It's Monday morning, and I'm groggy and having a hard time getting myself in gear for the week. And almost first thing this morning I had to deal with gross stuff.

     First off, one of my library regulars came in, a boy who likes to hang out at the circ desk right by me, like Norm or Cliff from Cheers. With me being Sam the bartender, nodding and listening patiently. Unfortunately, this kid is from a family that doesn't value hygiene or cleanliness, and the poor kid even TOLD me that they finally did laundry just yesterday, and that before that, all last week he wore the same clothes every day. This kid has the potential to be an interesting, good guy, but he has some cognitive issues, plus a family that doesn't make sure he's clean. 

     He may have been wearing recently-washed clothes this morning, but HE still smells like he did last week. And it's not good. Sort of a biting urine smell, with a soupçon of sweat and must. I think I may have to talk to the health clerk, and see if she talks to kids with hygiene issues. I definitely don't want him to feel bad or embarrassed, so it needs to be handled delicately.

     I also had a load of about 12 textbooks stuffed into the return slot at the very end of the day last Friday, right before I left. The drop slot clearly says, "DO NOT RETURN TEXTBOOKS HERE," but maybe whoever left the books didn't notice the giant bold red letters. Anyway, this morning I saw them sitting there, and while the kid with the hygiene problem was talking to me, I started quickly going through them and slapping post-its with the department teachers' names to return them to.

     I also had other kids printing and checking books out, so it took me a few minutes, being distracted by multi-tasking, before my internal YUCK sensor started blaring. My hands were becoming coated in some kind of sticky film of grossness. I finally looked carefully at the lost-and-found textbooks, and realized they were all coated in the sticky film. It was sort of a dirty sludge, completely covering the front and back covers of ALL the textbooks that had been so kindly dropped into the library's return slot.

     I don't know if it was mold, or if something spilled all over them. For some reason, I picture the books sitting in a forgotten corner of the boys' locker room, slowly acquiring a layer of moist germs. I think this is most likely.

     I spent several frantic minutes digging in drawers for a bag large enough to hold all of them, then finally settled on a cardboard box, which I taped up very securely and labeled in bold black marker, "MOLDY TEXTBOOKS - TRASH" I don't want these books finding their way BACK to me, ever again.

     Then I washed my hands thoroughly, washed them AGAIN, and then used some hand sanitizer. But I still feel contaminated. 

NOTE: The textbooks were all old enough that none of them had the tracking barcodes we've been using for almost 3 years. One of them was from another school in the district, and yet another was from a completely different school district. So who knows how long they've been sitting... wherever. I'd love to offer a hearty FUCK YOU to the person who dumped them on ME.


     Last week our field custodian brought me a textbook (the one you see above) he'd found out by the baseball field. Somebody had set the book on fire in the press box, then tried to put it out with a fire extinguisher stolen from the English wing.
     I have no idea if the same person set it on fire AND tried to put it out, but I like to imagine one of our hyper-disciplined over-achievers having a moment of wild rebellion and then panicking and trying to do damage control. Maybe sobbing, covered in flame-retardant foam, moaning, "What have I done....?"
     At any other school this would be a standard bit of vandalism, but here it's actually surprising.
     As you can see in the picture, it's kind of arty and fascinating, taken out of context. It left a drift of sandy particles all over my desk.


          Yesterday was the last day of school for students, so the custodians must have cleaned out lockers last night.  When I walked into the Library this morning, grimy wayward textbooks and binders were all over the checkout desk, and piled high on my desk chair.  Seriously, most of them were covered in a thin film of sticky dirty grime.  I said, "Fuck THIS, man!" because I really hate dealing with textbooks.  They are not Library property, we don't purchase them or store them, and we're not responsible for them.  So there.
          Anyway, I turned and saw this enticing Toll House chocolate chip cookie box sitting on the table behind the circ desk, with lurid cookie pics all over it, and for a moment thought, "Oh!  A gift for ME?  For making the Library so awesome?"  But no, upon closer inspection it was filled with dirty, greasy old combination padlocks the kids didn't want anymore, or left on their lockers, or something.
          This is what the end of the school year is like, though.  Everyone madly trying to dump a bunch of crap on somebody else before they leave for summer break.