around seven years, getting paid peanuts and having to deal with so many levels of stupidity that it boggles the mind. A massive debt and my masochistic urge to "hug the dagger that stabs me" kept me at this place, until I found a place that paid me twice as much to do less. Everyone who worked at my old library has horror stories about it, and even my bra-flashing boss once smiled at me and said, "people have actually compared this place to a concentration camp!" For years I wanted to keep on good terms with this place because I figured the recommendation would be valuable, but not anymore. The Los Angeles County Public Library System blows. If you want to get into library work, start anywhere but there. That’s my advice for the day.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini Vs. Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon

Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini jacked the name "Boom Boom" from his father, Lenny "Boom Boom" Mancini. Ray's boxing has been described as a "whirlwind punching style," which floored many a lesser son-of-a-bitch in the ring.

Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon was dubbed "Boom Boom" due to "his thundering musical renditions." His singing style emulated the "hard-driving style" of Little Richard, which floored many excitable teenage girls.

Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini is a bad-ass Italian hailing from Youngstown, Ohio, who was given boxing lessons at an early age by his father.

Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon's ethnicity isn't readily available (on Wikipedia), but his last name is a VERY woppish "Picariello." Plus his middle name is Anthony. Come on now. "Tony Picariello" is as good a boxer name as any. Oh, and his first hit song, "Tallahassee Lassie," was written by his mother.

Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini was visited by three gunmen before his fight with Arturo Frias. Whoever answered the door told the gunmen that Ray wasn't there. Smart move.

Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon's last name is reminiscent of a firing device which was formally used in battles to kill many people.

Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini has an impressive boxing record of 29--5, including 23 knockouts. That's right, he only lost 5 times.

Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon had 22 songs enter the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. He also holds the record for the most appearances (110) on that overrated bullshit show "American Bandstand."

Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini's boxing style was so powerful that he actually killed another boxer. In a 14 round fight with a South Korean boxer named Duk Koo Kim, Mancini pounded the living fuck out of Kim, who died five days after the match due to brain injuries. Kim's wife committed suicide four months after the match, and the referee of the bout followed suit the next year. Apparently Kim lost several pounds before the fight to make "lightweight" status, and was dehydrated, which may have contributed to his death.

Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon's rocking style is so powerful that he slayed my ass at an oldies revival show that I attended when I was a teenager. At his age he was still running around the stage, howlin' and pounding his guitar like a fucking nutcase. He blew away all the other geezers who were on the stage, managing even to outdo Chuck Berry. I didn't drink anything during the show, so my being slightly dehydrated might have contributed to his performance being so powerful for me.

Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini officially retired in 1992.

Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon has never retired and continues to tour and put out new songs.

In Love With ChaCha

Are librarians really so insecure that they feel compelled to bash a new technology which might become competition? Apparently, the answer is a resounding YES. I saw an article online (read it here: http://ptech.allthingsd.com/20080424/if-you-have-chacha-and-a-cellphone-you-have-answers/) about a new text service called "ChaCha," and it showed me a bit of that delicious bickering that you only get among those who have little else to do with their time than scream at imagined threats. First of all, for those who don't know, ChaCha is a text message service which acts like a pocket librarian. All you do is send a question to ChaCha (242 242) and the answer will be fired back to you in the span of a few minutes. It is remarkably handy, and I have used it a few times to get quick answers to basic questions like "Where's the nearest Dairy Queen?" or "What's the number for the Cheesecake Factory?" I instantly became a fan of it, and plan on using it many times in the future.

However, not everyone seems to think that ChaCha is so wonderful. Dig these comments on ChaCha from the online article:

"Hello. This is nothing new in the universe. There has always been a way to use your phone to get answers. It’s called your public library. Program their number into your cell phone and you are good to go. And you’ll be getting your answers from professionals rather than some unknown person earning 20 cents per question."

"Are you kidding? Librarians have been offering this service for decades and doing it with accuracy and speed. They have training and experience with a variety of print and electronic resources and many know the hidden Web resources to check for the truly hard-to-find.
If you live in an urban or suburban community and haven’t contacted a public or university library for information retrieval, you’re wasting your time with “volunteers” masquarading as information specialists."

"If you have a phone, you’ve had a way to get answers all along, from qualified researchers, rather than unknown individuals working for $.20 per answer.
Call your local public library. The librarians there are information professionals, and will find you the right answer."

