Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Sad Confession

So for all both of my fans, I have this saddening development...

Next semester, I, Tony Kris, will be embarking on my Thesis at UBC. As such, my free time will be severely diminished. In addition, pending an assistanceship, there is a very real possibility I might not be working for the Big City library system much longer.

In that vein, I believe F&LL will be going in a sabbatical for the Spring. If I manage to continue to work for the library, then of course I'll update as much as I can. But to be honest, I think all free time I might have will be spend researching or writing my behemoth of a paper.

(For the record, my topic is the Economic Rammifications of Rap Music. I have an interest in cultural History and the scholarship for that particular field is wide open. Call me nothing if not an oppurtunist.)

However, I can't NOT give you a wacky story, so here comes a quick one.

At the Middletown Branch, when a hairy farmer type comes in. He's wearing overalls without a shirt, and approaches the circ desk with several Wal-Mart bags overflowing with some sort of plant life. Along with Boner Leroy (the politican with the profane name) and white flight, the people of Middletown love their Wal-Mart.

Old McYeti: "Hey! YOU'RE new!"

Me: (Not wanting to go into the whole song and dance about different libraries everyday) "Something like that. Can I help you?"

OM: (Hoisting the bag so I can see) "Yeah, is Marian the Librarian (not her real name) in? I've got something for her."

Me: "I don't think so."

OM: "Well, don't that beat all? I've got 5 pounds here of Mustard Greens and I was wanting to give them to Miss Marian. (now yelling) HEY! WHO HERE WANTS SOME FREE MUSTARD GREENS!?"

Okay, I should fully describe the sequence of events that went on within a spilt second. I was convinced I was going to have to call the police to deal with a crazed bigfoot. However, just as I was about to go for the phone, another one of the librarians came out. Assuming she was going to give me moral support, I let her take point. But this was not meant to be.

Other Librarian Lady: "You got Mustard Greens?"

OM: "Yup. You want 'em"

OLL: (verbatium, I swear) "Hells yeah I want some mustard greens!!! I'm gonna shove these in the croc-pot with some bacon and have them for supper."

Neddless to say, hearing "Hells yeah" uttered by a rather prim individual was surprising enough, let alone taking Old McYeti's greens. Does anyone else accept food of plastic bagged origin at their work?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

You Honestly Need Lessons? (An Actual Phone Call to a Library)

At Paradise Plaza, where we get an interesting call.

Wannabe Pick-up Artist: "Do you have any books about how to be a womanizer?"

Response: "Please hold."

(Entire circulation staff dies of laughter for a solid two minutes)

Answer: "No. I'm sorry. We don't"

WPA: "Dang."

Monday, October 20, 2008

The World is a Much More Complicated Place than I Realized

At the Washington Branch. Woman comes up to the desk and returns a couple of DVDs and some books on the Ancient Greeks. (I SWEAR I am not making this up!!! On the grave of my unborn child)

Geographical Marvel Girl: "Umm...yeah...I got a problem with these books. They weren't good enough."

Me: "What seems to be the problem?"

GMG: (Holding up one of the offending volumes) "I needed books on Ancient Greece. This is Greek"

Me: (Not understanding the problem) "You need books on Ancient Greece?"

GMG: "And the people who lived there."

Me: "So Greeks."

GMG: (Getting angry and looking at me like I'm stupid) "Not Greeks. Greece! The teacher said this book wasn't good enough."

Me: (Thinking it's for a college assignment or something. Not like she'd ever make it far in college. The books are YA, so maybe the reading level was too basic) "So what type of school is this for?"

GMG: "Middle School. My son's teacher said he needed books on Greece. This about Greek."

Me: (Trying oh so desperately to understand) "Ma'am, Greeks lived in Greece. The name of the people who lived in Greece was Greek. It's like how Americans live in America."

GMG: (Her brain straining to comprehend) "Look at this title. It says Greek. I need books on Greece"

Finally, another librarian came in for the assist and helped her find more books. But this brings up some problematic points. Is my brother-in-law half-Greek, or half-Greece? How close in proximity are the two countries? Are Greece/Greek international relations heated?

Friday, October 3, 2008

They Do Both Share a Last Name

So I feel I should reveal a bit more about one of the system's continual, but not exactly problematic patrons.

His name is Mr. Butkis. Richard Butkis to be exact. He's a large fellow who used to terrorize offensive linemen back in the day, but has since retired to Big City and has mellowed out considerably. (Note: He's not Dick Butkis, but sure looks like him and has a stored past in football)

Mr. Butkis has a habit of showing up at various libraries throughout the system to check out CDs. I have no idea why he travels around town so much, except for the hypotheses that he's bored in retirement or has a part-time job which allows him to wander around Big City. Regardless, at any given library, on any given day, Mr. Butkis is apt to show up with a large pile of Jamiroquai and Velvet Revolver. He also has really weird and varied tastes, but always feels the need to explain to me his choices, as well as random trivia about the artists which may or may not be true.

Of course, my connection to Mr. Butkis goes a bit deeper than recongizable mobile patron. I suppose I should share some personal information. You see, not only did I teach Mr. Butkis' younger son for a while, but attended both middle and high school with his daughter, Richette. I was also in the same drama program with Richette for eons, and Mr. Butkis always showed up for preformances.

I also had a massive crush on Richette for a good 5 years.

Of course, it ended poorly. She didn't share my feelings, but I was smitted. I also never made a move because her dad was the size of a muscular refrigerator and could play me like an accordian.

But Mr. Butkis never knew of my unrequited emotions towards Richette, so he just considered me an acting chum who always got cast along side his daughter.

Anyway, I had dealt with Mr. Butkis several times before he asked me where he knew me from. He guessed a football camp, then another classmate, before finally realizing my identity as Tony Kris. He hadn't seen me in a good 5 years or so, and he looked much smaller (combination of him losing mass over the years and me growing to 6'3).

Anytime he comes in, he makes it a point for me to check him out, and feels the need to give me a lengthy update on Richette's recent doings. I seriously think he would destroy me if he ever found out I would have killed somebody for some of his daughter's old bathwater back in the day. (Hyperbole, but you get the idea)

So here's the last conversation we had, at the Longshore branch: (I could do a whole series on Mr. Butkis' exchanges)

Mr. Butkis: "Andy Kris! How goes it today?"

Me: "Not too bad sir. Yourself?"

Mr. Butkis: "Well, I'm feeling some Kanye, REO Speedwagon, and No Doubt today. Get a little bit of a Chi-town flow going down!" (I wasn't aware all of these artists were from Chicago. Also, Mr. Butkis is a white dude in his 60s)

Me: "Oh, is that so?"

Mr. Butkis: "Did you know that Kanye West's biological father is Cornel West? I just found that out."

Me: (Knowing this is pefectly bogus) "Wow"

Mr. Butkis: "It makes sense if you compare Kanye's first album and his dad's second book. Some of the passages overlap" (Stand back "Dark Side of the Moon" and "Wizard of Oz"! Kanye and Cornel have got you beat!)

Me: "I'll have to try it."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Things Which Cannot Be Unseen

Working at the Washington Branch, which I usually greatly enjoy. However, due to a massive staffing shortage, everyone working was not a regular. To add to the bizzareness, my supervisor (Ms. Bunny) was also working the desk that day. (Note: Ms. Bunny is aware of my blog.)

Anyway, about 15 minutes prior to closing my supervisor comes up to me and goes:

Ms. Bunny: "So, what's your tolerance to grossness?"

Me: "I'm not sure but I think it's about to be tested"

Ms. Bunny: "Come see"

Someone had returned a bag filled with books. And said books were COVERED in maggots.


Teeny, tiny, itty bitty writhing white grubs. Ms. Bunny and another supervisor spent a great deal of time cleaning and disinfecting the area. Did I mention there were maggots?

