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.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Dawn of the Dufus Part III

When the Dufus wasn't lobbying for a job with us, he was plenty busy being a smarmy little turd-blossom on a day to day basis. His interactions with library staff, or indeed anyone else, were peppered with his usual name-droppings. It was as if he could not exist without letting everybody know that he has had some degree of interaction with a few people whose names we might recognize and is therefore worthy of recognition himself. And anyone who came within twenty feet of him got their own personal copy of his lone article about the library. (I once saw him on the street corner, promising a passerby whose aquaintance he had just made a copy of that most blessed work.)

And because he's obviously such an enormously important individual, library rules like time limits on the patron computers obviously don't apply to him. With most patrons, all you have to do is let them know their time is up and someone is waiting for their computer and you walk away, affording them the time to wrap up what they're doing and log off. With the Dufus, the ONLY way to get him to get off a computer was to go back and tell him his time was up and then stand there like the Colossus at Rhodes, giving him the stank eye until he actually got off. If you didn't, he would immediately start a new and lengthy e-mail as soon as you stepped away, and would often try to start one while you stood there waiting.

And what was so all-fired important that he just HAD to write just one last e-mail? Normally, I wouldn't know because I don't make it a habit to pry into what sort of activities our patrons are up to on the net. But since I was usually the guy who had to stand there giving him the stank eye, I sussed it out pretty quick.

Was the Dufus, perhaps, writing to a grant agency, pleading with them for library funds? No.

Was the Dufus corresponding with friends back West? Oh, no, my friends, no.

The Dufus was, in fact, REPLYING TO HIS SPAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's right. The Dufus read each and every e-mail he was sent, spam or not, and replied to all of it. Never mind that most spam can't be replied to, the Dufus tried it anyway. And would tell you about it!!! In great detail!!!!

"George W.'s office just sent me an e-mail asking for a campaign contribution," he said, referring to an obvious mailing-list spawned e-note. "They want $20,000. Well, I'm writing them back and tell them what I think of the way they're running the country right now. And I'm not going to send them anything."

He also enjoyed trying to discuss current events with you, but kept twisting the events around to suggest he was actively involved in them.

"You know, it's a sad day that Arnold Schwarzeneggar was elected governor of California," he once said. Then he added, "Well, I might go to the inaugural ball, but I'm not making any donations."

Now why would a guy who supposedly has all this money that everyone keeps wanting him to give them have any need to hog up the patron computers at a public library? Couldn't he just buy his own computer and while away the hours at his parents' house replying to all his spam until his heart was content?

All his computer shennanigans were irritating enough, but the Dufus usually chose to do them dangerously close to closing time. He'd pop in for a computer at a half an hour til close (surpassing even Mr. Big Stupid in inconvenient computer usage) or less. You would think that telling someone "We're closed now" would be more of an incentive to get off the computer than merely saying "Your time is up." Alas, it was not the case. I would warn him 15 minutes before closing that we would be closing in 15 minutes. Then, 10 minutes. Then, 5 minutes. Then, we're closed. Then, no, really, we are closed. Then, I'm not kidding, we truly are closed as of five minutes ago. Then, I'm locking the door and turning off the lights. You need to be on the other side of it when I do.

And while I would have been well within my rights and posted computer policy to just shut the damned computer off in his face, I've always chosen to try the polite route first. Again, though, the only effective method was to just go Colossus on him and stand there til he got off. (Or hit him with a chair, though I only fantasized about that option.)

It seems the Dufus may no longer be bothering us so regularly. A couple of months ago we heard he took a position with the board of directors of a foundation established by a half-way famous long dead WV author in said author's former home town. We considered calling them up to warn them but figured if they hadn't been able to see through his smarm-infested weasel nature they probably deserve him.

His position there may or may not have gone well for him. As of Friday, Mrs. A informed me that the Dufus had moved out of the area entirely. He hasn't returned to the West Coast, but is at least a comfortable distance away in a neighboring state where he is probably even now plaguing library assistants.

The Dufus, 2003-2003, Inactive Member of the Liberry Rogues Gallery.

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