Now, I'm only assuming that these jerk-offs are librarians because of Library Journal's Norman Oder (GREAT last name!) calling them such. It does make sense though, since I can't imagine anyone but librarians getting so pissy about a new reference service. As someone who actually works in a library and has used Chacha, I'm going to list some differences between the two that might be helpful. Or not.

ChaCha is available 24/7, while libraries have shit hours and are rarely opened on Sundays. If you're at some asshole's condo at 1 am and need to find out who wrote the script for the film "Houseguest" so that you can win a bet, you can text ChaCha. By this time, most libraries are closed and most librarians are weeping about how they never got to do what they really wanted to in life because they chose to "play it safe" with Library Science.

You will NEVER get a ChaCha text saying "Sorry, but this is the Children's desk. Let me send you to the Adult info desk for that answer."

ChaCha will answer (or attempt to answer) asinine questions that you ask it just to amuse yourself. While at work Scott and I came up with some truly idiotic questions (which we assumed to be unanswerable) to ask ChaCha, and got back some surprisingly great answers. I'd love to share these answers with you, but apparently I would need written permission. Ask these same questions to a librarian, and they will either ignore you, say that they're too busy to answer such questions, or hang up on you.

I've worked in libraries for close to 8 years now, and I can say with confidence that librarians are certainly NOT the Gods of Information that people assume them to be. Furthermore, I've seen in larger librarians that it's usually Library Assistants and not actual Librarians who are on the reference desk most of the time, and Library Assistants do not have degrees in Library Science. Also, from some that I've worked with in the past (thank you LA County), a couple are also so incredibly dumb that you yourself can get the answers faster and more accurately with Google and a basic knowledge of typing.

ChaCha won't be insulted if you ask for a store's hours.

ChaCha won't put you on hold to help other patrons, then forget about you.

ChaCha won't sound like a goddamn circus when the schools get out.

Finally, ChaCha won't walk you to a computer, sit you down, and then force you to find all the answers out for yourself by using the internet.

That said, ChaCha certainly doesn't have the nice community of perverts, angry old people, and vagrants that your local library has, nor does ChaCha carry books. ChaCha has no internet, so you still need a library for that too. You can't form crushes on the ChaCha person who's answering your questions, and there will never be a movie or book based on ChaCha people. Libraries are fine institutions, deserving of respect, whereas ChaCha is just something you use for answers to quick questions. In short, Librarians and ChaCha should embrace one another, and consummate a glorious relationship based on the information needs of others.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Letter to Satan

Dear Satan,

I need some help. I have recently discovered that I am in love with somebody. There are several problems with my situation, problems which you may be the only person with the solution to. First of all, the person who I am in love with...we have never met. In fact, they have never seen me and I have never seen them in person. Second, I am in love with a man. Third, I'm straight. You may have heard of this man...his name is Justin Timberlake. He is an entertainer. I have followed his career for quite some time and have amassed a rather substantial collection of graven images which bear his likeness. When I go to sleep I nuzzle with a pillow which is draped with a large picture of his beautiful face, with his gorgeous eyes and the words "Cry Me a River" written along the bottom. I have even constructed a life-sized Justin for my pleasure and to keep me company when I am lonely. I use fresh slices of chicken fat for the lips, and have dug a hole in the crotch which I fill with bacon, peanut butter, and vegetable oil for when I'm driven to some of my baser urges. This is no easy problem to solve, so I have devised a solution that I think you'll be able to do for me.

I do not want the real Justin...his disappearance would be too obvious. I would instead like you to construct a duplicate. It would work like this: The face needs to be an exact copy. Any deviation from his regular appearance is unacceptable...I am sure you understand this. He needs to have big breasts. I love big breasts...the kind that, when my hands are pressed against them, they start to creep around the edges and push out. He obviously needs to have a vagina. I am a straight man, and I like female genitalia. His ass, however, is desired to stay muscular and manly. I would like him to have no body hair whatsoever. Also, feminine hands and feet are desired, but if this is not possible, I then I will go for a slightly girlish design instead. Finally...even though this is going to be a copy...I want everything that we do to be seen by the real Justin in his dreams. When I'm eating his pussy, I want him to see it. When I'm sliding my prick in-between his big, delicious tits, I want him to see. I want that connection, otherwise there is no point.

