I have been working the reference desk more often lately, and it’s a task that I find enjoyable overall. I know that this may completely destroy my reputation as a serious cataloger, but whatever. I also comb my hair and have social skills, so my “serious cataloger” rep was already toast.
Anyhow, I have noticed that young men of a certain age seem to enjoy playing a game that I like to call “shock the librarian.” Usually this involves coming up to the reference desk and asking for something risque. (Usually it’s the Kama Sutra.) The transaction goes like this:
Patron: Hi, I am looking for a book.
Me: What can I help you find?
Patron: Well, I am looking for the (lowers voice to a whisper) Kama Sutra.
Me: Okay, let me see if we have any copies on the shelf. (Search, search, search). Here’s the call number.
Seriously, kids, if you want to shock the librarian, you’re going to have to up your game.
My favorite variation on this transaction? When all of the copies of the Kama Sutra are checked out, but the Kama Sutra for Dummies is on the shelf. I know it’s not November, so I can’t be part of that thankfulness meme that annoys me for the entire month of November, but I am thankful that our Collections Manager purchased a copy of the Kama Sutra for Dummies, because it allows me to say the following:
“I’m sorry, but all of our copies of the Kama Sutra are checked out. But we do have a copy of the Kama Sutra for Dummies available. Would you like that?”
There must be something about the holiday season that brings out our would-be librarian-shockers. In the last two weeks, I’ve experienced a lewd proposition via IM reference and a prank phone call! I won’t tell you what the lewd proposition said, because I don’t want the search engines to get the wrong idea about this infrequently-updated blog’s content, but the response I wanted to send was this:
“Sure! I’d love to do that! But first, I need to set down this gigantic Webster’s Dictionary…oops, I think I dropped that on your peen! Sorry to spoil the moment!!!!!!”
Instead, I just blocked the sender and closed the IM window, hoping that the other person working the desk, who was likely more shock-able than I, didn’t see the message.
The prank call started off like a legitimate request from a high school/college age boy. As in, “Hi, I need a book for my class/What are you looking for?” and then he starts giggling as he says, “the title is (laughs) vagina (laughs)…”
I’m thinking, “oh, he needs the Vagina Monologues, I’ll just start looking that up.”
Then he said “vagina” a few more times, followed by “ass,” while laughting uproariously, and hangs up.
Kid, seriously. I have a vagina. And also an ass. You’re calling a library. Most of us have both. Therefore, not shocking. Not at all. TRY HARDER.