My cousin wrote me the other day and said some interesting stuff. I thought I would copy it here, since it is in keeping with the theme of this journal.

From laura_licious:
I was grinning as I read your blog about insane people. I had a bout with insane people the other day as I stood in the self-checkout line at Walmart. This line gives you the semblance of controlling one's own destiny and consequently comfort at the assurance that you will get through the line in a timely manner because "I am in control."

Unfortunately the hopes of determining my own self-desting at Walmart were dashed as I realized that the line for self-checkout was only as quick as the dumbest person in front of me. As I creeped to the front of the line, my hopes rose as I realized I would soon be able to quickly check out. As I began to swipe my items, I reached the unswipeable swipe. As I stood there frustrated ... swiping and re-swiping the same item ... I suddenly realized, "I was the dumb one at the front of the line slowing down all others in pursuit of hapiness."

Humility is humiliating.


Someone help me! I feel like I'm becoming the stereotypical angry government employee. You know the mean old lady down at the DMV? I'm turning into her, and now I understand why she is that way. It's dealing with all the idiotic members of the "public" that do the dumbest things over, and over, and over. Like the guy just now who put the original on the copy machine the wrong way and just got half a copy...even though there is a diagram on the top of the machine showing proper placement...then he got angry and demanded a refund...all of fifteen cents. We normally don't give refunds for operator erros, but I went ahead and refunded his measly fifteen cents...in pennies. I'm so passive aggressive.

I feel like creating categories of library patrons.

The first one that comes to mind is the Library Vulture. These are the people waiting outside the door when the library opens. They usually fall into one of two sub-categories: Newspaper Predator or Computer Predator. They practically run through the library to vie for first chance at the local news paper or best computer terminal. A few Library Vultures can be categorized in both subsets as they alternate between fighting for computer space and newspaper control. Regardless of their compulsion du jour, they invariably show up within the first minute and a half of opening time.


Today I met some interesting people not of the psycho variety. I talked to a man on the phone who worked as a detective on the famous Son of Sam serial murder case. I also met a lady past retirement age who was planning a trip to Africa. She has also recently visited Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica, and hopes to visit China sometime soon. She was cool.

The one crazy I dealt with today was this lady who needed to use the microform machine, but didn't know how. As I was walking her over to the cabinet where we keep the film, she kept talking loudly about how she never used a computer, etc.

When we found the roll she needed and sat down at the reader, she said (loudly) "WOW! It's just like on TV! I've never seen one of these. I feel like I'm in a movie!"


I really like my job a lot. I work in the media room of a public library. Mostly I help computer illiterate people sign on to their email accounts & get hit on by middle aged homeless men who smell like wet dog (or much much worse). Still, I work with great people and most of the time it's slow-paced enough, so I can't complain.

Aspects of it, however, are quite humbling. Today, one of the librarians wanted to train me on how to check in newspapers using the new serials control software being implemented. It struck me that at my previous job, I was the one who did the training. I figured out how to do far more complicated things on my own than check in a newspaper. My job here is so piddly compared to what I used to do. I was in charge of $200,000 yearly budget & did all the purchasing & receiving for an academic library, plus tons of other stuff like evaluating databases and library operation systems for purchase, blah blah blah. Now I show people how to copy and paste.

I don't particularly like feeling unimportant. I miss the responsibilities of my old job. At my seminary graduation, the speaker said something humorous but true. The gist of it was: "Today you graduates are on the top of the heap. Enjoy it while it lasts. Because tomorrow, when you go out looking for a job or start another degree program or whereever you go from here, you will be back on the bottom of the pile, working your way back up, regaining credibility, rebuilding respect, basically starting over. That's just how life works."

Yes, it is. Not too pleasant though.

At work again. Dang, there's this dude in here now who smells like wet dog. blech.


This old lady shuffled up to my desk with her walker. She said she had a computer question.

"I'm working on this word puzzle and it a gave me two words [long pause] fire yards? ...fire place? and I'm supposed to unscramble the letters to make two new words. Will the computer do that? I wasn't sure if Word would do that."

Sometimes I am astounded at the depth of people's ignorance. I don't know if they are afraid of computers or just dumb. Most things on the web are self-explanitory if you just bother to read them.

This guy just asked me to come over and help him. He was looking at a job website that required an account to access it. The boxes said "email address" and "password."

He was like, "what do I do? just type a word in the password box?"

I pointed to the line below the box that said "new users sign up here" and read it out loud.

He still didn't get it. "So I just type a word in the box?"

"No, you click the 'sign up here' and give them the information they want."

A few minutes later he called me back again. He was looking at the screen that asked for 1.) email address, 2.) password, and 3.) zip code.

He was still hung up on the password. "so I just pick any word and type it in the box?" He had already done this apparently and recieved and error message because he didn't fill in the other 2 fields.

"You have to put in your email address too."

"Oh I don't have one. What do I do?"

"I don't know what to tell you. Make up one, I guess."

Sheesh. No wonder you don't have a job. Read the frickin directions.


Working the reference desk at the library today we got a message on the phone. The call back number the lady left turned out to be the library's number. She also left her name, and we were able to find her number in our patron database & give her a call back.

My conversation with her went something like this:

me: Hi! this is Stephanie from the N*** Library returning your call.
Sonia: Hi I just heard on the Charlie Rose show about a number for world peace.
me: you would like for me to help you find a phone number?
S: It's for world peace. you know that guy is on at noon every day.
me: [thinking: never heard of the dude, but whatever] OK, I have his webpage pulled up. It says Brad Pitt was on the show today
S: who?
me: Brad Pitt
S: who?
S: who?
S: oh, I don't know who that is. But there was a number for world peace and I thought the library should know. She should know.
me: she who?
S: She should know. The library.
me: This is the library.
S: I mean, everybody wants world peace, right?
me: [FINALLY catching on that I was dealing with someone who was missing a few marbles] OK, thank you for calling. We'll look into it. Bye.


So anyway, since I last used this blog I have moved 2000 miles, changed jobs, and got married. I'm now expanding the subject to include stories about the crazies we encounter daily in the public library world. It's fun!

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