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Some People Will Prick Anything To Be Offended About

, , | Right | April 18, 2022

I work in a library. One of my assistants is very crafty, so I let her do the bulletin board displays in the teen center. A few days after she puts a new board up, an older gentleman comes up to me at the reference desk, flustered and clearly angry.

Patron: “I need to speak to a manager!”

Me: “That would be me; I’m in charge of reference. How can I help you?”

Patron: “That board in the teen center is obscene! How could you allow something so filthy to be put up?! Especially in a library!”

I haven’t had a chance to look at her new boards yet, so I get up and walk over there with the angry man trailing along behind, spewing righteous indignation about the decay of morals, etc.

I look at the board and almost laugh: my assistant has put up cut-outs of various forms of cacti along with the words, “I hope you pricked a good book!”. While some of the cacti do look mildly phallic, I know my assistant didn’t mean it and honestly, I find the whole thing very funny. I put on my best game face, though, and turn back to the angry patron.

Me: “I’m sorry, I’m not sure what the issue is? Because you could prick yourself on the needles from the cactus?”

Patron: *Bright red* “Oh, I, uh… That’s not how I saw it…”

Me: “Well, how did you see it? Can you explain why it’s offensive?”

Patron: *Muttering* “Never mind.”

He shuffled away. I had a good laugh about it, but a few days later, another patron complained for the same reason so I asked my assistant to take it down. She was confused until I explained it to her, and then she was completely mortified. She told me it wasn’t intentional, and I assured her that I knew that. It really was a cute bulletin board, though.

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