A guy comes into our branch fairly regularly with a monkey or something that has a cheap electronic squealing laugh. He sets it off and leaves it at the circulation desk. Today after having his fun little interaction with them, he came to our desk holding a book about Humane Pressure Point Self Defense.
“I’d like to suggest this.”
“Suggest or donate?” I was a touch confused, since he handed me the book as he spoke.
“I don’t know. I think your library should have this book. It’s important.” He looked insistently at my female coworker. “So you can go to the grocery store and not have to worry about walking home with your hands full.”
“Okay,” I said tapping away at the keyboard. “So are you giving it to us? Because it looks like it’s not in our system so I can’t just add it.”
“I just want you here at this library to get this book without some bureaucrat in City Hall with a belly out to here who’s never done a day of work in his life having to make a decision three months from now.” The intensity had built as he spoke but then it fell off a cliff for his next bit. “But I want to let my neighbour’s daughter read it before I give it to you.
“Oh. Okay,” I said. “I’ll fill out the suggestion form then.” I got his library card and he extolled the virtues of this book and being safe to my coworker.
As I handed back his card, having made the request, he leaned in conspiratorially. “And here’s something you should know. You’ve got to keep this quiet but I’m telling you because the library taught me. You know that book on Columbine? That’s where I learned this.”
I smiled quizzically.
“This isn’t funny. It’ll save your life. The other day there was a guy standing with his boot on the neck of another guy and he was holding a pipe and his buddies were coming to beat the shit out of him and I called 911 and you know how to get the cops there fast? With no bullshit?”
I shook my head.
“Just say ‘Shots fired’ and hang up. They’ll be there faster than anything. Now you can’t tell anyone this but remember. It’ll save your life and I learned it from the library.”
Then he picked out some books and left. My coworker’s only comment was “That man, he has some problems.”911 call branch bureaucracy circulation city hall columbine dialogue electronics emergency pressure points refdesk self defense