Monday, June 30, 2008

Last Minute Rogue Addition PART II (a.k.a. "Fifth Grumpiest Old Man in All the World Located At Last!")

Mrs. A, still mystified that our patron William Shatner would think she would intentionally move his position on a hold list due to some perceived but as-yet-unrevealed conflict between them, decided to do something about it.

The first thing she did was to call the patron who'd had Wililam Shatner's hold book out for two months and tell them to bring it back immediately. And, perhaps oddly, they actually obeyed and brought it back within a day. Soon it was waiting on the hold shelf for William Shatner and Ms. M had left a message on his machine to this effect.

Next up, Mrs. A gave William Shatner himself a call. I have no idea of the actual dialog of the call, but damn I wish I did. Instead, I have to rely on the bits of it Mrs. A later told me about.

Mrs. A said she started out, as usual, by being very friendly to William Shatner and explaining that she thought there had been some sort of misunderstanding. Unspoken in this was how he was clearly operating on some sort of odd idea of how libraries and their hold systems are run, not to mention that he seemed to have some ideas about Mrs. A's personal operating procedure that were at the very least uncharacteristic of her reality.

Oh, no, William Shatner said, there was no misunderstanding. None at all. He knew exactly how Mrs. A ran things down at the "liberry" and he knew she had moved him on the hold list for two months to keep him from getting the book. Furthermore, he really shouldn't even be talking to her at all on advice of his lawyer.

"His lawyer?" I exclaimed at this point in the retelling.

"Yeah," Mrs. A said. She then reported that William Shatner continued to ignore his lawyer's advice by telling her that he had inside information on how she ran our library and he didn't like it one bit. In fact, he'd spoken with a former employee of our library who had given him the complete skinny and he knew that Mrs. A ran things like a complete dictator and frequently moved patrons on the hold list when she didn't like them. No, sirree, she had not heard the last of this by any means. He'd been consulting with his lawyer and was going to have her job for this. He was going to take this straight to the board of directors. Mrs. A attempted to explain the actual situation, but he would hear none of it. And with that, William Shatner hung up.

Now, beyond the astounding nature of his claims and beyond the clearly unstable nature of his personality, the most surprising thing about his beef is the unnamed source he listed for his inside information. The way I immediately saw it, which turns out to be exactly the way Mrs. A saw it too, there's really only one person who fits the criteria to be both a disgruntled former employee and vengeful enough to spread such lies in order to create trouble like this.

"MS. S! It has to be MS. S!" I said. Yes, Eternal Newbie Greenhorn Ms. S, she who was let go without actually being fired nearly a year ago now. She's the only former employee bitter enough to pull off something like this. (Even former weekend warrior Miss E wouldn't bear this kind of hatred for us--after all SHE's the one who walked off the job without a word to us as to why.) Adding to the evidence was that Ms. S always worked weekends and was reportedly pretty chummy with William Shatner, who visits almost exclusively on weekends. My guess was that he'd run into her at her fast food job and struck up a conversation, at which point he might have mentioned that he was put out about not receiving his hold giving Ms. S the perfect opportunity to sew discord.

Mrs. A was just dumbfounded and kept saying she'd never been yelled at like that by a patron in many years. There was just no talking to him. No matter what she tried to say, he had already made up his mind that she was the devil and would hear nothing from her. Mrs. A wasn't angry about it herself, just mystified that someone could go off the rails as completely as William Shatner seemed to have done.

The whole situation made me angry. Again, here was someone who'd never given us problems who had completely lost his shit with us for mostly fictional reasons. For a bit, I considered phoning up William Shatner myself and trying to explain to him that he truly was off base in what he thought he knew. I wanted to tell him that he should consider that there might have been very good reasons his former-employee source was indeed a former employee and that he should further consider how this might cloud her objectivity in the matter and give her reason to tell him something other than the truth. I did not do this, however. If he was determined to make a fool of himself and throw his lot in with Ms. S, let him have at it.

Mrs. A immediately phoned the president of the board, Mr. Hooter, and told him what was going on and to expect some contact from William Shatner. To give Mrs. A actual evidence that she'd done no wrong, I went into the record for the book William Shatner wanted and printed out the detailed history of its brief time in our collection. It clearly showed when the book was added to the collection, the names of the people who'd been on hold for it, when they had been added to the hold list, how long each of the first two had kept the book, including the two months for hold #2, etc. Nowhere did it show any list order manipulation because there'd not been any.

The board of directors had a look at this, noted that William Shatner had failed to pick up his long anticipated book within the requisite number of days we'd informed him we'd hold it, asked Mrs. A to extend his hold time for five more days, and then Mr. Hooter wrote William Shatner a letter explaining that we'd not only extended the time but had also extensively looked into the matter, examined the records that had been concerning him and had found no wrongdoing whatsoever.

As of this writing, we've neither heard nor seen anything more from William Shatner himself. He never picked up his book and, from what we're told, has been patronizing other area libraries, complaining to them about how mean we all are.

As for Ms. S, she's still working in fast food and, from what the vine tells us, will likely not be rehired in the fall for her private school teaching position due to there not being enough students for the class to make. Maybe I should tell her that we'll have a position open here by the end of next week.

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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.