Librarians and Darwinian Natural Selection

I wrote a sonnet about my local library. Frustration does something interesting for me. I makes me creative. The quote, so ubiquitous now it's cliché, "Be careful or I'll put you in my book and kill you," has a delicious ring of truth.

The situation is nothing new. I've paid an insane number of fines this year. A book was stolen from my bedside when I was in the hospital with Rowdy. A DVD was put down the register. St. Nick squirreled a host of books in his bunk and insisted, no, he gave them to me. I just didn't feel like going to the library a few times.

And a bunch of movies (ok, ten of them) were two days late because - who knows why - my computer bugged up, their server bugged up. That's the most recent, but was my hope for grace answered? My plea that technological issues aren't necessarily *my* fault. And even if they are, can't you just be Nice? No. I need to "learn my lesson." I suppose so. One thing I've learned, no more DVDs from the library.

I've been thinking quite a bit about why this sort of thing bothers me so much - because it's not just the library. Any time there is an injustice, where an All Powerful Authority exercises that authority capriciously, without concern for human dignity or grace or, in this case, rationality, I'm thrown. More important, when I'm facing an Authority against which I have no recourse, I'm doubly thrown. I feel helpless, violated. And mad as hell. Those who know me understand why.

So I wonder why those who excel in library services do so well? I would be a lousy librarian. Largely because I hate Capricious Authority. I am unable to survive beneath it and just as unable to be it, which I suppose is why my kids are so, uh, spirited. Dr. D might question whether I'm capable of being an Authority at all. Hmmm. Maybe a few whoopin's to "learn them kids their lessons" would work wonders.

Anyway, Dr. D suggested that if you give someone a modicum of power, baptize it with an advanced degree, that person - who knows their job could be done by anyone with a pulse (his words) - feels validated, entitled to their Pound of Flesh. Take away the degree and add the Baptism of Marriage or Parent or Teacher and you have precisely the mix of qualities that drives the abuser. Insecurity x Power x Entitlement. Which circles back to why this sort of expression so bothers me.

So I have no choice. The library is a bureaucracy where customer service is an unknown concept. If I want to use it, I have to take my whoopin', by golly. And if I don't come back? What they lose in fines (I am a regular contributor, you know) will be made up for in tax dollars. Plus, I would have to actually - gasp - buy books.

Which might just be less expensive. Regardless, at least I got a sonnet out of the thing. Whoever said "Words are cheap" obviously did not use the public library.

Oh, and I already had this:

Which has thus far earned me $9.60. Shhh. Don't tell the librarians! I'm sure they'll find a way to fine me for it.