Sadly, my immediate exclamation after seeing this disgusting sight?

Me: "Oh man, this is SO getting blogged about!"

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Timberland and Magoo

This past Friday, I got the pleasure of serving at the Timberland branch. I've never really mentioned them before, mainly because I never go there. Timberland is an affluent area of Big City, and happens to be one of the system's busier branches. And boy did I learn that.

I worked Circ, and the books never stopped coming. Ever...

For hours at a stretch I was dumb-struck by the massive amounts of books coming through the drop box. I asked a page if it was always this busy. To which she replied:

Overworked Page: "Hmph! Just be glad it's the weekend and one of our slow days"

However, my time at the Timberland branch was not just spent underneath piles of books. I also had a very interesting patron come in.

It's about 15 minutes to closing and I'm working the Check-Out station. Things are slowing down, most of the patrons have already left (It is Friday night) and I just got the go ahead from the branch head to shut down the check out desk. Until this ole sourpuss comes up.

I'm not going to say she's one of our "special" patrons, I truly think she was just a mean looking woman with a nasty dispostion. She comes up to the desk, doesn't say a word to me, and slams down a humongous stack of pencils. I didn't even bother trying to talk to her for the sake of my soul.

Without acknowledging me, she reaches for the electric pencil sharpener and begins to sharpen pencils. She's got about 50.

So here's the situation: I'm held hostage by Magoo. (I think the title of my post gives it away, but I'm curious if anyone gets the reference) And the branch head is wondering about my lack of compliance to their direction.

Timberland Branch Head: "Tony! I thought I told you to shut it down. It's almost time to go"

Me: (Wary of Magoo) "Umm...I don't think now's a good time.

Thankfully, my harrowing ordeal was finally at an end once Magoo ran out of pencils.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Running Wild

At New Belfast.

Okay, Wha?? At the children's section where I have just found out most the library computers in the area have Quake 3 installed on them. And that's all the kids play, along with the Magic School Bus. Truly, the same kids who frag noobs in Quake 3 like to learn with Ms. Frizzle.

I'm so confused.

The Breakfast iClub

So I bought an iPhone yesterday. (It's amazing and everything I hoped for. The greatest phone ever is an understatement) However, in order to purchase the device, I had to wait in line. Forever.

Since Big City is a big city, we have an Apple Store. After trying in vain to go to AT&T, thinking the lines would be shorter, I made my way to Big City's famed Apple store. I supposed there wouldn't be much of a line, since I arrived at noon, but I was sadly mistaken. It stretched several stores long and curved in interesting directions. Still, we all thought as soon as we entered into the store, our purchase would be immediate. But we were all wrong.

But I think I'm getting ahead of myself. I need to detail my companions. Our Apple-centric Breakfast Club. You had:

-The law student, cramming for finals whilst in line, left line once to get a smoothie for her hypoglycemia
-The vet student, hoping to get his iPhone added to a family plan not in his name, never left line.
-The painter, Not really a painter, she was painting her house when she decided to get in line for the new iPhone. Already owned an older model and was showing us how awesome it was. Left line for bathroom and getting beverage. Had nifty tattoos. Was directly in front of me. Quite cute once she took off her sunglasses
-The devoted dad, periodically had his two kids both under the age of 3 with him while his wife shopped in the nearby mall. Left line the most to buy us beverages and its ilk, plus to take his kids to the bathroom. Ended up buying the painter's old iPhone for his wife.
-The Tony

Special Guest near the end
-Tony's Dad, who changed his account information and is a lover of all things Apple. Skipped most of the line to get by me. Maybe stood with us 20 minutes.

We started out young and naive, but once hour number 1 passed, we were all dedicated to getting an iPhone. For the course of 4 hours, in the blazing Big City sun, we laughed, cursed, and became a family. A family of people standing in a slow moving line. I totally felt like I was in a John Hughes movie.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

From Cute to Annoying in 4.3 Seconds

At Buffalo Branch, where a little girl of about 5 or 6 comes up to the circulation desk.

Me: "Hi, can I help you?"

One-Track Mind Girl: "Liberry Card!"

Me: (Assuming she wants a library card) "Okay, have you had one before?"

OTMG: "Liberry Card!"

Me: (Trying to figure out what she wants) "Are you wanting to check out books?"

OTMG: (She's not special needs or anything, she just wants to be difficult. Ergo, she loses any cuteness and becomes just another punk kid) "Liberry Card!"

Me: "You'll have to be more specific than just 'library card.'"

OTMG: "Liberry Card!"

I'll spare you the rest of this, but it ended up with her just yelling "Liberry Card!" at me for five minutes until her mother finally showed mercy and pulled her away from the desk.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Petey's Revenge

At the Buffalo Branch, where it's been a harrowing morning.

Quick funny note: a woman asked to help print out her resume. Among her credits, she listed her high typing speed and word accuracy. Except she misspelled accuracy. And she didn't believe me or Microsoft Word spell-check telling her she was mistaken.

But all was negated by the frightening reappearance of Petey Pedaphile, who somehow got a computer in the children's section. I tried to inform the regular Buffalo staff of his practices, but apparently they've never had to deal with him before. For one chilling hour, I watched him seek out his creepy pictures of fully dressed young girls in non-provocative poses.

However, another internet patron was also engaged in scary behavior on the other side of the library. Some person who I could not tell was a man or a woman, but equally unattractive either way, was printing out a ton of documents from a cruise hook-up site. That's right, they were trying to get their groove on at the library.

So I had creeps on both sides of the desk today. Like social misfits in stereo. Until Petey came up to the desk.

Petey: (Pointing to the gender-confused individual) "Man, that guy over there is giving me the willies. Doesn't he realize people can see what he's doing online?"

I was stunned. Dumb-founded. I wish I had a snappy comeback, but Petey floored me.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Giggity Giggity Goo!

At New Belfast, where my love of working for the library just got reaffirmed hardcore.

I'm not kidding, this guy came in not even 5 minutes ago. I'm working the circ desk and this very special individual approaches. He is wearing a loud Hawaiian shirt and has a very pronounced chin.

Erieely Framiliar Guy: (Loud and distinct voice) "Hey there! Can I get some headphones?!"

Me: (Looking at the computer screen, not really noticing his face) "Yeah, all I need to see is your library card"

EFG: "Alright!" (He bobs his head a bit)

I look up, and it's the human embodiment of Quagmire. I'm not joking. His real first name is Ben, but that rhymes with Glen, and that stands for Glen Quagmire.

Me: (Almost certain I'm on hidden camera for a new Fox reality show "Family Guy Characters Harrass You At Work"): "Here are your headphones, sir"

EFG: "Thanks mack! If you need me...(Points to the computers)...I'll be surfing the net! Woo-hoo!"

Now all I need is a talking dog to ask me for a martini and I'm set.

Monday, June 16, 2008

My Personal Way to Beat High Gas Prices

So this past memorial day I had the pleasure of sitting through governmental librarian in-service. Over 300 librarians, all crammed into a room together, suffering through some of the most interesting powerpoint, the breaucracy has to offer. And I know what you're thinking: "Wow, with so many librarians, who's going to feed the cats?" I kid! I kid!

Anyway, as part of the fleeting efforts to keep us vaugely interested, door prizes were given out. In particular, your very own Tony Kris won by far the best door prize.

It was a Razor Scooter. A very fancy one at that. Seeing how gas prices have topped $4 in Big City, I believed I had just found a fool proof way to get around. Sure it would take me hours to get from my house in Bruce Hill to any of the libraries, and cost me more money in Gatorade than I would ever spent on gas. Plus, I would be a stinky, sweaty mess once I reached my destination. But no matter, Tony Kris just got himself a Scooter.

