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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Importance=Perspective

I'm sure every library----and probably every business----has them. Those patrons who come in day after day and complain about the same thing.

We have this one guy who comes in practically every day. He's built like a walrus---wide, squat and moves with an odd shuffle across the floor. The best description I've heard of him came from my co-worker John, who says he looks like Nathan Furst, the actor who played Flounder in the movie Animal House. Only heavier, 30 years older, and a whole lot angrier.

Angry Flounder only comes in to use the internet . As soon he walks in he cusses and curses under his breath about kids using the internet to "play their f***ing video games when adults need it to do real business". Of course, he most often comes in between 3-4 pm, right about the same time all the school kids start coming to the library. Sometimes he complains directly to the reference librarians, but most often he just mutters his angry manifestos as he shambles between the front door and the internet terminals. As a big of a jerk as he is, I do feel for him. It can be frustrating when you need to do something you feel is important and it's slowed down by people doing leisure activities. But a public library is there for all those purposes, so I usually just try to ignore him.

Well, last night I had my first real interaction with this fine fellow. I was at the returns desk, checking in materials, and he walked up fuming.

"I was using the computer," he said, "and the monitor just went out."

Now we're supposed to send people with computer issues to the reference desk, but there was a line several people long waiting for help. I knew Angry Flounder would pitch a fit if I sent him anywhere else, so I walked over with him to take a look.

It was simple fix. Either he or whoever used the terminal just before him must have tried to adjust things, because the cable between the monitor and the CPU detached. I plugged it in and the monitor popped back on right away. It was then that I saw what the Angry Flounder's important business is: updating his myspace profile.

Excelsior

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