Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Library loonies

Our local public library was a haven for the radio-receiver-in their fillings community. Sometimes singly, sometimes in groups, they drifted in, sometimes listening quietly to the voices in their heads, sometimes arguing back. Sometimes they got cleaned up--the Salvation Army made them shower if they wanted to stay overnight. They got their clothes from various charities, which would explain the Million Mom March t-shirt on one of the fellows, who I dooubt was a participant in said march.

Then there were the complainers: the glass-half-full community. Notable among this crew were Marty and Martha Martin. The two were a match made in heaven; they had everything in common, including the sour pusses they habitually wore. They helpfully pointed out the deficiencies of our small-town library. Typical conversation:

Marty: You never have the right books.
Me: What books would you like?
Marty: I don't know, but there aren't them.

Another annoying patron was Jim. Jim had wanted to be a priest but hadn't made the cut, and was still miffed. Jim wanted to return videos to the bookdrop, which was against the rules. He actually took a survey of video stores in the surrounding community and reported back to me that they allowed people to return books in their bookdrops. He came to a board meeting and made his point forcefully.

Mr McArdle was a smiling, genial man who once cornered me to explain that the US had never dropped a bomb on Hiroshima. He also bought up all our used books. Since he lived in a small apartment, he had to rent a storage facility in Secaucus to hold the overflow.

Another fellow was doing research and hoped to prove definitively the existence of God. He has not published his findings yet, but I'm happy to say is still at work on the project.

Our local library is a handsome modern building but seems to have some vital element missing. Perhaps it is the problem patrons?

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