During the lunch break, after finishing my plate of state-supplied gyros, I decided to give my new set of wheels a spin. It took me a little while, but soon enough I was speeding around the parking lot. However, in my excitement of learning how to ride and steer, I forgot the value of stopping. After reaching a swift pace, I promptly lost control of the scooter, and made a theatrical crash at the foot of my car.

I don't believe any saw me, and it's for the best, since my accident resulted in my pants being severely ripped. In the crotch area. And impossible to cover up. Needless to say, I quickly made my way home to make a quick change before any one was the wiser. (Of course, now I've written this online, everyone will know. Oh well, price you pay for blog posts)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My Own Private Brady Bunch

At Middletown, where one of the regular librarians made the seemingly innocent mistake of calling me "Thomas," to which I took great offense. I've been called by that name so many times in my life it's not even funny.

You see, my much older brother is named Thomas, and he's like the coolest dude on the planet. He's the better looking, more successful, and all around nice guy you can never live up to in your family's eyes. He's like the uber-rockstar of Christmas. He lives several states away, but his cool essence still bothers my life. Other than starting with the same letter, our names are noting alike, let alone our personalities. However, even people who don't know him or know of him always seem to call me Thomas. One of my favorite professors at College always called me "Thomas" like 800 times a class, even though I always put Tony on my tests and essays. Did I mention that my brother and I went to completely different colleges in different states?

Of course, I took the usage of a degrogitory name in stride. I just bared my teeth and politely informed her that my name was "Tony"

So yeah, I guess that makes me Jan Brady for the rest of the day.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Time Management Is Not My Thing

At Riverview, where I've already had a rough morning.

Ordinarily, pretty much all libraries in the Big City system are open from 9 to 6 on Fridays. However because of some concerts right next to the Riverview library, they've been opening at 8 in order to close at 5. This early closing allows the branch not to become overrun with intoxicated music lovers.

I've been scheduled to work for the past two Fridays, both of which started poorly. I woke up bright and early last Friday, thinking I had to be at Riverview for 8. However, as I pulled onto Riverview's street, I double-checked my schedule only to discover I was slated to work at the Washington Branch. Which, of course, opened at 9. Having nothing better to do, and with the price of gas being ridiculous, I went to the Washington Branch and listened to the radio whilst in the parking lot.

So this morning dawns, I triple-check my schedule, and I know for certain I'm supposed to be at Riverview for 8. I leave Casa Del Kris at 7:15, arriving in downtown Big City for 7:30. I actually find a decent parking space, and head for the Riverview entrance at 7:40. With a little bit of luck, I can set everything up and be ready to go for 8. (Since I travel around to all the branches, I don't have keys to any. I'm dependent on a regular staffer to open the door. One gets used to it pretty quick)

Here is a play-by-play of my time:

7:45-Check the door. It's locked. Peer inside to see if anyone is behind the desk.
7:46-Decide to chill outside.
7:47-Sit down on bench
7:48-Wonder if my car is going to get towed
7:49-Become slightly concerned about the lack of staff considering the library opens in ten minutes.
7:51-Wonder if Mark Hamill ever gets sick of being called Luke Skywalker
7:53-Attractive young lady passes me by on her way to the nearby coffee shop. Says a quick "hello"
7:55-Call the Riverview library to see if anyone is there. No answer
7:58-Wish I had brought a book or something
8:00-Zero hour. Still no one is at the branch. Patrons start lining up.
8:01-Patrons realize library isn't opening and the librarian is even more clueless than they are
8:02-Attractive young lady returns from coffee shop. She throws me a glance, but I'm too bizarred out from work to respond in kind.
8:04-State workers show up to fix the lighting. Door's still locked, they don't have a key.
8:05-Retry calling the library. No response.
8:08-Wish I had brought a DS or something.
8:10-Attractive young lady returns. Asks if I'm a librarian. I respond I sorta am. She's some sort of judicial aid at the court house next door. Her name is Kate. She is pleased to meet me. Kate wonders why she hasn't seen me before, since she oft goes to Riverview.
8:11-Kate gives me her number and asks if I want to go to lunch today. I refuse on principle, and that it's kind of weird.
8:12-Kate leaves a little dismayed, since she doesn't look she's gotten turned down before. This marks the fifth time I have been asked out in a work-type setting.
8:15-Fifteen minutes have passed. I call my boss. My boss is out today. I tell next in the chain of command the situation. She says she'll look into it and call me right back.
8:16-Wonder if Mark Hamill would have turned down Kate.
8:17-Call back from next in chain of command. Turns out the concert series ended last week. Riverview is back opening at 9. I feel like an idiot.

So yeah, for two weeks in a row, I've gotten up way early for absolutely no reason.

Friday, May 16, 2008

For The Record

So after about a month and a half, McGruff the Crime Dog finally got her package. It took several calls to His Majesty and visits to see the goat-man, but she finally got it. And she freaking loved it. So Tony Kris gets all sorts of bonus points.

Anyway, I've got her second package prepared. I suppose I should sent it sometime soon. Maybe this time the warlords will be easier to defy.

I've Been Tagged

So apparently I've been tagged. And I must comply. So here we go: Fact, Goal, Random.

1) Fact: I got my grades from my first semester at UBC. Pretty stinking good.
2) Goal: To send McGruff another package
3) Random: I was supposed to be twin girls. My parents had the names "Tanya" and "Tina" picked out and everything. However, whenever Momma Kris gave birth, only one male Tony came out.
4) Fact: I have three major fear: Lakes, Small segmented shapes (like beehives), and trailer parks.
5) Goal: Finish my summer project (I'm writing a book)
6) Random: I once gave a girl diamond earrings on the first date.
7) Fact: I have never gone into any sort of debt.
8) Goal: Get my Ph.D, teach some classes, write some books, never retire.
9) Random: Pretty much any exclamation yell out at random moments comes from a rap song. Key examples: "Collipark!" "Shazam!" and my personal favorite "The Most Beautifullest Thing in this World!!!" ('s just like that!!! I get in ya!) For real, I say the word "beauifullest" a ton.
10) Fact: I have found that working isn't all it's cracked up to be. Or "real life"
11) Goal: To read a big, long, dumb series this summer (I tried the "Wheel of Time" for a while, but got bored and quit)
12) Random: I think Keith Murray is the most underrated rapper ever. And Jazzie Pha is the most underrated producer.
13) Fact: I really like summer movies. Even if the film is terrible, I'll have a good time eating popcorn. In fact, that's usually what I enjoy the most.
14) Goal: To spend a summer in New Zealand
15) Random: I think that I will always be mystified by women; no matter how old I get, no matter how well I know them individually, they will never make sense to me.

I tag whoever might read this.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Wherein Tony Kris Feels Like A Jerk

At the Taylor Branch, working the circ desk. Guy comes in carrying his infant son.

Guy: "Yes, I'd like to pick up a hold."

Me: (Sensing that the guy looks framilar, but I chalk it up to the probablity of seeing him in Taylor once before) "Alright, what's the name it'll be under?"

Guy: "Target. First name is Easy"

Me: (Somewhat stunned) "Did you go to Big City Middle?"

Easy Target: (Very hesistant) "Yeah..."

Me: "I thought you looked framilar. Anthony Kris (I only started to go by "Tony" while in college). We had some classes together."

Easy Target: (A little scared, holding onto his son tighter) "...You're not normally here, are you?"

Me: "Nah, they just send me here occassionally. Wow, it's been over ten years! You been alright?"

Easy Target: (Not comfortable at all) "I've been well. Do you have the books?"

Me: (A little baffled, but I roll with it) "Lemme check." (Seeing that they're LSAT books and wanting to make conversation that's non-middle school related) "Ah, the LSAT. I took that. It's a pretty daunting test. Not really hard, just long."

