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  • May Theme Of The Month: Movie Mayhem!

    Doesn’t Know When To Finnish

    | Canada | Crazy Requests, Language & Words, Rude & Risque

    (I’m teaching myself Finnish by talking to a friend over texts and by reading the newspaper clippings she sends me every now and then. It takes me a long time to read them, because I’m just beginning, so I do it in a library with a notebook to jot down notes. An elderly woman comes up while I am in the middle of getting my clippings, notebook, and pen out.)

    Woman: “Oh! What are you doing there? Learning Arabic or something?”

    (I look down at the very obviously not-Arabic text.)

    Me: “Nope, actually Finnish.”

    Woman: “What?”

    Me: “Finnish? Suomi?”

    Woman: *annoyed* “Are you telling me you don’t want to talk to me?”

    Me: “No, miss, I’m just saying that I’m teaching myself Finnish, the language from Finland.”

    Woman: *finally clicks* “Oh! I’m so sorry! I keep sticking my foot in it!”

    Me: “Not a problem, ma’am.”

    (I go to start working, and then I see the headline and stop.)

    Woman: “What’s the problem? You can’t do it?”

    Me: “No, ma’am, it’s just I’m not sure this story is quite appropriate.”

    (I go to turn the page, but the woman snatches the clipping away and looks at it, bewildered.)

    Woman: “Don’t be ridiculous; how hard could it be?”

    Me: “Finnish isn’t related to English, so it’s unlikely you’d be able to recognize much.”

    Woman: “You’re just faking; [you’re] trying to pick up women by looking clever! I f****** hate you f****** a**-holes who think they can fool people! You’re just a f****** b****** who thinks he’s so smart! D*** f****** kids these days!”

    (The woman flings the clipping back down and storms off. I begin translating, saying it as I write just loud enough for her to hear.)


    An Unlikely Story

    | WA, Australia | Books & Reading, Liars & Scammers, Money, Theme Of The Month

    (I have been checking books back in that have been left on our returns desk and come across a new book that has been badly damaged by what looks to be coffee. When the patron comes back to the circulation desk, I show her the book.)

    Me: “Good morning! I’ll check those out for you in just a moment. Unfortunately because this book has been damaged quite badly, we won’t be able to have it in our collection any more. The replacement cost will be [dollar amount]; are you able to pay now or should I send an invoice out?”

    Patron: “Oh, it was like that when I took it out!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but we’d never loan something in that condition, and as it was on your membership, you are liable for the damage done to it while on loan.”

    Patron: “I didn’t do it! You can’t prove I did it! It must have been the person before me! I won’t pay! It’s been like that for ages.”

    Me: “Ma’am, this is a new book. We only got it last month and the only person to have it before you was I. And I can assure you, I didn’t spill coffee on this book.”

    (There is a long pause.)

    Patron: “Um, how much was it?”

    The Odds Of Her Believing Are Ever In Your Favor

    | MD, USA | Books & Reading, Family & Kids, Theme Of The Month

    (I overhear the following conversation between a boy who is about 12, and his grandmother.)

    Grandmother: “What are you reading there?”

    Boy:The Hunger Games.”

    Grandmother: “What’s that about?”

    Boy: “Don’t worry Grandma. It’s about these kids who enter a Hungry Hungry Hippos tournament, and the winner wins a bag of candy!”

    Grandmother: “Oh. That sounds nice!”

    Didn’t Read The Signals

    | WA, USA | Books & Reading, Family & Kids, Technology, Theme Of The Month

    (I overhear a library patron talking to his small daughter.)

    Patron: “You’re turning five today; do you know what that means?”

    Daughter: “Uh…”

    Patron: “Do you know what you finally get today? It’s so exciting!”

    Daughter: “A pink Nintendo DS?!”

    Patron: “What? Uh, no. We’re getting you a library card.”

    Me: “…weeee! Happy birthday!”

    Doesn’t Make A Lycan Sense

    | USA | Books & Reading, Geeks Rule, Pets & Animals

    (We get a lot of kids at the library where I work. One of our regular customers, who’s about eight years old, walks up to me.)

    Customer: “[My name], I have an important question.”

    Me: “Yes?”

    Customer: “Are werewolves real?”

    Me: “Nope, werewolves are made up.”

    (He looks taken aback, like that wasn’t the response he was expecting.)

    Customer: “What?! But, but wolves are real!”

    Me: “Right. But wolves are wolves, and people are people.

    Customer: “Huh?”

    Me: “If you’re born a wolf, you’re a wolf for the rest of your life. If you’re born a person, you’ll stay a person. So since you were born a person, you’ll never turn into a wolf.”

    (The customer thinks about this for a minute.)

    Customer: “That doesn’t make any sense!”

    (The customer walks away, slowly shaking his head.)

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