Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | March 7, 2009

A Letter to a Patron


Dear Microfilm Guy…

I realize that you probably came into the library today with no intentions of being a raging asshole.

I realize that you probably came into the library today with absolutely no idea that someone would want you dead within three minutes of your arrival.

I realize that you probably came into the library today with no idea that you’d be blogged about and referred to as a raging asshole.

But you see, here’s the thing…you rampant ass-clown…you should have realized that you were being a huge douche-bag.

You see, I’m a nice guy. I put up with a whole lot of bullshit at this-here circulation desk, but even I have my breaking point, Dude. When I start getting all mouthy, that’s a sign you’ve probably pissed me off.

I mean think about it. Imagine how many annoying, psychotic, smelly, socially awkward, rude, belligerent, coked-out and/or downright douchey people I’ve had to deal with in a job like this.

Yet, somehow you thought it’d be a good idea to come in and piss me off within the first four minutes after I’d opened the doors?!

Let’s retrace your steps of Heinous Douche-Baggery, shall we?!

First you wander in, immediately breaking Ryan Gray’s well-established four bag rule.

Ryan Gray’s Four Bag Rule
One bag
is the cat’s pajamas and the norm for sane folks.
Two bags is also fine, we assume it’s a school bag and a gym bag.
Three bags is pushing it…but we’ll let it slide: school bag, gym bag and a lunch bag or something?!
Four bags. You’re crazy. Period. No one needs to bring four bags into a library unless they’re batshit crazy. No arguments. No rationale of any-kind. You are crazy.

Anyway, after breaking the four bag rule, you immediately start telling me about how the microfilm reader in the Hayden Library isn’t good enough. No “hello” or “hi” or anything.

You just start bitching to me about the equipment in another library.

The best part is that your little rant goes on for nearly ten minutes…like you think I can either go back in time to change things for the better or like you’re expecting some sort of reparations for the time you wasted using the equipment in another library.

You then start rambling off a plethora—yes, a veritable plethora—of information about the lenses on microfilm readers you’ve encountered in your travels. You are listing off all-kinds of lens buzz-words and mentioning the specs from some machine you used in a different library.

Then you just stop and stare at me.

You’ve asked me no questions. You’ve asked me for nothing actually. You’ve just been talking and talking about how much you think the equipment on the other side of campus sucks and how much better the equipment is at some other school in some other state.

As such, I reply by offering you one of my patented blank stares.

You then start asking me all about our microfilm reader. You want the same type of specs and information you’ve just thrown at me, but about our equipment. Here’s the thing, I know only a few select things about our microfilm reader:

– I know that it is outdated technology and you should get with the 21st century.
– I know that you can choose to print or scan from it.
– I know how to run it.
– That’s it.

Contrary to popular belief there is no exam requiring employees to know all facets of all the machinery and technology in the libraries. Much in the same way we do not automatically know where every single book, journal or DVD is at all-times…this is an unrelated, yet very common misconception.

Anyway, after I inform you that I don’t know what model of lens it has or where the lens was manufactured, you got all pissy with me. You asked who would know and I gave an honest reply, “I don’t know.”

The libraries do not—to my knowledge—employ anyone with a job title of “Knower of Pointless, Random Trivia Regarding Library Equipment.” Hell, even if we did, he/she would probably have Saturdays off anyway!!

You then went into yet another rant about what a waste it is to have someone at the desk who doesn’t know the equipment. I gave you a very unnecessary apology and you demanded to know the name and number of the director of the libraries. And then you asked for my name, saying you wanted to let him/her know that I wasn’t fit to work at a public service desk—and this was my favorite part—without “a grown-up” present to help people.

This is when I became a bit snarky with you.

I then told—not suggested, requested, recommended, implied…no, no…TOLD—your crazy-ass to go look at the equipment and see if it would work before you started calling anyone to bitch about me.

Ten minutes later you came back with your tail between your legs telling me that it was—in fact—the exact equipment you wanted.

You wandered off for a little bit before returning with a new complaint. The microfilm was on the spool backwards and you wanted to know what I was going to do about it…an exchange that went as follows:

Microfilm Guy: “This film is on backwards.”
Awesome Library Guy: “Okay?!”
Microfilm Guy: “I don’t read backwards.”
Awesome Library Guy: “Yeah, me neither.”
Microfilm Guy: “What are you going to do about it?”
Awesome Library Guy: “Nothing.”
Microfilm Guy: “That’s horrible service.”
Awesome Library Guy: “Yeah, that microfilm isn’t even from here, Dude.”
Microfilm Guy: “How do you know that?”
Awesome Library Guy: “It’s in a box that says ‘University of Virgina.’”
Microfilm Guy: “Oh, well I guess it does.”
Awesome Library Guy: “Yeah…”

You then disappeared for awhile before asking more questions about how to log onto the computer, how to flip the scanned images over so you could read them and how to save things with a USB drive, which unfortunately required me explaining to you what a USB port was.


I mean, f’n really…

Who the hell owns a USB Drive but doesn’t even know what a USB port is?! Where were you going to plug it in?! Were you just going to hold it up against the monitor and hope it sucked up the information?

I think I hate you.

You’ve yet to unearth yourself since that exchange, for which I’m eternally grateful. Although I know you will and you’ll probably have something to rant about as we’re trying to usher your ass out of here 15 minutes after we were supposed to be closed.

So I just wanted to write you this little letter so that you would know how much you suck.

…because you suck a lot.


Jeremiah Graves
Barker Engineering Library

PS: From this day forward—at the suggestion of Ms. Margaret Willison—I’m going to be hanging ‘Out of Order’ signs on all of our equipment on Saturdays to avoid this problem.



  1. Dude. Don’t NAME CHECK ME when discussing suggestions that could cost us both our jobs! I already lost one– what if they take away the other one now????

    To library higher ups who read this blog: the suggestion was a test! I was just trying to test Comrade Graves’s dedication to our glorious cause!! He clearly fell short– 5 years in the Siberian Coal Mines for you!!


  2. […] Just as I posted this, Microfilm Guy—one of the most annoying and needy patrons of all-time—just sauntered in, no longer sporting […]


  3. […] lady came in roughly thirty seconds after I’d just spent like fifteen minutes listening to an old nemesis of mine go through a slightly updated version of the same song and dance he’s been performing for […]


  4. […] fit the usual library crazy description: wild hair, big jacket, and way too many bags. I’ve hit on it before, but crazies ALWAYS have too many […]


  5. […] told countless tales from the battlefields. I’ve written some open letters. I’ve compared them to zombies. I’ve threatened their lives. I’ve included some of my […]


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