Easy Target: (Wanting to get out) "Here's my card."

It's at this point that I realized a vital fact. I spent most of my middle school days bullying and mocking Easy Target. (Not beating him up and taking his lunch money, more like saying that he was dumb, poor, smelly, and an all around human wasteland) I couldn't count the number of times I made him cry. In fact, he transferred out of Big City Middle after 6th grade, presumably because the teasing. I mean, I wasn't the only one, but I certainly didn't obstain when Easy Target was around. Heck, even his name made him an easy target.

So seeing me in the library probably un-repressed a whole slew of bad memories. He'd gotten over his past, gotten a girl who liked him, heck, even had a child. But like something out of a bad dream, evil Anthony Kris is behind the desk at the library. I decide to tone it down.

Me: "Thanks." (Checks out his test prep materials) "Due in three weeks. Take care"

Easy Target: (Sort murmurs a half-parting and rushes out of the library)

Needless to say, I felt like a smuck for all my past behavior. I suppose I reaped what I sowed, even after I'd forgotten about the torment I caused Easy Target back in the day.

Oh well, such is life.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Maybe 4 People in the World Will Get This

You live life and you don't think that you make that much of a difference and then a little thing happens that validates everything.

Watching "Nightline" with my father, when a report comes on about the mortgage crisis and its effect on Baltimore.

(A note: Since I'm going to grad school in my hometown, I've found it perfectably respectable and logical to move back in with my parents after living away from home for college. No sense in paying for rent when I could live at home and save money. I'm not trying to impress anyone, so life at Casa Del Kris seems like a pretty sweet deal. I mean, I'm going to move out for my Ph. D, since it won't be at UBC, but paying rent when I could live for free just seems silly)

Dad: (All the sudden, out of nowhere) "Omar Comin'!"

Yes, I suppose if nothing else my viewing of "The Wire," arguably the greatest show ever on television, has resulted in my dad having an awesome go-to joke any time anything remotely related to Balitmore presents itself in the conversation.

I don't think I've stopped laughing.

Monday, April 28, 2008

An Even Sadder Realization

This weekend, I had a wonderful trip up to my old stomping grounds of College Town, which is located in another state than Big City. After randomly seeing a major rap star whilst filling up with gas, I made the voyage via car from Big City to College Town. (I'd name the rapper, but his name is synonymous with Big City, which would totally reveal any sense of remaining anonymous)

So I roll into College Town, a couple hours early. My frat's reunion was due to start until a couple of hours, and I wanted to check my email to see if McGruff had gotten her package (She hadn't as of yet, but that's not important). Of course, in the two years since I last lived in College Town, a lot has changed. I needed Wi-fi, but I had no idea where to get it. I couldn't go onto the college's campus and use theirs, since I no longer had a valid student ID. I also didn't know anyone living in the area, since everyone's spread out around the country post graduation. All the local coffee shops had closed and I wasn't about to go to Starbucks to pay for their crappy Verizon Wi-fi. But I really needed to check my email and whatnot. So I decided to take a drastic measure:

I purposely went to College Town's branch of the city library and used theirs.

As in, on my day off, during a trip that was meant to be fun, I purposefully went to a library, my place of employment, just to use the Wi-fi. And I actually talked shop with the College Town Librarian.

I swear, I had to go through 5 hours of intense fraternal bonding to get the awful taste out of my mouth. If past me ever gets a time machine and discovers what present me is up to, he'd probably kick my butt. Talking shop with a librarian. For shame, Tony Kris, for shame.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Government Customer Service on the Other Side

So I recently was on the other side of government agency customer service. I don't think I was that much of a problem patron, but if I get mentioned on some post office guy's blog about mailing horror stories, I won't be too surprised.

As mentioned before, I've got a very dear friend (the much alluded "McGruff the Crime Dog") who's currently doing a year as a missionary in Swaziland. Being the nice guy that I am, I decided to send her a care package via the United States Postal Service. Of course, since it's me, I'm not content to do a simple, reasonable care package. No, Tony Kris has to do it massive style. Whenever I was finished loading up the box with all sorts of niceities, it weighed in at 10 lbs. 13.2 oz.

So I walk into the post office with my enormous parcel in hand and go up to the next available counter. Behind the desk, there is an incredibly grizzled old man, waiting to inform me of how much shipping this bad boy was going to cost.

Of special note was this guy's beard, which can be only described as a "goat beard." Now there's a huge difference between a goatee and a goat beard. Goatees are what young hipsters have whenever they get sick of rocking the soul patch. Goatees are "cool," "hip," and "somewhat popular." However, this guy, who must have been working for the USPS ever since Ben Franklin established it, was the owner of a goat beard. It was long, scraggly, and intermixed with gray. To be honest, it wouldn't have surprised me if he was actually a satyr. I half-expected him to whip out some pan pipes and start dancing a jig with his cloven-hoof feet.

Anyway, I'm getting off topic. So I put my package down on the scale, and await Mr. Tumnus' instructions (Bonus points if anyone gets the reference without googling or wiking it)

Mr. Tumnus: "So, where are we shipping today?"

Me: "This right here is headed off to Swaziland."

Mr. Tumnus: "Okay, Switzerland" (Begins typing)

Me: "Not Switzerland. Swaziland"

Mr. Tumnus: (Looking confused) "Swaziland? Never heard of it"

Me: (Not wanting to get into the whole "Swaziland is indeed a country" debate once again) "Trust me, just look it up." (Starting to spell out Swaziland)

Mr. Tumnus: "Ah, you're right! Swaziland! It's right here!" (Begins typing some more) "And it looks like it's in Africa..." (Stares at me dumb-foundedly) "Good lord boy! In my 35 years of working at this post office, I've never had anybody send anything that large, that far!"

Me: (In disbelief that he's worked at the post office for only 35 years and expecting him to still whip out the pan pipes) "How much is it going to cost?" (Wanting to be done with this, since everyone in line is starting to realize that it's going to take a while for all my postage to be taken care of)

Mr. Tumnus: (Still wanting to talk about how far Swaziland is from Big City) "Gadzooks!" (He actually said 'Gadzooks') "This is going to probably cost a fortune! Who are you sending this to? Your girlfriend?"

Me: "No."

Mr. Tumnus: (Trying to justify my desire to send a huge package overseas) "Then it's got to be your wife or fiancee!"

Me: (Though I'm not opposed to the idea) "Nope. Just a care package for a friend. Lots of American stuff she can't get there." (Like Pop-Tarts, for example.)

Mr. Tumnus: "Well, you've got to declare everything for customs."

Me: (I quickly do so, wanting to be as speedy as possible) "Here you go."

Mr. Tumnus: "Holy Cow! Now, do you want to send this overnight express, priority, or ground?"

Me: (Not wanting to spend a fortune) "Nothing in there is perishable, so ground's okay."

Mr. Tumnus: (Typing away) "Well, it looks like ground's off the table. You're going to have to do priority at the lowest, because...

I SWEAR I AM NOT MAKING THIS REASON UP! I cannot make that clear enough

Mr. Tumnus: " looks like the warlords have gotten pretty bad."

(Okay, one would think that if warlords were a problem, the least technologically advanced shipping method would be preferable. You'd think that planes and trucks would be taken over at a high rate. But no, it's the slowest transport that's off the table. I'm assuming that the extra money has to spent on bribes. Like I paid for my package to be sent via plane, but it's actually going on donkey back with the extra money used to pay off warlords from getting their hands on McGruff's Pop-Tarts.)

Me: (Scared of the price) "Priority is fine"

Mr. Tumnus: (Really REALLY loudly) "HOLY JEEZ! It's going to be $80.42!

Me: (Actually quite pleased. Way WAY lower than I feared) "Wow. That's quite reasonable."

