Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | February 7, 2009

Strange Disease


I suffer from a disease that afflicts more American men every year than all other diseases combined…foolish pride.

Today one of the major symptoms of this disease reared its ugly head.

What is this symptom you ask, dear Faithful Reader? Well let me tell you.

The aforementioned symptom is one that I’ve done a great job of staving off in the past, but today…oh today, I struggled something fierce. The symptom is the urge to get into a knock-down, drag-out bloody as-all-hell fist-fight.

See, this colossal douche-bag patron was hanging outside of the library in the lobby waiting for us to open. This wasn’t anything new. I’ve ranted. I’ve raved. I’ve screamed to the heavens about the absolute ridiculousness of waiting outside when the library has an opening time set in stone, but whatevs…it’s their time to waste, not mine.

So this guy pounds on the door like half an hour before we open and I tell him we’re not open until one’o’clock and I wander back downstairs to grab another cart of journals for binding. When I come back up it’s just before one and I call the campus police to let ‘em know we’re opening the library and then I go and open the door and this dude (we’ll call him “John Doe,” because that’s what the coroner was thisf’nclose to calling him before I restrained myself) rips right into me.

John Doe: “This is horrible customer service. What’s your name?!”
Homicidal Library Dude: “What?!”
John Doe: “Are you as deaf?!”
Homicidal Library Dude: “You need to calm down, you raging prick Sir.”
John Doe: “Listen, Boy. Don’t tell me what to do.”

It’s at this point that I’m trying to figure out if this is really happening. The library has been open for all of like 17 seconds and I’ve got some dude in here insulting me, calling me “boy” and seemingly trying to pick a fight.

I knew this type of library crazy existed and I’m sure many of my co-workers have dealt with them in the past…but this was my first “fight-picker,” so I figured I’d proceed with caution.

I took a deep breath—and a peak around to see if Ashton Kutcher was hanging out, waiting to tell me I’d been Punk’d…he’s never hiding. It’s always all too real.

Homicidal Library Dude: “Sir, you need to calm down.”
John Doe: “Did you not hear me, Boy, don’t tell me what to do.”
Homicidal Library Dude: “Okay, first. You need to stop calling me ‘Boy.’ My name is not ‘Boy.’ Second…what is your problem?!”
John Doe: “My problem?! What is my problem?!”
Homicidal Library Dude: “Yes…that is what I just asked you.”
John Doe: “My problem is that you made me wait. I was waiting in your lobby for over half an hour. That is horrible customer service.”
Homicidal Library Dude: “Sir, you had to wait because we don’t open until one.”
John Doe: “I’m not stupid. I heard you the first time you said that.”
Homicidal Library Dude: “Then what’s the problem?!”
John Doe: “Are you as dumb as you are deaf?!”

Okay…now I’m not gonna lie. At this point, I’m looking around to see if there are any witnesses. Forget Ashton Kutcher, I want to make sure no one can trace this asshole’s imminent disappearance back to me or the library.

For a brief second, I stop and wonder if the library is doing some sort of “mystery shopper” program with us library-folk to see who can handle these situations and who is a loose cannon and should be released when the impending layoffs come around. So I take a few more deep breaths and decide not to beat him to death with our brand-new copy of “Grid Applications System Design.”

Homicidal Library Dude: “Okay, Sir…you need to calm down and you really need to stop insulting me. The simple fact of the matter here is that we do not open until one’o’clock. Period.”
John Doe: “But you were here.”
Homicidal Library Dude: “Yes, yes I was. We need to come in prior to opening to turn on the lights and prepare the place for opening. Just like any other business.”

I assume at this point he’s calmed down and all is well with the world. He appears to be registering what I’ve just told him and he starts to walk towards the computers and I grab some journals and get ready to start binding and then he stops and turns around and opens up on me.

