“Are Cheetoes bad for you?”
Librarians are asked many unusual questions.
Tommy walks into the library clutching a little open bag of cheetoes to his emaciated chest. Tommy is an old testament prophet who dresses like an extra from the fiddler on the roof. Other than his conviction that bathing is an insult to God, he is a very sweet person. Rather like a severely OCD Christopher Robin. Due to the fact that the cafeteria offers neither locusts nor wild honey he pretty much lives on a diet of white rice and lettuce.
“Well I guess that Cheetoes aren’t exactly health food.” I venture cautiously.
“It has preservatives doesn’t it?” He asks.
“Yes it does.” A librarian must never lie.
“Then it’s bad for you.” He sighs sadly. “I shouldn’t eat them than.” His shoulders slump as he closes the little bag of cheetoes.
(Ahh hell, the guy eats almost nothing as it is and I have just removed a source of needed calories not to mention a small pleasure from his life)
“Hold on a sec. I thought you told me that you are going to live forever?” I ask him.
“Ohh Yes that’s true.” He tells me a sweet smile on his face. “I’m going to live forever and ever and never die.” He assures me in his lost little boy sing song voice.
“Well than I guess a little ol’ bag of Cheetoes wont hurt you none.”
“ohh yes that’s right.” He says, and goes wandering off happily munching his cheetoes.
Mad people are by in large intensely logical. It’s just logic base eight.
An election was coming up so of course I had to ask. One of the functions of a librarian is to be a pillar of support for democracy.
“Voting? I’m not sure you can vote from here.” I probably shouldn’t have started my inquires with Charles.
“Ohh of course I can. Insanity is no impediment to democracy, that’s one of it’s great beauties.”
So I turned to Burt with the question. And we started the mad house get out the vote drive. I helped patients puzzle out the absentee ballots. Biggest challenge was using the English version of the ballot to explain the Chinese version of the ballot to someone who only mostly understood English.
It was a mad house republican landslide. I felt that deep satisfaction one gets when something you always thought about the world gets confirmed as fact. I went for Ralph Nader, I felt he totally deserved the mad house vote.
Tax time and Andrew is out on the smoking patio grousing about American taxes. There is just something about America. Take an American plant him in any country and fifty years later that man is still talking acting and thinking like an American. Take someone from any other country plant them in America and before they have eaten their first cheese burger they are talking like a native.
“Yeh they can hit hard. But fortunately in the nursing field you can use all sorts of deductions and that helps.” I tell him as I light one of my camels.
“Yes deductions. You have to take continuing education courses right?”
“Well right there all kinds of deduction. The cost of the course, books and materials, food lodging even transportation, all that shits deductible. Why do you think Americans fight over the receipts for everything, some sort of national paper fetish?”
Librarians are often called upon for taxation information.
And so I ended up giving a few foreign nurses an informal talk/ Q & A on American taxes. I can handle helping other people fill out paperwork It’s just any official form with my name attached anywhere that shuts my brain down.
In the modern library some computer skills are called for and it helps if you can hook up the vcr.
Movie night. This is a special event. Rose has a new toy a ten thousand dollar projection system that apparently was purchased just so us poor mad people could watch Spider man. I couldn’t work out the thought process behind spending only ten dollars a month for crayons but blowing ten thousand on a jumped up dvd player was just fine. But ok what ever, I wanted to see Spider-man (one of my favorite super heroes, geek makes good)so I wasn’t going to bitch about priorities.
Unfortunately the new toy was of sufficient, size complexity not to mention the expense that it scared the crap out of Rose. She dithered she fluttered she popped pop corn, she made sure everyone had a seat. And she tried to start the movie. The movie played the first ten seconds, big music spider-man whooshes by on his web ….. and repeat,,,,,,,, and repeat. The first ten seconds of the movie kept playing and playing and playing. And Rose couldn’t make it stop, or move on from the first ten seconds.
Rose is fluttering and dithering about something awful.
“Hey Rose would you like me to see what I can do to fix it?” I ask.
The staff at the MHRF are people who are very smart about a lot of things, but they are all complete ninnies when it comes to hooking up vcrs or getting the karaoke machine to run. I am not hugely mechanically inclined but I can hook up the vcrs and got the karaoke machine running so any time there was something that needed a good kick I was called in.
“Ohh Hmm OOhhh ohh, hmm, It it cost ten thousand dollars you know. I , I, well, if it were broken. I’m responsible you see..” And she dithered and she fluttered and spider-man whooshes by. She wont let me fix it. She is terrified that I might break it. Or issue the norad launch codes for which she would be blamed.
Half an hour later, watching spider-man whoosh by and Rose flutter about had become dull so I wandered upstairs to read. An hour later I popped back down out of curiosity. The only thing that had changed was everyone was now out of pop corn and getting restless. Rose was practically in tears.
“I promise I wont break anything, I swear. Let me see what I can do.. or “ I look over at the restless audience of popcornless mad people. “I think they are going to eat you.”
She finally relents and allows me to approach the ten thousand dollar toy. It looked like doc. Octopuses corpse with cables and what all tangling around the floor. I stepped gingerly over the cables toward the brain of the thing, a lap top. Oh for heavens sake is that all? I was totally expecting something much more monumentally challenging.
Rose Dithered, Rose fluttered. “Ohh please be careful.”
Three clicks of the mouse later spider-man finally landed on the roof top. (I should have made it look so much harder, maybe then I would have gotten real butter on my popcorn)