Mr. Tumnus: "I've never, ever had anyone spend that much on postage! Holy Cow!" (I was afraid he was going to have a heart attack. Either that or I'd have to offer him a tin can just to calm him down) "And her name is McGruff the Kris?" (He's trying to finish the form so I can get out of there)

Me: "No. My name is Tony Kris, her name is McGruff the Crime Dog.

Mr. Tumnus: (Totally serious, like not even winking at me or anything.) "Not for long it's not. Whenever she gets this, she'll want to be McGruff the Kris."

I felt incredibly awkward after that. I paid my money and quickly got out of there. Still no word if the package made it through the warlords yet.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Up Next, The Dagobah 500

Still in Middletown, where I saw this amazing sign during my lunch break:

A quick note, Middletown is like white flight personified. All they've got there is rednecks and political signs for "Boner Leroy," (which is not his real name. His actual name is much dirtier, no lie) My favorite pastime whenever I'm working in Middletown is to blast some Ghostface Killa with my windows rolled down. Just to frighten the residents a little bit, which could possibly result in their moving even further away from Big City.

Anyway, this was a sign in front of some local establishment in Middletown. Verbatim.


Ready for Talladega, We Are

I had no idea Yoda was such a fan of stock car races, let alone resided in Middletown.

Busted Again

At Middletown, where I have deja vu for all the wrong reasons.

Woman comes up to the desk (maybe five minutes ago) with a stack of audio books to check out. I take her card. It's warm...

Yup, you guessed it. Not even 2 seconds after I give it back to her, it's back next to her bosom.

Does anyone else have this problem?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tony Kris, Casanova to the Extreme

As mentioned before, I've had a few run-ins with single mothers who somehow found my occupation a desirous trait. But I've never had to directly turn them down, I just shrugged them off or my purposeful aloofness gave them the hint. (I'm really not interested in meeting someone that way. Work is work. Anywhere else is free game, but the internet and at work at the two places where I refuse to allow such pursuits) Until now.

Covering the Teen desk at Antietam. I was scheduled to work circ, but switched over to cover lunch shifts. It's early afternoon, so not many teens are in the area. However, a mom comes by and strikes up this conversation.

Dedicated Single Mom: "There you are. I was wondering when I'd see you again."

Me: "Excuse me?" (My immediate reaction was that she didn't see me behind the desk and wanted some assistance.)

DSM: "It's been a long time since you were here. I remember you."

Me: (Not wanting to go into the whole song and dance about how I'm only at certain branches at certain times) "Well, I don't get to come to Antietam as much as I might like, but I always like to come here."

DSM: "I'll bet." (Noticing my grad school book that I have to the side. It had to be finished for seminar the next day and I was pretty much absorbed in it during breaks and lunch) "What's that you got there?"

Me: "Nothing really. Something I've got to read for class." (Holding up the book for her to see) "It's about Elvis"

DSM: (With more than just a suggestive eyebrow raise) "Elvis the pelvis, eh? (Looking a little disappointed) "So you're at UBC?"

Me: "Yeah, getting the ole masters."

DSM: (I suppose hearing of my graduate degree and knowing that I wasn't a minor reperked her interest) "Watch out! Going to get the big bucks!"

Me: (Laughing because my degree's in history and there's no way I'll ever make any decent amount of money) "That's the plan. Anyway, can I help you with anything?"

DSM: "Actually, you can. My name is Dedicated Single Mom, but you can just call me Dedi. And you are?"

Me: "Tony Kris. But just Tony's fine" (Expecting to hear some sob story about how her child's book report is due tomorrow and she had no idea and if I could write a report/find the movie version of the book. I've hear it all and immune to most of it.)

DSM: "Tony...I like that makes you sound so charming. Anyway, Tony, I've seen you around the library before and I've noticed that you've got a great way with kids"

Me: (Knowing that she's buttering me up to do her kid's book report) "Thank you. I try"

DSM: "Believe me, you do more than just try!" (Nervous laughter on her part. I have no idea what's funny) "Anyway, I was wondering if you wanted to go get coffee or something sometime?"

Me: (Still waiting for her to lower the boom of doing research for her child. Stunned by her forwardness.) "What?"

DSM: "You seem like an awfully nice guy and that's what I need in my life right now. It just seems like a fun thing do, you know?" (Winks at me)

Me: (Baffled and going for aloofness to shy her away) "Umm...Wow..." (Truly at a loss for words)

DSM: "I know you had to have noticed me. You were such a sweetheart the last time I was in here, helping Jimbo get his Thomas the Tank Engine books."

Me: (Really struggling to remember this woman, or Jimbo, or Thomas the Tank Engine. I honestly do not remember seeing this woman before in my life, but apparently I was such a sweetheart that I warranted asking out. I mean, I'm never flirtatious or anything at work. Sure, I'm nice to the kids, but who isn't? Just because I help your kid find books, doesn't mean I'm coming on to you. Remember, I do sorta get paid for this) "Just doing my job ma'am."

DSM: "It's Dedi, not ma'am"

Me: "Well Dedi." (She giggles a bit) "I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to turn you down on your offer." (She looks a little stunned. I don't think she ever expected the libraryman to turn her down. I suppose she thought me as dateless and desperate as herself. I AM working in a library)

DSM: "Why..." (Quick look of dread as glances down on my hand) "You aren't married, are you?"

Me: "No, I'm not married." (Struggling to find a way to turn her down easily. I'm not too sure about the patron fratenizing policy, so claiming that might be a risk. I'm not about to go the 'I'm not interested in single mothers' route, though that's the truth. And claiming gayness seems like more trouble than it's worth. I decide to be somewhat honest) "I mean, it's flattering, but my life is so busy and stressful right now I don't think I'll have time." (A risk, since my life is actually loaded with time and about as non-stressful as you can get. I'm a full-time student with a part-time library job, how much more non-stress can you get?)

DSM: (Not understanding) "I understand" (Pulls a slip of paper from my desk and jots down something) "But here's my number. Anytime you want to talk or do something, I'll be there." (Quickly walks away before I can figure out a way not to keep her number)

I really hope she isn't expecting me to call. I don't want to be mean, but there's no way that I'd go on a date with someone I don't remember, who asked me out while I was at work. Sorry, but it don't come in that flavor

Are Those Bears Even Legal?

At Paradise Plaza. The entire library world has been liberated. Today is April 16th. While we had scores of patrons come in demanding free tax services prior to this lovely day, there is now a dramatic drop-off with inquiries. To celebrate this fact, the staff was kind of taking it easy. There was an ease and flow about today. Everyone was in a good mood, we were freer with stickers, lots of smiles. And then Stinky Homeless Dude comes in. (He reeks of like industrial cleaner and pixie sticks)((He also kind of sounded like Will Ferrel's impersonation of Harry Carry))

Stinky Homeless Dude: "Hey!"

Me: "Yes sir, can I help you?"

SHD: (Long pause) "I bet you're glad to be done with taxes!"

Me: "Most certainly" (chuckling a bit to see if he's going to laugh along. He doesn't)

SHD: "Well, you gotta do your taxes. I did mine last year."

Me: "So did I, but the government keeps wanting more" (Trying again to get a shared laugh going. Critical failure once again. You'd think I'd learn)

SHD: "Bulls@#$! If you ask me, they're nothing but a bunch of cheaters! Money-grubbing hucksters! They tried to audit me once!"

Me: "I bet that wasn't a good day."

SHD: (Finally laughing) "You bet it wasn't a good day! For them! I sicked my drop bear on that IRS agent! I don't think they ever missed him!"

Me: (Horrified beyond all measure)

SHD: "Anyway! Can I get on an internet!?"

