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Robin Rose Yuran gifts us with"MORE STUFF BARB DONâ€™T WANTToday's installment:WHAT IS THIS, GENERAL HOSPITAL?Can wastebaskets fly? You bet they can. Especially when the patron by the Xerox machine groans, slumps to a chair and declares, â€œIâ€™m going to throw up.â€? Thereâ€™s nothing quite like seeing a complete stranger barf in the library. When my daughter was young, she coined the terrific onomatopoeic phrase â€œbeelatâ€? for vomit. Yup, that was pretty accurate for the sound effects of yesterdayâ€™s unpleasantness. It sort of put me off my elevensies. Remember folks, the medical stuff all happens on my shift. So far in my career Iâ€™ve had plenty of pause for alarm: Once, a patron tried to commit suicide by taking a lot of pills in a far-off stack and â€œfalling asleep.â€? A fellow librarian happened to mention Mr. So and So had been acting strangely. Well, one would pretty much have to, trying to choke down roughly 200 capsules, (surprising he didnâ€™t beelat) before deciding to take a final nap; that pretty much red-flagged me and saved his sorry ass. What bothered me the most, besides the obvious, was that later on he told me that he wanted to be found reading a good book- sure enough, I recalled his glasses had been neatly folded on top of a blue-bound copy of Platoâ€™s Republic. I found this sadly contrived. I told a trustee who remarked, â€œNewsflash! Platoâ€™s Republic is not a good book.â€?
Last year, a patron suffered cardiac arrest right next to the circ desk and dropped like a tree. I didnâ€™t know a human being could turn that blue that fast. Neither did I know CPR, so I tossed the phone to an intern, told him to call 911, and turned into The Shouter. The medic who arrived first on the scene recalls that I kept shouting over and over again â€œLive, damn it!â€? I guess it was the only strategy I could muster- raging against the dying of the light. I suggested that perhaps the ambulance crew could institute a new position, you know, after the defibrillator fails, as a last resort- â€œCall in The Shouter!â€? Ever since the incident, I make sure to wear a nice bra, just in case it happens to me- after seeing the medics just yank that shirt up, in front of the whole world, Iâ€™ve decided to err on the side of caution. I joke with the vic now, heâ€™s fine- I do a sign of the cross motion and say, â€œNo dying on my shift!â€?
Non-life threatening, but just as disturbing, a five-year-old kid once pulled his pants down, squatted and took a large dump in bio. It was pretty much a STUFF BARB DONâ€™T WANT moment and phrase of our lives- for the longest time afterwards, I could always crack up a colleague by saying at random- â€œWell, I think Iâ€™ll go take a crap in bio now.â€?
One time I had a peculiar patron who was convinced that her husband, a prominent citizen of the community, was trying to kill her. I have to say that at first I thought it might be true but after a while, decided not. She would come in to the library, Iâ€™d be trapped behind the circ desk, and she would regale me with his latest attempt- my personal favorite was the Pez dispenser on the stairs. This went on for several years and finally one day I asked her if she was bored with the whole thing- I was. I told her that something was troubling me; if he was trying to kill her, what was taking him so long? She didnâ€™t come back much after that."