Last week, two girls and a boy began pestering me for the password to the children's room computer. They were probably 11 or 12 and therefore given to cheerfully pestering people. The ringleader of them was Caroline Turner, a regular patron of ours and a young lady I've had some confusing dealings with before.
first I didn't even realize what they were up to. Caroline had come up
to the desk around 6 p.m. last Wednesday night and asked me what Mrs.
C's full name was. I told her. Then she wanted me to write it down for
her, so I did. A minute later she was back, asking for my name to be
written down. Okay, sure, I thought. It was odd, but I somehow imagined
she and her friends were plugging our names into Mad Libs or something.
few minutes later, she and her other cohorts came to ask me harmless
personal questions, such as my pet's name, my favorite book, my favorite
movie and my favorite number, (Winston Churchill: The Infinitely Bad
Kitty, The Martian Chronicles, Raising Arizona and four, respectively). Having secured this information, they scurried away to the children's room again.
Finally, Caroline came back and just point blank asked me, "Would you just tell me what the password is for the kids' computer?"
Ah, so that was their game.
"No," I said.
minutes of pleading and banter followed during which Caroline even
threatened to sign up to use the computer just so she could watch my
fingers and get the password as I logged her on.
"Well, that's really gonna work for you now, isn't it?" I said.
"Aw come onnnnnnn! You can tell me!"
Sure kid, I tell you and soon everybody's playing Magic School Bus Vs. The Dinosaurs for free.
sort of thing went on for some time, with Caroline coming up with
wildly inventive reasons why I should tell her followed by threats of
the crazy things she would accuse me of if I didn't. (This sounds
alarming, I know, but her very worst threat amounted to her taking one
of our books, tearing it up and then then telling Mrs. A that I
had taken the book and let my dog tear it up. I explained to her that
Mrs. A would never believe her because she knows I don't own a dog.)
a while I even considered telling her that the password for the
computer wasn't a word at all, just to see her race back to start trying
number combinations. (The password really ISN'T a word, but there
aren't any numbers involved either, so her search would be fruitless.)
Eventually, Caroline had to leave for her group French lesson next door, as did her comrades. So I was left in peace.
however, would not be the first patron to try and acquire our password.
The last patron to try it was an as yet unchronicled Rogues Gallery
member from years past. However, before I could even start to chronicle
that long lost Rogue, one of our current boobyhatch escapees tried the
very same thing.
It seems that our old friend Parka has made it his business to try and
learn the password to our patron computers. (See THE PARKA SAGA.) That's right. This festering butt-grape in our collective crack is trying to hack us.
Parka was in last Saturday to chat with his e-skanks. After he'd been on for around 40 minutes or so, I heard a distinctive BEEEEEP
from the computer hall signaling that one of the computers had been
rebooted from the ground up. I've noticed more and more of these beeps
when Parka is using the computers. Usually it signals that he has
managed to chat the computer into freezing up, in which case he wants to
reboot it before asking us to log him back on, cause he somehow thinks
we don't know what he's up to. Or sometimes it signals that he's about
to leave and wants to reboot the computer to be sure that all evidence
of his presence on a given machine is gone. (Surrrre it is.) Mrs. A has
actually had to confront him over this rebooting business because until
recently he didn't just reboot the machine when he left but would shut
it down, forcing the next patron to use it, AND us, to have to stand around and wait around
for it to reboot from the ground up before it can be used anew. He
agreed to cut it out. I still listen for the BEEEEEPs, though, because it either means he's leaving or that I'm gonna have to go back and log him on again.
So Saturday I hear the BEEEEEP
and wait to see what Parka's next move will be. Minutes pass and there
is no movement from the back to either leave or ask for assistance.
Curious. After nearly five minutes with no sign of Parka, I decide to go
investigate. It could be that he just hopped onto a nearby computer
that was not logged off from the previous patron. But I somehow doubted
I think Parka must have heard me coming cause by the time I reached the door to the computer hall he was up and moving.
