Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Mr. B-Natural's Coffee "Brakes"

As I've mentioned before, our patron Mr. B-Natural, the grumpiest old man in all the world, has actually been considerably less grumpy lately. He's damn near close to losing his title to Mr. Smiley, or maybe even a dark horse candidate as yet to be determined. He's barely tried to irritate the hell out of anyone in months, and for a guy whose whole reason for living has been to irritate the hell out of people that's saying something. Sure, he still comes in and signs his name upside down on the computer sign-in sheet in the mistaken belief that this irritates us, but these days it's mostly out of habit than actual malice. Since he acquired his dog, Bubba--a fantastically well-behaved and sweet animal who we genuinely love getting visits from--Mr. B-Natural has mellowed out quite a bit.

Well.... mostly. Today, one of his remaining genuinely irritating habits came back to bite him in the ass.

Mr. B-Natural is fond of crossword puzzles. Mr. B-Natural is also fond of coffee. Mr. B-Natural is fond of doing his crossword puzzles while drinking his coffee. Trouble is, he does his crossword puzzles on our internet access computers and we don't allow coffee, or any beverage for that matter, in proximity to the computers, nor even beyond the front room of the library. At all. This matters not to Mr. B-Natural. In fact, he likes it that way, cause if he can sneak his coffee in and actually manage to get it back to the computers without being caught, he's pulled one over on us and has thus, in his mind, won the day. If we catch him with it, though, we're naturally irritated that he has tried to sneak coffee past us despite the hundreds of times we've told him not to. His seed of irritation thusly sewn, he has again won the day. It's been a while, though, since any of us have caught him trying it.

Today Mr. B-Natural came in with Bubba and went up to the desk to sign in upside down. I didn't notice any real sneaky behavior out of him until I came around the desk to go log on a computer for him, at which point Mr. B leaned over and picked something up from the step stool by the desk, then quickly tried to turn his back to me with the mystery object in front of him. (I was too obtuse to even notice this either, but received the full report later from Mrs. J who had a better view from her position in front of the desk.) When Mr. B-Natural turned, though, he got tangled in Bubba's leash, started to lose his balance, and in order to remain upright he had to jettison the mystery object... *GASP* a brimming full travel mug of coffee!!

There are a lot of truly shitty travel mugs on the market these days. I know `cause I own quite a few. So did Mr. B-Natural. His shitty, ostensibly spill-proof mug hit ground, burst open with no argument and sprayed its contents over a wide section of our floor.

"Oopsie," I said, coming up behind him, grinning like a madman at his failed treachery.

On my way to get the mop bucket Mrs. A came downstairs and saw me snickering.

"What is it?" she asked.

"Just go up front and see."

Mrs. A dashed up front where she got to see Mr. B-Natural in his sheepish, weakened and most definitely guilty condition. There was no hiding this. Now not only was he caught, he didn't even have any coffee to drink later.

We then had to comfort and pet poor Bubba, who somehow thought he was at fault for the spill and had sat down to sulk.

So let's tally this up: No smuggled coffee for Mr. B-Natural and he was certainly far more irritated about the whole matter than we were. Yeah, I'd say the day's win was ours.

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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.