Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Condescenscion is when you talk down to someone

A very nice and intelligent girl of about 11 or so came up looking for books on several topics. What we owned seemed to be either for younger children or checked out. After exhausting several topics with disappointing results, she asked if we had anything by or about Martin Luther King, Jr. Sadly, with the recent holiday, pretty much everything was out except for a few little kid picture books. I could tell that my patron was not that impressed with our little library, even after I reminded her about the recent holiday. I hate not having something and was offering the usual menu of choices like copies of an encyclopedia article, prints from a biographical database and holds on a multitude of biographies at other libraries in the system. She thought about it for a moment and then offered to spell King's name for me, in case I typed it in wrong. Thanks, kid.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

You want my advice about what?

On a good day, I feel minimally competent to give advice about books I have read and enjoyed. So I get a fresh shock each year when people come in and ask my tax advice. I try to listen patiently to the question and at the first pause I say something like, "I'm really sorry, but I'm not allowed to give tax advice." Then I try to get out the AARP-staffed FREE tax help appointment book to sign them up for FREE help. (Did I mention it was without cost? Freebie? Comp? Gratis? Not a single simoleon need change hands?) This is usually not good enough. The person (often a twenty-something guy) wants to know which form he's supposed to fill out, the 1040, 1040A or the 1040EZ? What's the difference between the 1040 and the 1040A? I tell him that I am not allowed to give tax advice again, but he doesn't want advice, you see, just to know which form he's supposed to use. And on. It's dispiriting. Even when I tell them that I do not do my own taxes and haven't for many many years because I made such a mess of them, people seem to think that I'm just holding out on them.

The only thing more annoying is people asking where the tax forms are, since they are about 4 and a half feet from the asker.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


That young woman on Internet Terminal #7? As soon as her check comes, she's leaving. That's right: moving to Texas. You heard it here first.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Pop Quiz

Q: What do you do if you are a bored teen who isn't into that whole reading thing and who is sick of Myspace and is waiting for mom to come with the car?

A: Annoy the desk slave. I don't want to describe my job to you. Yes I like working here just fine. About 3 years now. No, you can't do this job next summer. Because it's not as easy as it looks, e.g. you have to know the alphabet. Actually, none of us gets to sit around all day reading books. If I got to do that I would be a much more pleasant person.