Thursday, August 13, 2009

This is Not a Book Review


This is a confession.

I am a bad person. A very, very bad person. The kind you walk around in a big, wide, suspicious circle way off into the grass if you have to pass me on the sidewalk. Maybe hold the children's hands and pull them in a little closer against you as I go by.

I am evil. And rotten.

I have a book I should've returned to the local library (Yes, the Butt-on-Horn library. That one.) a long time ago, in a month that rhymes with spittoon. It is now officially fifty-something days overdue and both of my parents just fell out of their respective chairs as they read this and died of embarrassment. Sorry Mom and Dad. Rest in peace. You raised me better. Yes, you did. Take comfort.

My sister, the library volunteer, is covering her children's eyes.


My friend Lainey? A semi-retired professional librarian? Forget it.

Y'all know I'll never hear from her again.

Upon my death, years hence, my children will find among my papers and belongings the two (TWO!) Overdue Materials Notices I've received. And Peabody will look them over carefully and raise his eyes to meet Bean's, and he'll gently take her hand to steady her as he says, Bean. Our mother was a ... a ... delinquent.

And they'll cry until they retch and then be forced to re-evaluate everything they ever believed about me, in the burning, ugly light of this new and painful discovery.


And the worst part is? It's a Little House on the Prairie book.


What would little Half-Pint say?

What would PA say?

I'm not too lazy to return the book. Oh, if it were only that simple, I'd gladly jump in the truck and drive up to the library and drop it in the slot. And then gun it out of the parking lot. Under cover of darkness. I'm all about a little road trip, no matter what time of day I've got to do it to keep the book police off my tail.

It's just. It's the humiliation, you know? I just think it's shameful to be so abhorrently negligent, although that doesn't stop me from perpetrating this sort of evil all over town, really. Like that one time I just gave up and pushed a shopping cart into the middle of parking space beside me and drove off, hoping it'd stay put, because Peabody REALLY WANTED TO GO HOME AND EAT.

You know, I still to this day worry about what might've happened to that cart.

And those people in that library - they will JUDGE me. I know this, because I worked in the library, right there at the circulation desk where such abominable wrongs are righted, for all three of my years at Easley Junior High, and I judged. Oh yes it happens all the time, we'd say, No problem we completely understand, we'd sing-song to them as we accepted their fine money and slipped the key into the lock of the grey metal box and dropped in their coins with what sounded like a conciliatory clink-clink-clink.

And then as they slunk back out the front door, the truth came out: Rabble-rouser! Can you believe some people? Probably jay-walks, too. Disregards leash-laws. Wears white after Labor Day. Yes, that's how it really is, people. Behind that friendly library-calm, humble public-servant smile, they'll be pegging me for a common literary thug. They'll lump me, ME!, into the same category with all the other book-hogging miscreants who don't return their media to the library in a timely fashion for the enjoyment of other patrons.

I'll be one of THOSE people, to them.

And that just chafes at me.

So the book just sits. And gets overduer.

And overduer.

And overduer.

What on earth am I going to do?

Besides the obvious, I mean.

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  1. Take it back! My library could name a wing after me, with all the fines I have paid. And the library is across the street and I can renew online! And still I end up with late items. You will feel so much better once the book is safely at the library.

    I do wish they would implement an online system for paying the fine though.

  2. Oh yes, we have an online payment system. Takes out most of the shame.

  3. We had a lost library book and I would not call to say we could not find it until it had a few months worth of fines. I didn't want to be "the book loser family"!! Finally, I had no other choice because we really needed to check out some more books for school and I had to admit that we lost a book. They made me pay the cost of the book which was actually only about 1/5 of what the fine would have been and then about 2 weeks later we found that stupid book. NOW, I paid for it but do I keep it? It has the library named stamped all through it and I could never read it again to my kids because I just can't face opening a book that I bought but I just can't feel like it is mine and the kids still refer to it as "the library book". Do I take it back all these months later and beg them to let me pay the thousand dollar fine that it should have been by now instead of the tiny amount I bought it for? Do I return it and call it even? Do I let it continue to taunt me from the bookcase for all eternity? OH MEGAN, I Feel your Pain girl!!!