John Doe: “Are you implying that I don’t know how a business works?!”
Homicidal Library Dude: *deep, totally pissed/exasperated sigh * “What?!”
John Doe: “Don’t play dumb with me…you don’t think I know how a business works. I went to Harvard. I’m a Harvard graduate and I don’t need to sit here and listen to some snot-nosed MIT student tell me about business.”

I took a quick break here to think…’snot-nosed’…really?! What is this dude, pulling every trick out of the lame TV-show villain handbook?! Who says ‘snot-nosed?!’ Am I in an episode of “Scooby Doo?!”

Homicidal Library Dude:Dude whose remains won’t be found for years Sir…again…you need to calm down. I was not trying to tell you about business. I was telling you why I didn’t let you into the library when we WEREN’T OPEN…and I’m not an MIT-student, I’m just an employee of the library.”
John Doe: “Too stupid for MIT, huh….Boy?!”

Now…I’ve had a lot of ridiculous things happen to me here in the library. I know that weekends and holidays are a prime time for the crazies to wander in. I know that there are a hundred types of crazies. But at this point, I’m officially registering the fight-pickers as the worst…ever!

I don’t know if the dude wanted me to break his face (which I pondered) or if he simply wanted me to call the cops and have his psychotic ass hauled off campus (which I’d eventually threaten)…but whatever he was shooting for, I didn’t want to bite. I didn’t want to give him what he was looking for. The problem is that damned foolish pride I mentioned earlier.

See, I’m generally pretty laid back…but I have a serious problem with people talking down to me. Like a VERY serious problem. I can think of at least three different “boss-types” that I’ve had to resist an urge to pummel into a bloody little pile of flesh and bone for this in the past.

Anyway, so this prick was about as close as a person can possibly get to having me leap over the counter and go all Iowa ditch-fight on his ass when I decide that the last thing I need to do when layoffs are looming is get into a big ole street fight with some crazy dude. So I turned off my angry face…which when needed can be quite menacing…and put my “library dude” face back on.

John Doe: “What’s the matter, Boy…don’t know what to say?!”
Homicidal Library Dude: “No…no I know exactly what I’d like to say…however, I’m not going to. What I am going to do is politely ask you to leave now. So…Sir…would you please leave before I call the police and have you escorted from the premises.”

Now he saunters up close to the desk and does that thing that all dudes do when we think it’s time to throw down…he straightens up to looks taller, more impressive sorta like a peacock when they do the feather thing…except in lieu of feathers, we just stand up straight and pull back the shoulders. Problem is…the dude’s like 5’9”.

My Mama is like 5’9”.

I’m 6’3” all hunched over like a troll. So I go ahead and uncoil and stand up too…because this is male, pre-fight protocol.

John Doe: “You can’t call the cops on me. I’ll have your ass fired.”
Homicidal Library Dude: “Dude…have at it. Odds are pretty solid I’m gonna get laid off at some point anyway. So you can make all the little threats you want and throw down some more insults…that’s fine and dandy with me. Thing is, in about fifteen seconds I’m gonna call the cops.”

This led to about ten seconds of a fairly intense stare down on his part and me giving him my friendly library dude face. Which I am pretty sure pissed him off even more. When I got to the fifteen second mark in my head I grabbed the phone and started dialing. He then promptly scooted for the door and headed off down the stairs. I hung up the phone (mostly because reporting this stuff is more of a pain in the ass than it’s worth…especially when ‘technically’ nothing happened) and proceeded to go on with my binding until taking a half-hour blog break to let all ya’ll know about today’s adventures.

So as you can tell…a man’s foolish pride and the ensuing symptoms of this disease can be his own worst enemy. Luckily, with enough will-power…and the desire to stay employed…a man can successfully battle these symptoms.



  1. […] here’s the first scenario. Perhaps you’ve heard this one a time or two before: there were roughly a dozen people waiting in the lobby for the library to […]


  2. […] quick search of my archives reveals a whole big butt-load of situations wherein patrons yelled at me, called me a liar, bitched about […]


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