"Could you log me on again it froze up and I had to reboot," he said, in his usual punctuationless monotone.
went over to his computer which had our login screen up. Curiously, the
cursor was NOT in the username blank, but the password blank. And while
he had not typed in our usual username, which probably every regular "Intanet" Crowder knows by heart, the fact that he had been trying to do
something in the password blank was suspicious. I moved closer to the
computer and typed in our standard patron username. Then, keeping my
back toward Parka to block his line of sight on the keys, I typed in our
password, the letter Z, (not really the letter Z). As I did this, I
heard movement behind me and, on turning, I saw that Parka was now
half-way up the first section of steps on the staircase, a perfect
position for him to have craned his neck and taken a gander in the
direction of my hands as I typed. He wasn't actively craning when I saw
him, but what other reason would he have for being on the stairs? I
didn't think he had actually managed to see it, but the fact that he was
trying at all was definitely one of the most irritating things this
highly irritating man has done.
Yesterday afternoon, I broke the news to Mrs. C.
"I think we need to keep an eye on PARKA. I'm pretty sure he was trying to get our password Saturday."
too?" she said. Mrs. C then told me that Parka had been in on Sunday and had
pulled the same trick on her, asking her to come reboot his computer and
then standing there trying to watch her type.
advantage, you might ask, would Parka gain by knowing the password to
our patron computers? After all, it isn't as if we wouldn't catch him
trying to log on without signing up at the clipboard up front first. The
only reason he EVER comes to the library is to use the computers, so
from the moment we saw his big
dingy-white-Michelin-Man-lookin'-parka-clad ass trying to sneak back to
the computer hall, we would know what was up.
theory is that after repeatedly locking up the system with his chatting
he finds it inconvenient to have to come get us to log him on again. He
would much rather be able to reboot at his leisure and continue on
without having to muck around with such things as standing and
walking through two whole rooms to see if we may or may not have a spare
moment or sense of inclination to help.
"Think we need to change the password then?" Mrs. C asked.
"Couldn't hurt," I said. "In fact, it would royally piss him off if he has
managed to get it and now it won't work for him." We grinned and
laughed evilly at this. I even suggested we change the password to
Parka's real last name, which he would never ever suspect. Instead,
though, we changed it to a different letter in proximity to Z (not
really the letter Z) which would look indistinguishable if typed really
fast, further compounding his frustration.
As I said earlier, though, this is only one example of a smarmy little bowel irritant of
a patron trying to get our password. A couple of years back, one such
soul succeeded at getting it and got busted in a much more satisfying
way. I speak of none other than The Evil Fed Ex Guy.
I first met the
Evil FedEx Guy in November of 2001. I'd had cause to engage the services
of Federal Express after the processor-fan in my computer started to
crap out on me and I found myself in desperate need of a new one. I'd
purchased one online and had paid $9 extra to have it delivered via
Federal Express's two day delivery service. As you probably suspect, my
two day delivery did not occur as per the definition of two day delivery. What followed were eight days of not only no deliveries, but repeated instances of official Fed Ex tracking records being altered by someone to show that delivery attempts and phone calls had been made when no such deliveries nor calls had actually been attempted--cause, I was, like, home the whole time and stuff. When my new chip fan was finally delivered, A WEEK AND A DAY LATER, it was the Evil FedEx Guy who delivered it.
the time, I didn't even know that the Evil FedEx Guy was actually evil;
I just thought he worked for evil. So I didn't hold a grudge when, for example, he came to the library on
his lunch break to surf the web a few days later and managed to leave
his wallet behind. I didn't even consider doing anything nasty to his wallet or its contents. Instead, I phoned him up and left a message that we had his wallet. The more I've
thought about it since, though, the more I've come to believe that the
Evil FedEx Guy himself was entirely responsible for my delayed delivery.
I'd been blaming the FedEx dispatcher, but really the
clear line of deception and ass-covering in the delivery process points back to the guy who was failing to make his delivery. And who else would further benefit by going back
and falsifying even more such attempts after the fact to make it look
like he was actually doing his job? Him Him Him. I
understand that being a FedEx driver is hard work and the drivers are
under the gun of deadline constantly. But altering records to make it
seem as though I was at fault in the matter when I was not just
burns me up. Still, I'd not done that math yet, but would soon learn that the Evil FedEx Guy was a
right bastard for a number of other reasons.
