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, June 18, 2004

The Even LESS Talented Mr. Ripley

With the mystery of our recent gay porn surfing computer patron in its opening chapter, I thought it would be nice to look back at one of the previous ones.

Our library is no stranger to patrons who want to view porn on our computers. Most of the time it doesn't cause any problems and we just live with it, though with a wary eye. I know it's completely stereotypical and wrong to think that anyone who wants to view internet porn, of any variety, on a public computer is somehow a pervert who's out to do harm to kids. However, considering some of the patrons who regularly walk our floors, like Chester, it's behavior that we do try to monitor on a "just in case" basis.

One of our former regular rogue patrons, The Untalented Mr. Ripley, had certainly viewed his share of gay porn on our computers, but he was at least semi-discrete about it. He kept his windows shrunk down to the bare minimum, so he could get a peek at whatever it was he wanted to see without offending anyone nearby. The only person who ever complained about him was Mr. B-Natural, but Mr. B was mostly interested in trying to get Ripley kicked out so it would free up a computer for him to use.

A few months after I started working at the "liberry", though, we were paid a visit by a far less discrete soul, who I've dubbed the Even Less Talented Mr. Ripley (Mr. E.L.T. for short). We're pretty sure Mr. E.L.T. has more than a few loose screws rolling around in his noggin, cause he was completely conspicuous in his gay porn viewing. I never got the impression that he was doing it on purpose, so that people would notice and be offended or anything. It was more like he was just too stupid to realize that if he was looking at porn on the monitor of a public computer the rest of the public could see it too and not just him. He therefore never seemed shifty or nervous about his viewing habits, because he was completely under the moronic impression that no one would bother to look at what he was looking at.

So about once every couple of weeks, Mr. E.L.T. would come in, plop down and start loading up pictures of hoo hoo dillies for all the world to see. And, like most visitors to porn sites, he'd get attacked by the standard pop-up windows. Only Mr. E.L.T., being very stupid, had no clue how to get rid of them so he'd just shrink em to the bottom of the screen. He also had no idea how to reboot the computer when he was finished surfing, so he'd just get up and leave, with all his porn sites and pop-ups still right there.

One day after Mr. E.L.T. had departed and no other patrons were around, Mrs. A snuck back to the computers and expanded all the pop-ups he'd left there so that they were fully visible on the screen. Then she came up front and told me there was a computer that needed rebooting, figuring I'd go see what was there and be shocked. I went and saw it, but was hardly shocked because I knew full well what would be there cause I knew who had been sitting there the whole time. Instead of making any comment to her, I just kept quiet about it. After a while Mrs. A couldn't stand not knowing if her joke had worked and was forced to ask me about it, thus disarming her own joke bomb. It's nice to take the wind out of her sails once in a while.

The Even Less Talented Mr. Ripley continued visiting us for the better part of a year before his cover was blown and the horror that people REALLY COULD see what he was looking at was made evident to him. While he was in one day, hoo-hoo dillying away, a teenage boy came in to use a computer and the only one available was the one by the staircase, next to Mr. E.L.T.'s computer. Mrs. A reported to us later that she had been on her way upstairs when she heard, "Psst," from the kid.

"Can I help you?" she asked.

The kid silently mouthed something to her that she didn't understand and kept nodding his head in Mr. E.L.T.'s direction.

"I'm sorry, what did you say?" Mrs. A asked, oblivious.

Again the kid silently mouthed his words and nodded more frantically, but she still didn't get it.  Finally, the kid couldn't take the frustration any more. "He's looking at naked men!" the boy said in a loud whisper, pointing directly to Mr. E.L.T.

At this, the Even Less Talented Mr. Ripley's ears perked up and he looked around to see the wide-eyed faces of the kid and Mrs. A staring back at him. He stood up, left his porn right there on the screen and walked out of the library.

We've not seen him since.

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