I am willing to hand over my soul for this arrangement. I know that cash is of no use to you. Please contact me if we can make a deal. I am sure that if we meet face to face or have a talk over the phone, we can hammer out the specifics. I have a baby.

Love always,
Roland.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Library Love, Part The First

(I wrote this in September 2006, so it's quaintly "retro")

I was a page for about two years, and to this day I still have an overwhelming urge to push in chairs, pick up stray books, and shift a disorderly shelf.

One time when I was being driven to work (my car had been out of commission for a few months) these girls in front of the library screamed "HEY CUTIE!" at me. We also got a smart-ass comment in our suggestion box saying "you have some hot guys working for you. They should make a calendar." As Lisa Simpson observed, us library boys are the wildest.

Sex in the stacks? Not quite, but a friend of mine who used to work with me witnessed a lady giving her man a handjob through his shorts while working on the computer. Also, a man was arrested for exposing himself, and was apparently handcuffed while his member was hanging out and getting some air.

Anytime anyone checks out something by James Joyce, I'm compelled to tell them that he's my favorite author. It's not that I'm trying to look smart, it's because I seriously don't know anyone who likes Joyce.

Eventually my coworkers come to me divulging details of their sex lives. I don't know why this is.

When an angry patron demands to have their fines waved for an item that was clearly damaged by them and the supervisor agrees to do it, I'm legitimately offended.

An overweight woman of God who comes into one of my libraries once lifted her leg up and dug her fingers into an obscene area to scratch herself while talking to me. She frequently complains about other library patrons having no manners and has delivered written complaints to my boss about it.

Whenever I ask coworkers who their favorite authors are, I am usually met with blank stares and the response "I don't read."

I go to clubs frequently, and have encountered a surprising number of people who work at libraries and are working on Library Science degrees.

I have always wondered if the indignant jerks who complain about their overdue fines also complain with the same vigor at video rental places like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video. When my library used to charge $2.00 a day for overdue movies (the good old days) people would constantly bitch that Blockbuster doesn't charge that much. I withheld the temptation to remind them that Blockbuster also doesn't give them movies for free like we do. My thinking is that anything given away for free is taken for granted, and if you dare suggest a penalty for not returning it on time, there'll be hell to pay.

One thing that I've always loathed is when patrons feel the need to say "I pay your salary with my taxes" when there's a problem with their record. As if paying taxes and receiving a public service gives them the right to take books, movies, and CDs for free, return them whenever they please in whatever condition they please, and then complain when they want to check out an item that can't circulate due to damage or hasn't been returned yet because someone's keeping it past their due date.

My favorite response to "You still have a couple of items checked out on your record"? "No, I don't, " followed by a loud fifteen minute argument, a trip to their car, and a quick return of said items without an apology.

I have gained a significant amount of weight due to working at the library, because of the frequent pot lucks (about two a month), a candy jar for the staff, and a constant flow of candies, cookies, and snacks left for the staff in the break room.

The new library that I work at is notable for two things: One, it's the biggest and fanciest library I've ever worked at. Two, it has fewer books than the smallest library I've ever worked at.

One time a woman came in to pay some overdue fines and felt so much guilt about it that she needed to let me know that the reason the books were overdue was because she had a hemorrhoid operation and she swore that she'd never, ever let this happen again. The fine was under a buck.

When I used to shelf read people knew better than to talk to me immediately afterwards, because I would always return looking either pissed off or sad. My friend brought that to my attention and I had no idea that it was so obvious. The reason for this was because I would always be deep in thought while shelf reading, both putting the books in order and thinking about the meaning of life. The best ideas I ever came up with usually resulted from shelf reading and killing the tedium of the task by coming up with various book ideas and philosophies. I hardly ever wrote these down.

I always thought that those famous calls to the library to find out what a song's title was or how the lyrics went to a song were all a bunch of crap until it actually happened on my second day of working at the information desk. The song? "Seasons in the Sun" by Terry Jacks. They asked for and got the sheet music from the original, "Le Moribond" by Jacques Brel, because this particular library was known for it's massive collection of sheet music. I have not received a similar call since.

Years ago I read a page of humorous observations about working in a library. I liked it enough that it stuck in my head, but due to my short attention span I only visited the page once. I found out last week that I work with the guy who does it, and he'll probably think I'm ripping him off with this post.