Monday, November 28, 2005

The Truth About De-Evolution

I work as a librarian at a public library in Baltimore. Sometimes librarians are asked questions that test the limits of human comprehension. This is one such encounter. The following is a verbatim account of a telephone query that a co-worker experienced firsthand and later recounted to me. If anyone out there is seriously considering a career as a public Librarian, be forewarned that one day you may have to answer questions like this.

Librarian: Hello? Could you tell me what you're looking for?

Patron: I need to know what instruments I can use to stop evolutionary processes.

Librarian: Um... OK[?]. What sort of evolutionary processes?

Patron: Animal diseases! The evolutionary processes cause disease and I need to know what equipment I need in order to stop it!

Librarian: Hmm.... well, we uh have books on animal health and books on evolution. Would those interest you?

Patron: Not really. All I need to know is what EQUIPment I need to stop this animal disease. They just won't respond to anything, you see. It causes psychiatric disease.

Librarian: [lying] I see. [/lying] Um... let me go get some books

Patron: OK! But don't take but 10 minutes!

[I go to shelves, hoping to find some info on home veterinary equipment that will satisfy this lunatic.]

Librarian: [hoping he's hung up the phone] Hello, sir?

Patron: Yes?


Librarian: I'm looking, but not finding anything here... I don't know that I can answer your question. I think the general recommendation is to leave uh..invasive care of animals to veterinarians... professional veterinarians. Maybe I just don't really understand what you're looking for. It might be best if you could look at the materials yourself. I can send some books to a branch for you.

Patron: OK.

Librarian: Where would you like me to send them?

Patron: My house.

Librarian: Um, we can only send books to private homes of people who are registered for this service with the Circulation Department. Are you registered?

Patron: I don't know, but I don't have a library card.

Librarian: OK, I'm not going to be able to send you books.

Patron: Listen, I JUST NEED TO KNOW WHAT EQUIPMENT I NEED TO STOP EVOLUTIONARY PROCESSES. It's as simple as that. Can you just print a couple of pages and send them to me?

Librarian: [desperate to get off the phone with him, this actual conversation has been going on for about 20 minutes] Um, Ok. Could you tell me the address?

Patron: Yes! It's 6847 Parsons Avenue, but keep in mind that might not be correct. I don't know whether it's in the city or county. Now, do you know the zip code there?

Librarian: Um, no.

Patron: Well, it might be 21217, but that might not be right. OK, now
information on equipment for stopping evolutionary processes and animal
disease, OK?

Librarian: [lying again] Sure sure. OK, have a good morning.

Patron: You, too.

Scientist shown stopping evolutionary process of feline


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think your library patron could have been the guy in this Esquire article:

Dr. E. Fuller Torrey thinks he's found the leading cause of schizophrenia: house cats

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