After the above wallet snafu, the Evil
FedEx Guy began making a nuisance of himself at our library as a member
of the Liberry Intanet Crowd. On his lunch hour, he would pop by and
park his enormous FedEx van in our half-hour parking, taking up well
over his allotted parking space, and come on in to surf the web. This
would even have been mostly okay with us if he didn't, in true Intanet
Crowd fashion, constantly prove himself an enormous asshat. He had all
the standard Intanet Crowd quirks, such as getting pissed off if he
couldn't log on immediately upon arrival, or if he had to wait at all,
or if he ran out of time and we had to ask him to relinquish his
computer, or if the internet was slow, etc. That's standard issue.
However, he was so possessive of his internet time that if we had to
bust him off after his time was up he would rush the desk to sign up for
the next computer and then get even more pissed off and start cursing
if he had to wait at all. Dealing with him in any capacity was just
unpleasant. This alone was bad enough to deserve our collective ire.
However, he did us one better.
We didn't know that the Evil
FedEx Guy knew our patron computer password until he decided to show off with it one day.
He had come in for a computer, stayed his half hour and got booted off
in favor of a new patron. The wait for a free computer was considerable
and he wasn't finished with whatever it was he was doing, but oddly he
didn't make a big stink about it like usual.
minutes later, Mrs. A came downstairs from her office to find Evil FedEx
Guy using the computer in the children's room. She told us all later
that right away she knew he had our password.
First of all, it's a hard and fast rule in the library that NO ADULT
is allowed use the children's room computer because that computer is
exclusively for the use of children. All the staff know this and it is
not a rule that is ever violated. Second of all, when that computer IS
used by children it is almost only used with the Children's Login
setting, which preloads all our games and does not include access to the
internet. It is technically possible to use the computer to access the
internet, but only if logged in with the adult user name and password,
so the chances of EFEG having spied this computer already logged in for
adult access were very very slim.
"Excuse me," Mrs. A
said, walking over to where Evil FedEx Guy was crouched down on the
tiny, child-sized chair, his knees practically against his chest. "How
exactly did you come to use this computer?"
Guy had to know he was caught, but he tried to lie his way out anyway.
He stared up at Mrs. A from his lowly position and said, "Um, the lady
up front put me here."
"Um... Uhh... I don't remember."
Mrs. A no doubt chose this moment to look over her half-glasses at him as though he were a slow-witted child.
telling me that you signed up for a computer and one of our staff
logged you on this computer and you don't remember which person it was?"
are not supposed to be using that computer. That computer is for
children only. None of our staff would have put you on it either because
they all know you're not supposed to be using that computer."
FedEx Guy protested that he had been placed there by a duly appointed
staff member, though he couldn't point out any of the ladies on duty
specifically. Mrs. A told him in no uncertain terms that she didn't buy
it. She told him she thought he had managed to figure out our password
and had logged himself on because he didn't want to wait. (Mrs. A isn't
afraid to get confrontational when she needs to, particularly when the
person she's confronting is a dickweed like this guy.) Evil FedEx Guy
slunk away to his truck and it was a good week before we saw him again.
changed the password due to that incident and tried to keep a better
eye out for patrons who seemed overly curious when we logged them on.
the following months, Evil FedEx Guy's Intanet Crowd behavior didn't
really improve. He still had a tendency to curse often and unnecessarily
when we asked him to get off, but he avoided doing so whenever Mrs. A
was nearby. At one point, she told us that she had threatened him that
if he didn't sit up and be smart he was going to be banned from using
the computers. This had the most effect of anything, but he was still no
angel. It got to the point that the entire staff would loudly groan in
displeasure when we heard his big ol' FedEx van a-comin' up the hill.
the problem of the Evil FedEx Guy went away when he himself went away. I
don't know if he was fired or just quit his job, though my wager is
definitely on the former. We've not seen him in nearly two years. It's