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 07, 2007

Cat Piss Man (a.k.a. "Bodily Excretions Week: Day 3")

In our local kingdom of stinky patrons, there are some royally fetid gems.

Naturally, the king of this empire is Mr. Stanky.

Second in line of succession, perhaps surprisingly, is Mr. Stankier who, while outranking Mr. Stanky in pure stank power, is still rated only second because, generously, he visits us only about a tenth as often.

Third up is The Sweatiest Woman in All the Land (ne, the Urineiest Woman in all the Land). I must say, though, that while she has been a more frequent visitor as of recent, I've found she no longer really smells sweaty or uriney at all. Maybe I'm catching her on good days, but let's hope this is a permanent change. However, even with her current diminished stank power, she's still third based on nasal-memory alone.

Fourth would be Bear Piss Man, who is no longer in the area, but ranks fourth all the same. He is so named not only because that's what he smelled like but also because we were pretty sure he had free access to such a substance in his line of work as a carny running an animal display at the local fair. Bear Piss Man became progressively more offensive as the days of the fair passed and progressively more insistent that the staff should come visit his booth at the fair. If we dropped his name, he said, we could get in for free. We had no desire to do this, however, because by the end of the week this guy could clear the computers of patrons within seconds of his arrival. We also learned we were wrong about the bear piss. By his own admission, late in the week, he actually ran the Freak Tent, which gave us all sorts of unsettling mental images to accompany his aroma.

Let us not forget Crusty the Patron, either, who I'll refrain from detailing as it is getting close to lunch time. (Okay, so it's only 9 a.m. here, but somewhere in the world it is indeed lunch time.)

And we've had an assortment of stinky drifters who smell of sweat, but who are often entertaining, so we don't mind so much.

Last week the stinky patron royal family saw a new and dangerous threat to their hierarchy amassing its armies on the horizon. I first noticed it shortly after arriving for my shift one day.

While shelving books near the computer area and comfy chair reading section, my nose detected the unmistakable odor of cat piss. I say unmistakable because, as the owner of a thankfully-retired former World Champion Cat-Piss-Distributor (the Official World-Champion Cat-Piss-Distributor of the 1996 Summer Olympics), I know it well. The smell seemed to be coming from a particular comfy chair, which disturbed me greatly. However, upon my next trip through the area, the smell had vanished from the chair. Moments later, though, as I was turning back to the desk, I caught it again, now coming from somewhere near the fireplace.

"Um... have we let a bunch of cats run free in the library recently?" I asked Mrs. C after returning to the desk.

Mrs. C shook her head. "It's him," she said, pointing back toward the fireplace. Sprawled there on one of our comfy sofas, practically on his back, his ass nearly completely off the front edge of the seat cushion, his legs jutting way the hell out in EVERYBODY's way, was the Coot.

Lord, beer me strength.

The Coot, it turns out, was wearing a winter jacket that has, evidently, been steeped in cat urine. It's quite foul and quite unholy and he seems to be either quite unaware of it or is quite aware of it but just doesn't quite give a damn. Frankly either of those options seems plausible.

So because of our stubborn lack of policy allowing us to point out to stinky patrons that they are making our very EYES BLEED with their stench, we had to sit in his cat piss fumes for most of the business day.

Two days later, the Coot returned, but no longer smelled like cat piss. Ah, very good, we collectively thought. He'd washed his coat or has otherwise been given a heads up.

Nope.

A day later, he was back and pissy-smelling. Either he'd worn a different coat on the intervening day, or his cleaned coat had been given a fresh cat-spraying.

So far the War of the Stankites has not commenced in full, as no other members of the royal family have been present to defend their territory from this new aggressor. It's only a matter of time, though, before the battle for the throne commences and the valley runs yellow with the secretions of our enemies.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I work in a special library and odiferous patrons are generally not a problem here (aside from the security guard who drenches himself in aftershave) but The Daryls (our code names for them, after Daryl and his other brother Daryl from Newhart tv show) are an exception. They were in the day before yesterday. These farmer brothers always travel in a nauseating cloud of eau-de-pig barn, but this instance provided also vast quantities of personal B.O. Cleared the library in no time.

Monster Library Student said...

Ha ha ha...LOVED IT.

Working at an academic library in the Detroit area, we too get our share of stinky people!

Gardenbuzzy said...

Once again I am reminded of how very blessed I am to be working in a hospital liberry that by and large, the public does not have access to. (Actually, they don't know we're here.) For the most part our patrons are doctors, nurses and other health care professionals and staff for whom cleanliness is a way of life. Thank You Lord!!

Holley T said...

We don't really have that many stankites at the library where I work, but we do have Nasty Coffee Man. We offer free coffee to our patrons and he FREQUENTLY goes to the coffee service, pours the dregs from the discarded cups and drinks that puppy down....cold....during cold & flu season at that. We are all thoroughly grossed out everytime it happens.

Anonymous said...

So why isn't there a policy about personal hygiene for the library?
Surely your bath-abiding patrons are as put-off by the stinky ones and have made comments about them.

Jan said...

You're in trouble now, Juice. By mentioning all of those rogues by name, you are cursed to have a parade of all of them within the week.

PS. Love the "Beer Me Strength" reference!

Juice S. Aaron said...

Anonymous 2,

We'd love a hygiene policy and have looked into them, but my boss is still hesitant to add one. I imagine the embarassment of having to enforce one, for all parties involved, is one reason we've not added it.

The other, which she's stated, is that we're really hoping not to get sued. While suing people for flimsy reasons is a national craze, our state in particular has turned it into an artform. Many of our citizens feel its their God-given right to either get themselves "injured" and live off workman's comp for the rest of ther lives, or find some reason to sue someone--usually a doctor, but let's not get picky--and maybe get a nice windfall that way.

Beyond that, we could probably do something without policy if only someone really would complain. And not just Mr. B-Natural, who was going to complain about something anyway.

Anonymous said...

Juice,

We too have some rather odiferous patrons with their stank on. We DID have to get a policy and if there was enough space I'd go on. Suffice it to say, peep's eyes watered. peep's pukied and patrond left. The dandruff you could see from space. And yes, we actually used it to oust this patron.

Reference Librarian, Hell Community Library said...

I have often proposed stationing a staff member outside the liberry with a power washer to combat the stank. Thus far, my proposal has been shot down.