Thursday, 28 April 2011

the one with the pubic library

Jennie Like Kat, my first job was babysitting, from the time I took a Red Cross Babysitting Course (yeah, that’s right) up until all of the kids I babysat got too old for sitting. But my first real job, the first job I got an actual paycheck minus taxes for, was at the public library.

I don’t remember interviewing, although I’m sure I did, and I was hired, along with several other high school students (and one woman in her twenties we called "Obegone" due to her love of Star Wars and her habit of cornering you with conversation forever and ever and ever) as a library aide. My responsibilities? Um, yeah, pretty much putting books away? And making sure the rest of the books were in order? But after a while, I was allowed to check out books for the patrons, which mean playing with the sonic-screwdrivery scanny pen thing. That’s the technical name, by the way.

I met some of my best friends at this job and, being 16-year-olds, we didn’t have the greatest work ethic. I mean, sure, we did what we were supposed to but there was a lot of downtime, especially if you worked during the day. And especially especially in the summer. We were supposed to do “shelf-reading” if we had downtime, which meant checking to see where the last person had stopped, and then going to that section of the library to make sure each shelf was in order. WHOOHOO. Actually, this wasn’t so bad if you were in the right section. Shelf-reading is how I ran across books called Be Your Own Dick and Mommy Laid an Egg.

Here are some things we/I did, however, instead of working:

1. Hid in the corner, “organizing” newspapers, but really just talking.

2. Raced shelving carts down the aisles.

3. Read books (duh, we were in a library)

4. Avoided a coworker I nicknamed Scary Larry because of his proclivity to talk to me like Forrest Gump, tell me I reminded him of The Virgin Mary, ask me if I liked snake handling, and ask if I liked to, and I quote, "do it like they do on the Discovery Channel"

It wasn’t all fun, I mean, it was still WORK. Once it rained so much that the roof started leaking and a soggy tile from the ceiling fell on my head. We had a patron that smelled like dirty feet, another who would wear only boxer shorts and a wife beater in the summer, a man who FREAKED OUT on me because the library’s copy of Fantasia was checked out, and one day, a sweet old man came to the counter and told me that someone had pooped on the bathroom floor.

Luckily it was the men’s room, so I didn’t have to deal with it, but that wasn’t the first poop incident the Dayton Library chain had ever dealt with. Before I worked there, someone had been going into another library branch, pooping in books he thought were inappropriate, and placing them carefully back on the shelves. It was on The Daily Show, back when Craig Kilborn hosted it, but I can’t find a clip, even though I’ve been Googling things like, “ohio poop in books” and “craig kilborn library poop,” for like half an hour.

Anyway, I left the job when I went to college but before I did, I took a souvenir:

The Public ibrary

I felt kind of bad afterward but at least I never pooped on the floor.


mysterygirl! said...

"Obegone" is a genius nickname.

I always wanted to play with one of those scanner wands, so you are my hero.

Be Your Own Dick, heh.

Happy birthday!!

Heather Anne Hogan said...

This post is full of gems. I think you have just enabled all of our bad behaviors for the rest of our lives, 'cause no matter what: "At least we didn't poop on the floor."


Julie G. said...

I hope you can keep up the not pooping on the floor thing for a long, long time.

Happy Birthday!

Jennie said...

mg! Those scanner things were so fun! The library I go to now has a self checkout but no scanny wand. :(

heather anne, yo, I think a lot of people overlook how important it is that we don't all poop on the floor all the time.

Julie, ME TOO. At least until I'm 80.

Thank you all for the b-day wishes!

Gretchen Alice said...

If I had a dollar for every time I told someone I wanted to be a librarian and they replied with a library defecation story, I'd be rich.

Also, IT IS YOUR BIRTHDAY! Hope it's a good one!

eclectic said...

I sometimes wonder why we didn't all become librarians on account of how many books those places have, but the poop thing sort of explains it for me.

HAPPIEST of all the Happy Birthdays, Miss Jennie!! If I knew where to get a scanny-wand-thingy, I would totally give you one.

kat said...

Dude, remember when someone pooped on the ladies room floor IN MY OFFICE? I smell your pain.


Ashley said...

People poop in Barnes & Noble all the time. People are disgusting. One time, whoever it was (a dude) smeared it all over the walls. I don't know what he was protesting, but I'm glad I didn't have to clean it up.