You Said It Wrong, Son

, , , , , | Right | October 11, 2017

(Granted, southern people tend to blur words together or pronounce them differently, but this one takes the cake. It is busy at this time at the library; we have just finished our story hour we have every week for preschoolers, so there’s a ton of people at the desk waiting to be checked out. A grandmother comes up to my desk to check out books for her grandson.)

Grandmother: *sweetly* “Do I have anything else out?”

Me: “Just one called The Son, by Philipp Meyer.”

Grandmother: *suddenly irate* “I’ve never checked that out!”

(I go through the spiel about her double-checking at home to make sure she really doesn’t have it there, and I offer to check upstairs on the bookshelf for it and call her later since we are so busy.)

Grandmother: “Go check. Now.”

(I am irritated because there are lines of people and she’s being so rude, but I know she probably left it at home. Most patrons who claim to have never checked out a particular book really do have it somewhere. While upstairs, I overhear a coworker ask her if she is being helped. She says yes in a snippy tone, pointing upstairs to me, but asks my coworker for the name of the book again.)

Coworker: “It’s The Son, by Philipp Meyer.”

Grandmother: “How’s it spelled?”

Coworker: “M-e-y-“

Grandmother: “No, the title.”

Coworker: “S-o-n.”

Grandmother: “Oh! I thought she meant The Sun, kinda like the one in the sky. Oh, yeah, I still have that at home by the bed.”

(With that, she left. I wondered how different I said “son” from “sun,” seeing as we’re both from the same Deep South town.)

Should Have Banned Their Aid

, , , , | Right | September 29, 2017

(I am at the information desk when a customer approaches.)

Customer: “My son tore the plastic covering off this picture book, but we put it back together again.”

(She hands me a picture book with half the plastic jacketing torn off and held in place with at least ten bandaids. The bandaids are attached to the actual cover of the book in some areas where the jacketing is missing.)

Me: “Bandaids?”

Customer: “We didn’t have any sticky tape.”

Me: “Ma’am, we can’t accept this. We can’t loan a book out in this condition.”

Customer: “I fixed it, though.”

Me: “With bandaids. I’ll be entirely honest, if you had just left it we could have re-jacketed the book, but you’ve attached bandaids to the actual cover.”

Customer: “And we fixed the inside, too.”

(I flick through the book to find bandaids holding two lift-the-flap pieces in place.)

Me: “Yeah… I’m going to have to charge you a replacement fee for this one.”

Customer: “Why, though?”

Me: “Because you’ve covered the book in bandaids.”

Customer: “I think it’s fine to read this way.”

Me: “Well, the good news is that once you pay for a damaged item, it’s yours to keep.”

Customer: “I don’t want to keep that! It’s all torn and covered in bandaids!”

Me: “Exactly.”

Elementary (School), My Dear Teacher

, , , , , | Learning | September 27, 2017

(This happens in the fourth grade. My teacher is reading from a popular series of mystery novels for children. When it comes to the part of the story where the detective is about to solve the case, the teacher stops reading.)

Teacher: “Now, can anyone here solve this mystery?”

Me: “I can!”

(I then proceed to lay out, in a very methodical manner, step-by-step, the criminal’s entire plot and the evidence that led to the detective discovering him. My teacher, and the entire class, stand there agog at my deductive reasoning. After some stunned silence, the teacher speaks.)

Teacher: “Um…yeah. That’s exactly right. How on earth did you ever figure that out?”

Me: “Well, um, I’ve already read this one.”

Too Young For “It,” Never Too Young For Reading

, , , , , | Friendly | September 24, 2017

(I go to my local bookstore for the next installment of a series I’m currently reading. I find my book quickly and decide to browse the rest of the “Newly Released” shelves. The following two interactions happen within minutes of each other. A mother and high school-aged daughter stand beside me to look at the new releases.)

Mother: “Oh! I heard these two were both good!”

(I glance over and see she’s holding copies of “Everything, Everything” and “Before I Fall” for her daughter to see.)

Daughter: “Nah, I saw the movies already; I don’t need to read the books.”

Me: *eye twitches*

(Ten minutes later, a girl is walking by with her mother. She spots a display for Stephen King’s “IT” and runs over excitedly.)

Girl: “This one! I want to read this one!” *starts to pick up a copy*

Mom: “Oh, no! You don’t want that book. It’s scary!”

Girl: “But I like scary!”

Mom: “You’re too young to read that; put it back.”

Girl: *slowly puts the book down and glances over at me*

Me: *giving her a thumbs-up* “When you’re old enough to read it, you’ll love it!”

Girl: *smiles and follows her mother to the register*

(Faith lost a little and then restored in under twenty minutes!)

Memoirs Of A Grader

, , , | Learning | September 21, 2017

(I am in a creative writing course. Our teacher gives us an assignment for which we must write about a profound change that occurs to a character in one of our favourite books. Basically, it has to be a life-changing event for the character, and has to directly cause their main journey in the book. We also have to use quotes that prove this point. I choose my favourite novel, “Memoirs of a Geisha.” I write about how the life-changing event for the character is having a man come into her life, early on in the novel, and take her away from her fishing village to where she becomes a geisha. The main character literally talks about how this change affects her life, and how she wouldn’t be a geisha if this hadn’t happened. I include that quote, confident I will receive a high mark, and am shocked when I only get a C.)

Me: “I don’t understand why I got this mark. You wrote that this couldn’t be ‘the life-changing event of the novel.’ Why?”

Teacher: “That quote you included happened on the first page of the book. A life-changing event can’t happen that early on.”

Me: “…you mean the quote where she says, ‘my life was forever changed by this man’?”

Teacher: “If that’s the quote that you said happened on page one, then yes. See, the event has to happen later on in the novel, and has to completely change the main character’s life.”

Me: “…the main character is literally saying this IS the life-changing event for her with that quote. It couldn’t be any clearer. Yes, she says that on page one, but it’s to foreshadow what happens later on in the book. The book is called Memoirs of a Geisha; if this event I’m talking about didn’t take place, she would have never become a geisha. There wouldn’t even be a book.”

Teacher: “It’s still too early in the book. The event shouldn’t happen on the first page.”

Me: “It doesn’t! Didn’t you read further on and see where I got the other quotes? The meeting between her and the man doesn’t happen until later. I just included that quote from the first page because she is saying the experience was life-changing.”

Teacher: “Well, there must be something else that happens further along in the book that’s more important. It can’t take place on the first page.”

(She refused to change my mark because I used a quote from the first page. I never saw her again after I finished the course, and I really want to meet her again so I can shove my English degree in her face.)

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