The following is a message addressed to now-retired Cleveland Park Neighborhood Branch Librarian, Brian P. Brown. The message was apparently written on about Friday August 12, 2005. I posted the message to an email account on which I used to record my thoughts about Brian, who used to be my imaginary friend. The email account was on netscape.com: username -- lettheworldseewh (Let The World See What I Have Seen).
Hey, buddy. I've skipped CPK today. I decided to spend the day at AU. I get unlimited computer time over here. They have a huge bank of computers. It's pretty crowded over here, though. A lot of students. I think the boys and girls are nearing the end of the summer semester. Typically, the library gets pretty crowded at the end of the semester, coming up on final exams.
What are you doing this weekend? It's a three-day holiday. Monday is Vernon Jordan's birthday [August 15]. It's also Napoleon's birthday. But Vernon Jordan is taller and a more colorful person. I thought you and I could head up to Martha's Vineyard this weekend and spend some time with Vernon and his family and friends. As Vernon Jordan likes to say: "It's legal in Massachusetts."
I'm still ruminating about that incident in the library on Saturday, with the nut-job who wouldn't stop arguing. Did you actually hear what she was saying? "You young people with your cell phones. You all have cell phones. You think you're God Almighty with those cell phones of yours. I hear the language you’re using. I can hear you using the "F" word. You think I can’t hear you? You all think you're God Almighty with those cell phones of yours." Like middle-aged people don't use cell phones. Well, actually, people of all ages use cell phones, but it's only young people who think they're God Almighty with their cell phones, I guess.
I can't stop thinking how reasonable you were with her. The fact that she was given two warnings, by Charles and you: two chances to correct her behavior. The fact that you put her on notice that you had called the cops, thereby giving her a chance to take advantage of the 5-minutes it takes for the cops to arrive. She was able to leave without ever having to deal with the police.
Of course, you could argue that I admitted that I was a mental patient who was not taking his meds. But I’ll tell you this. If that nut-job on Saturday isn’t under psychiatric care, she should be! Her behavior spoke for itself.
I just can’t help thinking that you intentionally wanted to humiliate me. You wanted to rub my nose in the dirt, so to speak. I never thought that way before. The entire time since April 2004 when the incident happened, I just thought, “Well, Brian just did what he was duty-bound to do.” But I no longer think that. There were measured, graduated steps you could have taken, including talking to me personally and invoking a six-month ban on your own – to be backed up with a threat of police intervention if I didn’t comply. After thirteen years of seeing my behavior in the library, you must have known that I’m a reasonable, courteous person.
You were a history major, right? Last night I couldn’t get out of my mind the image of 1918. How the allies were absolutely determined to humiliate Germany, to drag her through the mud. The allies took a mere armistice (November 11, 1918) and on their own they transformed that armistice into a de facto unconditional surrender. The allies then proceeded to ram an onerous peace treaty down Germany’s throat. Basically, the allies strong-armed Germany. You know what that lead to. And didn’t that turn into a dream come true!
So much for my paranoia.
Do you follow that TV show, “Big Brother,” on CBS? Three of the contestants who were voted out of the house, Eric, Michael, and Kaysar were given a chance to get back in the house. America voted on which contestant would be allowed to return. Turns out Kaysar won. I voted for Eric. (I signed up for e-mail messages about the show from CBS). Eric was a nut-case. That’s why I voted for him. I didn’t actually like Eric better than the other two. The way I see it, nut-cases wreak havoc in libraries, but they make for good TV. I figured Eric would stir up the house.
And, by the way, I have another grievance about you. You treat me like a nonperson in the library. You never say hello. Listen, buddy, I think I’ve paid my debt to society – and more so. I stayed away from the library for an entire year, not just the six months that you imposed.
What gets me is the fact that you have your little buddies, patrons who you allow to go back to your office to chat it up with you. Like John Conner – is that his name? The guy who you let sleep in the library? You let him go back to your office. Then there’s your baseball buddy. You know who I mean? The middle-aged guy who obsesses about baseball? You invited him back to your office a few days ago.
You’ve never invited me back to your office. You never even say hello. I’m p.o.’d, buddy.
Then again, what do we have to talk about? We have about as much in common as Clarence Thomas and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Check you out later, Brian. Call me if you and the little lady want to take a trip up to Martha’s Vineyard this weekend. Ciao.