  4. I can go one worse for you.

    Once I took Riley to the library and he picked out 6 or 7 books. And two weeks later, just before they were due, I took them all back. A week later I got an overdue notice in the mail. I tossed it aside thinking, "That must be a mistake, I know I took them back on time." And then I got ANOTHER notice. I got mildly annoyed because I just KNEW I had taken them back. A day early, even! THEN I got a phone call about the overdue book. And I argued and argued and swore up and down, "I took them back on time. No, I do NOT have that book here. I KNOW that I brought it back with all the others!" I hung up the phone quite angry. The NERVE of those people, accusing ME of stealing.

    You know what happened the very next day? I found the book. Oh yes I did. And I had to drag my sorry bum in there and give it back. It was humiliating, even more so because the person I argued with on the phone was the person who took my money for the fine! We have NOT been back to the library since then. I keep telling myself it doesn't matter anymore but I was MORTIFIED. I still feel so bad when I think about it, haha.

  5. Trust me, they would rather have you return the book late than steal it. You are so funny. Just bring it back with your apologies. I am sure it happens all of the time.

  6. Oh my word! I don't know if I can continue to read your blog. I had no idea my bloggy friend was such a delinquent! I'll try to get over it though!

  7. Ok, but it's not so bad. This spring I paid a (I kid you not) $60 library fine. My hubby nearly died and revoked my library card.

  8. Ask if they have a "fine free return day." Just recently saw that at a library - return all overdue books & get away free kind of thing. ;-) I feel your pain though. Truly I do.

  9. Girl, you are too funny. I guess you could tuck it away and after you're gone, Bean and Peabody could find the book and return it 50 years later and be on the Today Show for finding a "lost" book. And Bean can relate the Horn story and say, "You know I remember the day Momma took me to the library and we checked this book out." And you'll be watching on your cloud in Heaven having a big laugh about the whole thing.

    PS...since we grew up near the same places, did you go to Easley High School too? B/c my school always played them in football if we made it to upper-state champs.

  10. Don't they have a book drop? Go throw it in there, along with a few dollars! :)

  11. At least the fine is for a good cause, right? That's what I always tell myself, anyway. And then I try not to let my husband find out ;)

  12. Print out a copy of this blog and tape it to the cover of the book when you return it! They'll laugh so hard that they will forget to talk trash about you;-)

  13. I tell you, You are one of THOSE people that I have tried to stay away from all my like, but for some reason are just drawn to them.. I think you will eventually be forgiven but you better get that book back there pretty darn soon... sister

  14. I paid $22 in fines today. Sister was talkin' some TRASH about me... mmhmm

  15. I've got TWO worse than that:
    First, my dog ate almost 300 dollars in library books, several of them out of print. I had to carry the pieces of books, complete with teeth marks, to the librarian and explain that my dog was medicated, but obviously, not enough.

    Second, we had to pay $200 in library fines when I was potty training the twins b/c they ripped up several library books and then smeared poop on them.

    Fortunately, we moved and they outgrew their poop smearing ways, so we can go the library now, where we incur late fees with shocking regularity. And we feel no shame. Because it could TOTALLY be worse.

  16. How much do I love that Lainey paid library fines. See we all are delinquint. Throw them in the drop box and speed off in a getaway car!!

  17. So happy - just found you today and enjoy your writing.

    I can hardly go back to the library after we paid, duh, duh, duh... $50.00 for a book that was on my daughter's library card and apparently lost in the trunk of a car somewhere or something... darn book. And the library? It's in Easley. Yep. How's that for a small world. Just don't tell. It'll be all over town in a skinny minute. You know it.

