Our happy little burg is home to a number of homes for the reality challenged, many of whom use this egregious mold pit when they are not busy annoying the clerks down at the local Dunkin Donuts. You haven’t really lived until you’ve tried to figure out just what it is some of these people are asking for, assuming they know themselves. One Saturday I did get one who did know what he wanted; he wanted the postal clerk-carrier test book, which is a perennial favorite around here. As we went looking for on the shelves for the thing, he insisted, in a very loud voice, no less, on telling me that he also needed books about mature sexual relations because he had sex on the brain and he needed help because Jesus was coming in 25,000 years and there was no telling when he would get sex before then. After locating the book, I brought him and the book up to the front desk, where I hoped to finally ditch him and his inane driveling. Alas, it was not to be. The clerk and the page, both proud daughters of Puerto Rico, took one look at this guy and I could see the curtain fall. Both of them speak excellent English, but when Mr. Sex-on-Brains arrived their mouths opened and then closed, their faces reassembling themselves into the mien I still call the No Habla look; not only did they all of a sudden not speak English, no one they knew spoke it either. In fact, they had never heard English spoken in their entire lives and had no intention of learning at any time this particular dimwit was in the building. It is very disconcerting, to say the least, that your friends will not take a loony off your hands when you really need them to, but I’ll get even someday; I’m just not sure how.
In our library it was the patrons who pretended not to speak English. One particular group of Korean high school students lost their English-speaking ability whenever anyone asked them to pipe down. At other times, they spoke perfect valley girl.
This year I am missing the Summer reading brouhaha. Whew! When presented with the Summer Reading List, the students immediately looked for the shortest book on the list, which was always out. 1984, the Pearl, and the Old Man and the Sea were extremely popular with the scholastically challenged. Particularly on the day before Labor Day, when school was about to start.