I did not choose to argue with this man. So not only did he boast about killing a member of the IRS audit team, his method of execution was sicking a carnivorous koala on him. I can't respond to that. Score one for the crazies.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

It's Called a Bra. B-R-A

At the Redwell Waters branch, where I get this horrifying patron.

A woman comes in and asks if we can look in the lost and found. She had left her driver's licence and other personal information at the library and wished to see if we had found it. However, what was truly disturbing about this woman was her bosom, which was located underneath her waistline. No exaggeration, she was drooping hardcore. Furthermore, she was a hand-talker, gesturing wildly to punctuate her quirey.

So here's what the whole conversation was like on my end:

Droopy: (Waving hands to get my attention, which also results in her shirt moving in ways that aren't wholesome) "Do you see my licence!?!?"

Me: "Not yet"

Droopy: (Leaning over the desk in order to see my progress. Of course, her chest was totally on the counter. I was honestly fearful that she'd expose herself from the bottom of her shirt) "Are you sure it's not there?"

Me: (Trying my hardest not to wretch. This desire to be rid of her disturbing chest only spurs my efforts. I really want to find her information) "Wait, I think I see it"

Droopy: (She jumps back off the desk, making the most horrifying movement yet. Too much independence in the bosom area) "Oh! Thank you!"

I'm still disturbed by her attire. I mean, I know it's biological, but things weren't meant to droop that low

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Oh Those Sneaky Patrons

At the Taylor branch, back at work for the first time since going on funeral leave (Fraternity brother, guy I rushed with and lived next door to for all four years. Brain tumor. Cancer. Nasty stuff. He was 23). Trying my hardest to maintain decent patron relation skills in order to offset the ongoing sad thoughts. Luckily, the wackiness of patrons came through when I needed surreal humor the most. Woman walks up to the desk with a reference book.

Sly Lady Patron: "Yes, I want to get this book renewed"

Me: "I'll need to see your card" (Scan it into the computer) "Okay, it says here you have nothing checked out"

SLP: "No, I checked this book out 3 weeks ago. I just want to renew it"

Me: "I'm sorry, but your account doesn't have anything checked out." (I notice that it's a non-circulating item) "Also, those reference books don't check out. See the star on the binding"

SLP: (Now realizing that the jig is up) "Bye" (Darts out of the building)

As near as I can figure it out, she thought she could get around the whole "THIS ITEM DOES NOT CIRCULATE" stamp with her clever lies. I'd like to think that she planned this out for weeks, waiting for the exact moment to spring her genius on the unsuspecting library world. I guess all my years of education were for naught, since they never covered how to deal with such brilliance. I'm so thankful that I unexpectedly foiled her little plot, or else I'd be fleeced something good!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Embarrasing Misspeakings

At the Redwell Waters Branch, where a high schooler and her mother come up to the youth desk and asks the following question:

High School Seeker: "Do you have anything about Isaac Hayes?"

Me: (Looking it up on the computer) "It looks like all we got is 'Shaft.'" (HSS's mom buldge slightly) "I mean the movie "Shaft!" The movie!"

It Seriously Was the Most Fun Bachelor's Party Ever

Here comes the latest gem from Larry the Mouth-Breather, UBC's authority on inane babble!

In class, talking to a fellow student about a bachelor's party I attended over Spring Break for a fraternity brother.

Me: "Yeah, it was a fun party. Granted, it was the morning of the wedding, so there wasn't too much godless partying and booze hounding."

Other Sudent: (Who happens to work as a bartender at Hooter's, and thus probably more framiliar with bachelor's parties) " does one do a morning bachelor's party?"

Me: "Mainly fraternity traditions. We also had a very nice breakfast. Huge. The majority of the time was spent roasting the groom."

Larry: (Coming out of nowhere. Bum-rushing the desk) "What did you roast? Was it pigs in a blanket?!"

Me: "No...we roasted the groom, told questionable stories about him. That sort of thing."

Larry: (Not getting it) "Roast ham? Bacon?"

Other Student: (Annoyed by Harry) "So yeah, you roasted him, then what?"

Me: "A couple other fraternal things. Then we played a lot of "Smash Brothers"." ("Smash Brothers", the funnest game ever, had come out like a week before for the Wii. During college, many a long evening was spent Smashing amongst the crew. That and "Halo", but mainly "Smash Brothers")

Other Student: "Oh! I like that game!" (Never fails, chicks might hate "Halo", "Madden", and especially "World of Warcraft", but they love "Smash Brothers". And "Mario Kart") "How long did you play?"

Larry: "So what did you have? Eggs?"

Me: "Pancakes. And we played until like 2 hours before the wedding. (No lie. Luckily the groom was already in his tux)

By this time, the professor had come in, but Larry had to still talk

Larry: "Were they Pecan Pancakes?"

But yeah, Smash Brothers for the Wii. Better than alcohol, strippers, and gambling combined!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pages in Confusion

I had a hysterical run in with a page.

Basically, I was talking to one of the other librarians (who happens to be half native Nigerian) about a dear friend of mine who's doing like a year as a missionary in Africa. A page, who's like 16 and white, was listening in.

Other Librarian: "That's cool, where abouts in Africa is she?"

Me: "Mainly Swaziland"

Page: "OMG! Why did you say that?"

Me: (Confused) "What? Swaziland?"

Page: "That's racist! I can't believe you'd say something like that!"

Me: "What's racist about Swaziland?"

Page: "Can't you just say the country's name?"

Me: "Swaziland?"

Page: (Getting more angered and bewildered by my apparent racism) "That's not a country!"

Me: (Still not understanding his rage) "Well, okay, I know it's surrounded by South Africa, but it's still a country. It is small though"

Page: "Wait, it's really a country?"

Me: "'s called Swaziland."

Page: "I thought you were being racist. You know, making up a country based on Swahili."

Me: (Still confused and in a halting tone as to not offend) "No...I didn''s a real country...I'm
sure we've got books on it...I mean she does spend some time in Mozambique...they speak Swahili some there...but not in Swaziland...The Swazi people don't speak Swahili..."

Page: "Oh...I thought you made up Swaziland just cause you were talking to an actual African dude and wanted to be crude and racist"

Luckily there were laughs all around as soon as the mistake was realized.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Legit Compliant

Okay, is there something about being a male librarian that makes single moms want to flirt shamelessly? I suppose they assume that I have a job, education, and am available (I've got like 1 and half of those things). But seriously, this whole epidemic has got to stop.

For instance, today I signed up a woman and her two young daughters for library cards. It's not a hard process, but it takes a while to enter in all the information into the system. Anyway, I did my usual chatting with the kids, asking them what kind of books they were looking for, giving them stickers, etc. Basically trying to appease them as they waited for the Libraryman to finally give them their cards. It took me about 5 minutes to finish up the kids, who promptly ran into the children's room to find every "Clifford the Big Red Dog" book. Afterwards, I finished up the mom's card and she went after her children. About 3 minutes later she comes up to the desk.

Overly-friendly Single Mom: "Excuse me, where are the biographies for children?"

Me: (Slightly concerned): "Isn't there a children's librarian in there?" (It would be bad to have the children's room unsupervised. Hardcore liability)

O-fSM: "Oh there is. I just wanted to ask you (*wink*)"

Me: (Resisting urge to laugh, grimace, or shudder. To say I felt uncomfortable would be an understatement) "Oh...I think that the children's biographies would be in the back, past the 900s. There should be a sign."

Okay, I must reiterate that I might have said 2 words directed at her before she came back to the desk. I mainly talked to the kids that looked antsy and had a realistic shot of yelling. I did absolutely nothing provokative, this was all her. Luckily, I think she caught the hint of my bewildered disinterest and didn't do anything further.

But seriously, that was extremely awkward.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

It's Like Having 5 Different Phone Conversations at Once

At Redwell Waters, working reference, when I get this phone call.