  18. Well, welcome, Amy J! Really? The EASLEY library? The new one? (Isn't it beautiful? I love that place!) I told a story about the Easley library (the old one) a while back. Here's a link, just for my new Easley pal!

  19. I had such an awful, wretched experience at our library in England...just trying to GET a stinkin' library card...that I haven't even tried to get a card here! And we've been back for nearly 2 years! (the hairs on the back of my neck are standing up at the thought!)
    I'm with Carrie...put a $10 in the book, and consider it a 'donation' to the library. :o)

  20. Ah, shoot. Like Lora Lynn, I'm a frequent delinquent (how do you like that for a rhyme? that could totally be the name of a band) and I never let it stop me. As someone else above said, I just consider it my way of supporting the local public library.

    As you might recall, much MUCH worse things can happen IN the library. The librarians here have already judged the heck out of me, so I got nothin' to lose, really.

    Bring on the fines! I say. You can't keep me away.

    PS - you are hilarious and I will forever be envious of your delicious storytelling.

  21. I feel your pain.

    I work at a library. I can take the elevator down a couple of floors to renew my books. I can renew online too.

    Still, it never fails. I have late fees every time I manage to get my books back (usually after renewing them a couple of time already).

  22. I'm sure our library back home had to totally revise their annual budget after we moved away and they no longer regularly collected overdue fines from me. Silly since I was in there 2-3 times a week. But remembering to return the books in a timely manner seemed beyond my ability. And I rarely took my purse in either. So once in a while when I did have my purse with me I'd ask Mary how much I owed and she'd tell me and I'd get paid up. 'Til the next time. They didn't worry -- they knew I was good for it :-)

  23. Boy, at the comments on that blog. What I want to know is, "Did you read the book?" and was it worth the dough you will eventually have to cough up?

    You are soooooo funny!!!!!!! Mom

  24. You know? My daughter (2.5 years old) has actually lost two library books this summer. Only God knows how that has happened. And honestly? I wasn't feeling even a bit of shame. I planned to go in, pay for the books, and right the wrong. What's the harm, when I'm paying them back for the books at quite a premium price?

    But, now that you've clued me in to what happens when I walk away from that desk...I have quite a bit of anxiety about the task ahead of me. I hate getting judged.

    :( Better get it over with pulling off a band-aid.

  25. Our local librarian told me that libraries actually *love* overdue books...because the overdue charges brings in funding for new books. So look on the bright side and consider it a favor you've done to your local library! ;)

  26. Maybe Al could take it back for you when he takes the kids to the library and gives you a little time to yourself. xoxo Julie

  27. Maybe Al could take it back for you when he takes the kids to the library and gives you a little time to yourself. xoxo Julie

  28. My husband has not used his library card for TEN YEARS, because they say he didn't return a video that he swears he did return. Now there's a man who sticks to his guns, no matter that he could just PAY the $19.95 (now compounded with interest) and have his library life restored to him . . . :o)
    -- Nancy

  29. I have not stepped foot in our local library for three years. Because of this very thing. *hanging my head in shame*

  30. I love the fact that I am not the only soul in this world who feels absolute shame at having overdue books.

    Let me make you feel a little bit better, though.

    I am a school librarian, and I probably have the highest overdue fine list on my public library record in my little local library.

    I am not proud of it, and, matter of fact, I consider it my "donation" to my local community when I pay my fines.

  31. I am with Karen. You are really "helping" by having it overdue...bringing in new books. Look at it that way, and ignore the snide comments that will venture into your head.

    Did you read it? Your mom asked a good question there too...

  32. Oh Megan you are hilarious. People should be knocking down your door with offers to write a book. And that overdue book you have, you could wait for the month that rhymes with remember and hope there is a food drive to forgive the fine you've accrued. Not that I know from experience or anything.

  33. Your post made me laugh because I AM one of those people. I have two or three books in my personal library that were so overdue that I had to buy them from the library. Once I had an overdue fine of $48 (actually, probably more than once but I'll only confess to once). It's a sickness (lol).