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, August 17, 2007

Stupid Little Letters

Mr. Little Stupid has been a far more frequent visitor as of late. I'd noticed that his visits had been increasing, but now he's discovered something new to do with the "innanet" and it's captured his facination, so he's in for at least one long visit every day.

I really miss the old days when he barely knew how to use the computer, had to be taught and retaught how to do the most basic of functions and, when he did get it to work, only wanted to print off poetry written by victims of the Columbine shootings. These days, he's mostly self-sufficient in the use of the "innanet" and spends his time cruising MySpac3, printing out the profiles of young ladies and, apparently, corresponding with them. And by "young ladies," I mean college seniors at best, probably no less than highschool seniors at worst. This might be okay if he were, say, 19 years old, but he's pushing 40 if he's a day. Kiiiiiinda creepy.

Now, ideally, I shouldn't know ANYTHING about what Mr. Little Stupid is doing on the internet; I try my best NOT know what people are up to over there. Mr. Little Stupid, however, doesn't seem to have any embarassment issues with the staff seeing his prints or the seemingly underage girls featured on them, so I've been given enough evidence to piece together what he's doing. In fact, when one of our computers turned out to have defaulted to a printer choice other than the actual networked printer, he called me over to look at his screen to figure out what was wrong. I walked over and there she was, a beautiful smiling girl who will probably be carded while attempting to buy beer for at least another three years and maybe beyond. And it's not as if Mr. Little Stupid is intentionally flaunting this material to us for some kind of thrill; he really doesn't have THAT much on the ball. I think he just genuinely and innocently doesn't realize that what he's doing might be viewed by others as at least slightly inappropriate.

Once Mr. Little Stupid has printed out his profile of choice, he takes it over to one of our tables and composes a letter to the owner of the profile in longhand. Being just this side of literate, he often needs help with spelling. One memorable day, he came to the circ desk on three separate occasions to ask me how to spell the words "relocate," "willing," and "anywhere" in that order. I told him. Later he asked for confirmation that the word "care" was spelled "car," which I had to correct him on.

When he gets all his i's crossed and his t's dotted, he returns to sign up for a computer to type all that into an email and, presumably, fires it off.

What's annoying me the most, however, is MySpac3 itself. Half the time our filtering software blocks it entirely, forcing us to dig out the filter's username and password and jump through the hoops necessary to override it. When it isn't blocked, though, sometimes MySpac3 will print a given screen's worth of material and cut off the right side of the text due to the sidebar on the left taking up too much room. I kept telling Mr. Little Stupid that needed to find a PRINTABLE VERSION function, but he couldn't, forcing me to come over and see what he had on his screen in order to find it myself. I couldn't find it either. All the while, though, Mr. Little Stupid kept insisting that if we would just put him on his favorite computer at the end of the row it would print just fine.

"No, it won't," I kept telling him. "It's not a problem with the computer, it's a problem with MySpac3." Then I'd grit my teeth some more and try to find the damnable PRINT VERSION link until Mr. Little Stupid's next attempt to tell me that his favorite computer never gives him problems. This cycle occurred three times before I finally said, "All right. If you'd like to use the other computer, I'll put you on the other computer. But it's going to cut off the side of your text unless you print ONLY the text."

I stomped over to his favorite computer and logged it on for him, then stomped away to the circ desk to await my victory at the printer chute. Of course, the filtering software on his new computer kicked in and it took the efforts of Ms. M and then eventually me to override it for him. Then, when he printed, everything did indeed print fine, just as he'd predicted.

I continue to hate it when the patrons are right.

1 comment:

htw said...

It's the smirk that really twists the knife...that wordless affirmation that they now know you are a moron and nothing you'll ever do or say will be evidence to the contrary...I sympathize completely!
htw