Me: "Redwell Waters, reference desk, may I help you?"

Politically Motivated Man: "Uh...Yessir...what does the word 'accrued' mean?"

Me: "As in 'accrued' interest?"

PMM: "Yes...does that only apply at the state level or the national level?"

Me: (Baffled) "Wha?"

PMM: "Does interest that's 'accrued' go on the state or federal level?"

Me: (Trying to understand what he's saying) "Okay, are you asking for the definition of a word or for some tax help?"

PMM: "Both, ideally"

Me: (Looking up 'accrued' in dictionary for exact definition) "Accrued- verb. To accumulate over time. It's interest that you've gotten over time."

PMM: "Now can the governor get that?"

Me: (Really confused now) "Okay, what?"

PMM: "Someone told me that the governor can get your accrued interest. I don't want him getting that money so he can spend it on Scarlet Women" (I swear, he said "Scarlet Women")

Me: (Slowly beginning to realize the extent of craziness) "Oh, that wasn't the governor of our state, that was the governor of New York. He was the one who got in trouble."

PMM: (On the defensive) "But on the news they said he was part of a sting operation and they got other people in it."

Me: (Trying my best to reassure him, it's a losing battle though) "That was just in New York state, our governor wasn't involved." (Remember, Big City is in the South. Nowhere near New York)

PMM: "But what about that bill he passed? Can everyone get the money or just people with lawyers..."

Okay, I'm going to stop the transcript right here. Basically, for about 6 more minutes, he detailed his extensive conspriacy theory to me. From what I can piece together, he believed that somehow the government (but he wasn't sure if it was the state or local government) had placed taxes on the usage of the word "accrued." Furthermore, all the governors in the country were involved in a prositiution sting and were all going to resign. There was also some talk of Barack Obama, but I'm not sure how he got into the conversation. Mainly, he asked a lot of legal/tax questions and wanted my advice. Also, because I work for the government, I have the knowledge of a lawyer since and I quote "They teach you all that stuff during training. And don't lie to me and tell me that they don't cause I know that the NSA paid for the sandwiches"

Once again, I don't know where to start. I really wish that my 2 days of inservice equaled a law degree. It would have saved me all the money and hassle of taking the LSAT and applying to all those pesky law schools. (Long time Tony Kris fans would know that I seriously considered going to law school for a while, even going as far as paying a non-refundable deposit for my first year. However, I'm glad I saned up) However, if Mr. Segway on the phone here thinks I've got my J.D., then by gum, I'm going to give him free legal advice.

Maybe I should start signing my name "Tony Kris esq." again.

Friday, February 29, 2008

I Suppose I Have to Thank Gabe and Tycho for This One

At Antietam, when I have this uber cute exchange:

Two boys come in with their grandmother. The youngest, who's like 3 or 4, looks up at me (I'm quite tall, probably mind-blowingly so for a little kid) and this look of awe comes over him.

Little Kid: (Still awe-struck) "Are you a policeman?"

Grandma: (Kinda laughing at her grandchild) ", he's not a policeman"

Me: (Realizing my great, and probably only, chance to use a line out of "Penny Arcade" in real life) "That's right, I'm a Libraryman." (Note: it's pronounced mostly like "Librarian," just fudge on the last syllable.)

LK: (As if this explanation makes all the sense in the world, and even more spellbound) "OOOOooooohhhhhhh!"

Yeah, it was beyond precious. So it looks that my reading of that webcomic actually paid off.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Fond Memory of Taylor

So I've been at the Taylor branch a whole lot lately. It's been fairly quiet, but there's also the possiblity for some randomly wacky thing to happen at a moment's notice. That being said, I think now's a good time to relive a happening that occurred during my first visit to Taylor.

So it's my first day of working at Taylor. I'd been in the system a couple of months before being sent on my first shift out in the booines. I make the 35 minute drive and everything's okay. This kid of about 13 or so comes in with his momma, and I can tell right away they're uber countrified. But hey, the library is a government agency, we serve all types and nothing really shocks me anymore. So this kid asks me if we have newspapers, to which I respond that we do and point him in the area of the periodicals. I don't think anything of it.

He comes back a few minutes later and asks if we have the WWE magazine. Once again, not an unusual request, we get a lot of kids who like wrestling, so I tell him they're in the Teen area. He rushes over and finds the latest issue and all the sudden goes "DAGNABIT! Ma! It's from last month! Now how are we going to find out about Vince?" So the mom comes to the desk and asks me in an incredibly thick hick dialect,

Country Mom: "Souhisvincehere?"

Me: (Quite confused and unable to put seemingly obvious facts together) "Um...I don't think we have a Vince that works in the library."

Country Mom: "What? NAW! Man, do you have anything on Vince McMahon? He died the other night! His limo done blang blew up!" (Imaginative huge hand gestures)

Now I'm taken aback. I'm sure you've been keeping up with wrestling story lines and are well aware of what's going on, but I sure wasn't. I'm thinking it's another Owen Hart, Eddie Gurerro or something. (Also, at this time, Chris Benoit hadn't happened yet) So of course I inquired more. The son answered my questions

Country Son: "Yeah! They said that he might have even committed suicide. Suicide!"

Country Mom: (Chiming in) "That man owns a million dollar company. There's no reason for him to commit suicide, it just doesn't make sense. A million dollar company!"

So while I'm giving them a reservation for a computer to get on the internet, I check CNN and other news websites for info. Cause every other time a wrestler died, mention was made of it on the real news. Nothing. Then I overhear the mom tell her son kinda loudly.

Country Mom: "You gotta go to! The liberal media ain't gonna talk about this!"

I check the WWE webpage and it's pretty obvious that it's a storyline thing since if he had really died, there's no way that they'd be showing the explosion on the front page. But man, they are entranced by it. They watch some video of the "Vice President of WWE" say that RAW or whatever will continue on in spite of his death and they are almost on the verge of tears. After about half an hour, I guess they saw all that the website had to offer and they began to leave.

I asked if they found out anything and they started going on about "Somebody might know who did it" and "Million Dollar Company." I resist the urge to tell them that it's almost certainly fake and let them leave the library, talking loudly about what's gonna happen to the company.

So yeah, I guess there are still true believers out there.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Again With the Shellfish

Personally embarrassing story but hey, that's why I'm anonymous.

Working at Redwell Waters when a patron comes to check out. She's got about 3 cookbooks and must have been staring at a screen too long because all of the titles came up "Low-Crab cooking" and "preparing a no-crab diet." I had never heard of such a thing. (One would think that not putting crabs would not require the usage of a cookbook. I mean, is it that hard to keep crabs away?) So of course, I had this very embarrasing exchange in an attempt to find out about this new cooking method:

Me: "So, is this for Lent or something?"

Crab Lady: "Excuse me?"

Me: "All this no-crab stuff. I've never heard of such. Is it new?"

CL: (Realizing my mistake WAY before me) "Oh sweetie, you must have had a long day." (She shows me the cover, which reads, of course "Low-CARB cooking)

I feel like a doofus for the rest of the day along with my coworkers continually ribbing me about my mistake.

This has been compounded by a sign I saw while working in Taylor. It read, and I kid you not: "Not Serving Hot, Delicious Crawfish." That's right, a gas station went out of their way to inform the drivers of Taylor that they didn't have any hot, delicious crawfish. I suppose that if one desired cold, medicore crawfish, they'd have you covered.

So apparently I've got shellfish on my mind

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Is 20 Years The "Shellfish" Anniversary?

At the Taylor branch. As previously mentioned, Taylor is quite rural and nature, and fairly stereotypically "redneck." Normally, I don't let such preconceived notions affect my perception of the patronage of Taylor, but today I found out that such persons are alive and well.

