Friday, May 09, 2008

Actual Conversations Heard in Actual Libraries #130

SETTING: My "liberry" as hard of hearing and fourth grumpiest old man in all the world, Mr. Dent, enters and approaches the desk, book in hand. He drops the book on the counter. It's Robert Ludlum's The Janson Directive.

MR. DENT May I ask you a personal question?

ME Okay.

MR. DENT (With great emphasis on the word "sir") How many of Sir Robert Ludlum's books have you read?


MR. DENT What?

ME (Louder) I haven't read any of them. My wife has, though.

MR. DENT Which ones did she like?

ME She liked the Bourne Identity series.

MR. DENT What?

ME (Louder) The Bourne Identity series.

MR. DENT Are they in?

ME Let me check. (Starts title search in OPAC)

MR. DENT Because if I had to base an opinion on this book, I wouldn't give him a good review. Too verbose. Too many characters. Too complicated. Not good.

(Looking down at the book for a moment to check if Janson's a Fake Shemp Erik Van Lustbader Mini-Ludlum or the full-size Ludlum. It's the full size Ludlum.) Looks like Bourne Identity is out.

MR. DENT Are there others?

ME Yeah, but Bourne Identity is the first one you should read.

MR. DENTWhat else did your wife like?

METhe Bourne Supremacy.

MR. DENTAh. Another Bourne. I'll wait.

(I consider informing him that "Sir" Robert Ludlum, as pointed out to me by my readers, was actually an American and therefore had not been knighted. However, Mr. Dent seems to take such joy in lording his mistaken knowledge over people that it's just as entertaining to let him keep at it. After he leaves, I put him on hold for The Bourne Identity.)


Anonymous said...

Yes, I'm pretty sure he won't like SIR Robert Ludlum's Bourne books. Or any in fact, since lots of characters and elaborate plots are kind of Ludlum's specialty.

Perhaps you should just suggest the movies ;).

Dave said...

The constitution technically forbids US citizens from having formal titles from other countries (e.g. being knighted). However, they can have "honorary" titles. General Paton got one after WWII.

Anonymous said...

We too have an extraordinarily grumpy old man who is hard of hearing. His specialty, however, is coming to the desk to complain that children are making too much noise, which means we have to speak at the top of our voices to tell him children are allowed to be in the building. We have to speak so loudly that he doesn't know when the children have stopped making the offending noise. Sometimes he goes right up to parents and tells them to take their kids away, which means we either have to tell him he can't do that or we have to step in to make sure some angry papa doesn't try to kick the grumpy old guy's ass.

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.