Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | March 18, 2009

To Fry or Not to Fry?!

phone-electrocutionYou ever wish you could electrocute someone through the phone?!

Now, don’t get me wrong here. I’m not talking about zapping people to a crisp just because you can.

No…I’m only talking about using this intriguing new phone feature when it is absolutely warranted.

For instance, I had a big ole urge to fry some guy up Colonel Sanders style this evening.

The first offense was that his call interrupted a beautiful moment between me and a bag of Lays Jalapeno Kettle Cooked chips.

That offense, I was willing to forgive…the conversation that followed, however, had me wanting to press the phone’s “Extra Crispy” button.

Cap’n Charisma: “Barker Engineering Library…”
Extra Crispy: “I want a book.”
Cap’n Charisma: *cue fake laughter* “Well you’ve called the right place.”
Extra Crispy: “So you have my book?”


This is where I realize this guy is going to score a big zero in the sense of humor department, so I dive right in with good ole library helpfulness to get to the root of the problem…

Cap’n Charisma: “I don’t know. What book do you want?”
Extra Crispy: “One I rented before.”
Cap’n Charisma: “Right, but do you know the title of the book you checked out before?”
Extra Crispy: “No, I rent lots of books.”
Cap’n Charisma: “Okay so you check out a lot of books…but you don’t know the title of this one?!”
Extra Crispy: “No, that’s your job. You’re the library.”

I’m not gonna lie, one of my biggest pet peeves in the entire freakin’ world is when people decide they want to educate me on what “my job” entails.

In my many moons as a library dude, patrons have been more than willing to inform me of many different tasks that are “my job” despite the fact that they don’t appear anywhere in my job description.

According to some lovely patrons from my past it is my job to do the following: remove post-it notes from books they’ve returned, clean-up after patrons who leave wrappers and bottles in the study spaces, fix books they’ve destroyed so that they don’t have to pay replacement fees, fix the computers, fix the internet, fix the printer, clean the keyboard for them—because the “k” is sticky and let’s be honest the list could go on-and-on-and-on.

Can I get an hallelujah from the library folks in the congregation?!

Cap’n Charisma: “Actually that’s not our job.”
Extra Crispy: “Yes it is. You’re the library.”
Cap’n Charisma: “No Sir, it is not. In fact, because of the Patriot Act we don’t keep any circulation records.”
Extra Crispy: “That’s stupid.”
Cap’n Charisma: “Okay…”
Extra Crispy: “I’m not American. Does that still apply to me?”


Extra Crispy: “This is so dumb.”
Cap’n Charisma: “That’s great…there’s not a whole lot I can do about changing that rule.”
Extra Crispy: “Well who do I have to talk to?”
Cap’n Charisma: “Off the top of my head…I’d say you would have to start with the American Library Association and the Association of Research Libraries.”
Extra Crispy: “Oh…”
Cap’n Charisma: “Yeah, it’d probably be a bit more daunting than…I don’t know…remembering what books you check out.”
Extra Crispy: “I shouldn’t have to remember what books I check out. What am I paying you for?”
Cap’n Charisma: “Um, first and foremost…I don’t think that you are paying me for anything.
Extra Crispy: “But I purchase my library card.”
Cap’n Charisma: “Yes and the MIT Libraries appreciate your patronage.”
Extra Crispy: “So I do pay your salary!!”
Cap’n Charisma: “Sir, I don’t want to sound insulting, but I don’t think that the $500 you paid for a Privilege Card is what’s keeping a roof over my head.”
Extra Crispy: “Oh…well…um…”

This is the point where I started to feel like perhaps I’d been just a little too hard on this guy. Sure he is kind of a mouthy prick who thinks it is some sort of tragic injustice that he should be forced to remember which books he checks out…but he’s still a library patron…granted, one who has just been put in his f’n place!! *BOOYAH*

Cap’n Charisma: “Right…back to the problem. Since you don’t remember the title…do you remember anything about the book? The author, perhaps?”
Extra Crispy: “You’re still helping me?”
Cap’n Charisma: “Yes Sir, that’s my job.”
Extra Crispy: “Well I don’t know the title or the author, but I can tell you what color it was.”

At this point I immediately had flashbacks to the young woman I’ve previously blogged about who came into the library with a very similar situation.

As such, I realized this situation was completely hopeless and rather than get into the long—and sadly quite necessary—lecture about how our books are in no way categorized by color, I chose to simply tell him that was no good and he should come in some other time to find the book.

I also politely recommended that he keep track of the books he checks out for future reference.

In the end, I got to play the role of friendly library dude, despite also playing the role of major douche somewhere in the middle.

But would I have electrocuted this dude? Maybe, needless to say I’d have had an itchy trigger finger.

I guess I will settle for the next-best-thing to electrocuting him over the phone…I’ll blog about him for the entire world (read: my small batch of Faithful Readers) to see so that they may join me in scoffing about his incessant douche-baggery. Sweet, sweet revenge.



  1. Maybe if we organized the books by color instead of call number, all our lives would be easier. Id’ spend less time making futile attempts to explain the Library of Congress to people who pay no attention, because all they really want is me to fetch their books for them, and when someone came in asking for a book knowing only that it had a blue cover we could just say:

    “Ah, of course. That’s in our blue books section. It’s upstairs, and to your left. The books are organized by hue, dark to light.”


  2. My personal favorite ‘if I find this book I should beat you senseless with it’ request was the guy needing “the white book I checked out a while ago, with words on the front and no pictures on the pages.”

    Fry away!


    • Gotta love it!!

      If only the citizens of the non-library world could understand what we go through!!


  3. I have to tell you I love reading your blog. I work as an Exec Admin Assist for a large corp and I have fantasies about what I’d like to do vs. what I’m allowed to do.

    Keep up the great work.


    • Thank you!!

      Nothing like a little praise to start the day!! 🙂


  4. People are stupid… ’nuff said.


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