A big ole country boy came by the desk and proudly had this discourse with me

Big Country Husband: "HEY! How you doing today, son?"

Me: "I'm doing pretty well, yourself?"

BCH: "Aww, can't complain, can't complain. Today's my wedding anniversary!"

Me: "Well, congratulations!"

BCH: "Yeeeaaaap. Been married to the same girl for 20 years."

Me: "That's an accomplishment in this day and age."

BCH: "HOOO Buddy! You know it!"

Me: "So are you doing anything to mark the occasion?"

BCH: "Welp, I'm taking the little lady over to Lavatown tonight (Lavatown is a podunkier town than Taylor about an hour away) to the Red Lobster. It's Lobsterfest, don't cha know."

Me: (Straining not to laugh. Big City is well known for great dining, I'm surprised that someone would make the trek to Lavatown just to go to Red Lobster. I mean, I'm sure the cheddar biscuits are great, but Big City has much better seafood) "I was not aware that it was already Lobsterfest."

BCH: "Oh yeah it is. Can you believe the closest place to get lobster is all the way in Lavatown? You'd think something as big as Big City would have some lobster." (He then departs before I can formulate a response to the accusation that Big City is lobsterless and furthermore, that Red Lobster is the bastion of great lobster dining.)

Even stranger, the dude didn't drop off any books or use the library resources in any matter. I honestly think he came in to inform the world of his anniversary and his plans to take his woman out to Red Lobster. He was in the library for maybe 30 seconds.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tax Time!

It is just me or has a crazy rumor sprung around the populace that the library would do your taxes for free?

I've gotten calls and walk-ups handing me some W2s, claiming that they heard the library does taxes. Even more surprising, it's almost a defiant disappointment when they find out that not only do we not do taxes for free, we've never done it, ever. I've had people argue with me that not only the library said it'd do taxes, but they've gotten their taxes done by the librarians before. Seriously, if I was able to prep taxes, why do I relgiously have mine done by my CPA? Plus, if the library really did do taxes, why do places like H&R Block exist?

I would write a particular instance, but it's happened so much, no one time sticks out.

Is anyone else out there in library land that has had to deal with this epidemic?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Return of Sticky Stinky

At New Belfast, where I got an unexpected and horrifiying surprise.

Like I mentioned before, I'm now going to school full-time. Thankfully, the Big City Library system has been awesome in working around my class hours. However, in exchange for such flexiblity, I have to work some strange hours and shifts. Case in point, I'm here at New Belfast working 4 to 8. Anyway, just as I walk in, the busy sheep hits the fan. The place is super busy, with several families getting library cards for their children.

I don't mind giving young children library cards, heck it's one of the real pleasures of the job, but the task can take a little while. And it's not very fun when you have a back log of 6 applications to fill out for a gaggle of kids who understandably are getting antsy staying by the circulation desk when Clifford and Junie B. Jones are beckoning them in the children's room.

After using my "jack-rabbit on a date" skills, I finally get my head above water and go help a father who has patently been waiting to get some assistance. It turns out his kid wants to get on the computer. As I start getting the child squared away on the computer, I hear a voice calling for me.

I turn around, and there he is. Stinky Sticky.

He pulls a lollypop out of his mouth and that old aroma fills my nostrils. I don't really understand a word he's saying, due to the fact that I'm keeping myself from retching, but I'd be willing to bet good money that he wants an extension on his computer reservation.

The best way I could compare this sense of impending doom with Sticky Stinky's appearance is like the return of Omar on "The Wire." Every season, you know Omar's going to show up, and bad stuff is going to happen. However, instead of whistling "Famer and the Dell," Sticky Stinky's gonna have his ever-present lollypop and horrific stench.

Needless to say, I gave him extra time on his computer.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Larry the Mouth-Breather

Like I mentioned before, from now on I will occasional recant tales of UBC and the wacky students there. Already I have found a worthy successor to even the most bizzare library patron. That man is Larry. Larry the mouth-breather.

Larry is presumably a senior at UBC who is more than likely majoring in History, judging by his enrollment in a upper level class. He also has the functional IQ of roasted celery. In addition, he lacks the ability to maintain an internal monologue. Basically, at even given point during a lecture, Larry will raise his hand or just blurt out the most random and inane thing he can think of. I think the best way to show Larry is through actual things he's said in class:

"HIS FIRST NAME WAS WOODROW!" (Deadly serious after I made a joke after class that Eugene Debs won the election of 1912)

"What did they consider Asian?" (An actual question about the US' immigration limits on Asians. The prof's ((who is Asian himself)) more than a little snarky response?: "Generally people from Asia were considered Asian")

"Wait, so the Lusitania didn't hit an iceberg? The movie lied?!" (Said in class. I wish I could say I was making this up, but sadly, I'm not)

He'd fit right in with Major League Baseball and Petey.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Massive Loss of Cool Points

So I start classes at UBC Tuesday, which means that I spent most of today running around UBC's spacious campus, trying to get all my fees and forms squared away before the big day tomorrow. UBC, being an incredibly large school, covers and dominates most of downtown Big City. Plus, with the Rhinos winning the Kiwi bowl, the entire campus and town has gone crazy, sporting Rhino horns everywhere (This is probably the biggest hint I'll ever give to as the to location of Big City). So admist a sea of Rhino fanhood, I have to register for classes and pay some money.

(I also take my Campus ID picture. Big stupid smile and two thumbs up. That's the only way to take a picture)

Anyway, I spent several hours in various lines until I was finally set and ready for one last chore, buy books for class. Against my better judgment, I decide to go to the campus bookstore, deciding that the extra money I'll have to pay is worth it since they'll probably have all the books I need due to it being the offical campus bookstore. However, unknown to me was the fact that History Graduate Seminars require a whole freaking ton of books. Mostly paperbacks, but still.

So I've got about 35-40 books in my arms when the following exchange goes down.

Girl: "Tony? Tony Kris? Is that you?"

Me: (Recongizing her as someone I know through a mutual friend) "Yup, that's me. How's it going?"

Girl: "I didn't know you were going to UBC!"

Me: (Deciding to put my books down in order to converse with her more politely) "Just got in. I start Tuesday." (I don't know her all that well, but well enough to warrant further conversation)

Girl: "So I didn't know you and "McGruff the Crime Dog" (Mutual friend's name) were friends. How did you meet?"

Me: (Putting my hand down on the shelf ladened with my books, as I begin to tell the tale of my meeting McGruff) "Well..."

All the sudden, the shelf collapses, making a horrendous racket and causing me to shout:

Me: "OHMIGAWD! What the heck was that!?!?!"

I am now surronded by a plethera of history books. By this time, a swarm of bookstore workers have rushed onto the scene. I'm just hoping I don't have to pay for any damages.

Girl: (Semi-oblivous to what's going on) " did ya'll meet?"

I so I tell her the story, all the while having bookstore empolyees clean up my mess. I try my best to not seem like a total dork getting my books picked up for me, but I think that might not be possible. A massive failure on my part to keep my cool points intact. I believe I'll be starting the school year at -3000.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A New Evoultion in the Blog

I've just gotten accepted into Grad School for history at UBC. As one might expect, I'm insanely excited to get back to school work and boring history papers. However, this does not mean I will be leaving the blogosphere. Nah, it would break my heart too much to leave my "fun patrons." With a bit of luck, I'll be able to go to grad school and work for the Big City Library System at the same time. So instead of just stories of random library people, you'll be getting some tales of the random students at UBC (GO RHINOS!)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A New Land Speed Record

At the Buffalo Branch, where my speed in checking out an elderly patron causes him to exclaim:

Countrified Patron- "Good Lord boy! You're quicker than a jack-rabbit on a date!"

I didn't know Lagomorphs were so promiscuious.