Friday, December 19, 2003

Dawn of the Dufus Part I

I've had to move another member of our Liberry Rogues Gallery from the Active column to the Inactive column. You might think losing another active member was a setback. However, in the case of this patron, it's good news since we liked him almost as much as we like Chester the (potential) Molester. Not a damn lot.

I am speaking of none other than The Dufus.

Allow me to tell his tale.

I first encountered the Dufus after coming in one Thursday afternoon to hear the library staff complaining about some jerk who had refused to get off one of the patron computers for most of the afternoon. Our computer policy is that each patron gets a half hour on one of our three computers and after that, if someone else is waiting to get on one, they have to relinquish it. If no one's waiting, they can stay til someone is. This guy, however, had been told multiple times by multiple staff members that his half hour was up and he needed to get off--information he chose to ignore. This went on for over three hours, with various staff members popping back to ask him to get off every ten minutes or so. Finally, one of our librarians went back and threatened to turn the computer off in his face, causing him to lose all changes in the document he was working on. Only then did he reluctantly get off. As soon as another computer came open, he was back at it again.

The next day the Dufus came back for Part II of this behavior. The first time his allotted half hour ran out, I went back to his computer and politely said, "Excuse me, sir, but we have a patron waiting..." nodding toward the computer to indicate what they were waiting for.

"For meeee?" he said.

Now, the tone of his question did NOT say, Are they waiting ON me? No. His tone said, Are they waiting FOR me? It was exactly as if he thought there was someone up front who had heard he was in town and had rushed right down to the Liberry to meet the fabled Dufus and shake his hand.

Ten minutes later, I had to go back to the Dufus to again alert him that we had other patrons waiting.

"For meeee?" he repeated, in exactly the same tone as before.

"No, ON you," I corrected. "You need to log off. Now."

Why, you might ask, would someone think so highly of themselves as to actually believe someone might be waiting FOR them? Ahhh, therein lies the rub.

The Dufus, I later learned, comes from local old money and grew up in the area but has spent the last several years living on the West Coast. To hear him tell it--and he takes great joy in telling it--when he was back on the West Coast, he was a minor deity and part time journalist who spent his days hobnobbing with the rich and famous, dear and trusted friend to all of them. He's quite accustomed therefore to people falling all over him, so it would have come as no surprise that someone was waiting FOR him. After all, surely EVERYONE had heard how the Dufus had miraculously returned from the West Coast to grace his home town with his presence (and move back in with his parents).

You only THINK I'm laying it on thick here. I promise you, I am not.

(To Be Continued)

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An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.