TR (ANNC): And now-from the hushed reading room of the Herndon County Library. We bring you: Ruth Harrison, Reference Librarian.
(MURMURS OF PATRONS, UNDER)
SS: Oh it's wonderful, seeing people in the library. One of the nice things about hard times -- people who used to order books online, buy them willy-nilly, put it on a credit card -- now they realize they can read those books for free. Borrow them. From a library. What a great idea. It's been around for a couple hundred years and now it's being rediscovered.
TK (TEEN): Miss Harrison, we've got a line of people waiting for computer time. People are getting sort of nasty.
SS: This is the challenge of the librarian -- to take these patrons who've come in to use the computer, or to use the toilet, or to read some auto repair manual, and to direct them to Jane Austen -- to Turgenev -- to Joyce Carol Oates.
TR (LOUD): You the librarian?
SS: Yes, sir, I am. How may I help you?
TR (LOUD): Yeah -- I'm looking for a book with a lot of pictures that's about history.
SS: I see. And which particular era of history are you interested in, sir?
TR (LOUD): The whole thing. All of it.
SS: World history or American history or --
TR (LOUD): All of that. Both of them. Everything. (CELLPHONE RING) Oh excuse me. My cellphone. (HE FLIPS IT OPEN) Yeah? -- (VOICE) Oh hi. --(VOICE) Yeah, I'm at the library. (VOICE) The library!
SS: Sir, if you don't mind--
TR (LOUD): You say they found a cyst? Really. (VOICE) A big one? Wow. In the crease. Boy, that is something.
SS: Sir, if you'd look at the sign over there--
TR (LOUD): Well, I noticed that big red thing but I thought it was a pimple, not a cyst. --(VOICE) Uh huh. -- (VOICE) Uh huh. -- Hard as a rock, huh. -- Boy o boy.
GK: Is there another line I could stand in please?
SS: You're not allowed to check out atlases, sir. They're for the reference room.
GK: Yes I know that but I just had a question about this one. Whether Australia is a country or a continent...
TR (LOUD): You said there's a rash? (VOICE) And green pus. Huh. (VOICE) Did they poke it or something? Cause how else would it erupt like that?
GK: Do you mind? How about you just do that outside.
TR (LOUD): Hang on a second-there's some jerk here telling me what to do.
GK: I don't want to hear your conversation.
TR (LOUD): Are you getting in my face? (VOICE) This jerk is getting in my face.
GK: I just want you to go outside-
TR (LOUD): Yeah I'm just here at the library, minding my own business, and this big weasel comes and gets in my face and starts telling me I can't even talk on the phone. (VOICE). I know, right. This is America and I can't talk on the phone??? Come on. (VOICE)
GK: I don't want to hear you. Nobody does.
TR (LOUD): Who cares? Too bad.
TK (TEEN): I think we have a situation here, Miss Harrison.
SS: I don't know -- I think it's good to have passion in the library. Sort of exciting.
GK: You know, on behalf of the considerate people of the world, I have to tell you that you are a clueless idiot.
TR (LOUD): Am I sticking my nose in your business? Am I? (VOICE) I come in here to ask about a book and this big galoot comes up and gets in my face--
GK: It's a library, you jerk.
TR (LOUD): I think you're the jerk here, you jerk.
TK (TEEN): Miss Harrison-uh-
SS: We haven't seen this much excitement in here since we computerized the card catalogue.
TK (TEEN): I think this is sorta different.
GK: You know two can play this game.
TR: Oh this is no game, mister. This is real life.
GK: I've got a cellphone -- you want me to call up somebody--?
TR: Go ahead it's a free country.
GK: I will.
TR (LOUD): Huh? (VOICE) I said it's a free country. Telling him if he wants to use his cellphone, go right ahead. No skin off my nose.
GK (LOUD): Hello Liz? Listen, I just called to tell you I am standing next to the ugliest person I ever saw in my life.
TR (LOUD): I got no idea what his problem is. Maybe he's got a cyst on his butt too. Who knows? Could be an epidemic.
GK (LOUD): This guy walks into his therapist's room and the therapist says "time's up."
TR (LOUD): How about I just kick him in the butt and find out? Huh?
GK (LOUD): When this guy goes camping, the bears build a fire to keep him away.
TR (LOUD): The problem is, his face and his butt look pretty much the same.
GK (LOUD): Last time I saw a mouth like that, it had a hook in it.
TR (LOUD): Last time I saw a face like that, somebody was wiping it with toilet paper.
GK (LOUD): Mister, if you walked into a freak show, they'd give you a job application.
TR (LOUD): Mister, you are so ugly, you probably had to trick or treat over the phone.
GK (LOUD): Mister, you must've been conceived at home because that's where most accidents happen. And when you were born, the doctor took one look at you and slapped your mama.
TR: Okay, that's it. Now you're in trouble. You just insulted my mama. Butt-face, meet my palm (BIG SLAP)
GK: Why you-you slap me I slap you (SLAP, TR WINCE)
TR: Ow! Double slap to you (SLAP SLAP)
GK: Oh yeah? How about this-- Indian burn! (TR WINCE)
TR: Come here-
TR: Wet Willie! (SCHLUP, TR WINCE)
SS: I love it! Conflict! Passion! (THE SLAPPING CONTINUES) This is life!!!! This is what great literature is about!!! It isn't about looking at the sky!!! It's about triumph!!!
(FISTFIGHT CONTINUES, SOME GLASS BREAKAGE)
TK (TEEN): They just busted a computer, Miss Harrison!!!
SS: Ah, computers. Who cares?
(BIG PAPER RIP, FIGHT STOPS)
SS: You've torn an atlas, sir. The one with all the continents in it.
TR: It was an accident.
SS: Now hold on just one second. This has gone too far.
SS: You have damaged library property. Out. (SCUFFLING)
TR: But he said-
SS: I don't care. Get out! (BIG DOOR SLAM)-And stay out! And the next time you want to mess with a librarian, I'll be here waiting for you. (A BEAT, BRUSHES OFF HANDS, UNDER) Goodness. My poor atlas. Now where's that acid-free tape.
TK (TEEN): Wow, Miss Harrison! You threw those guys out of here like a coupla empty boxes.
SS: Reading imaginative literature builds inner strength, Trent, it can do more for your self-confidence than tai chi or kung pao.
TK (TEEN): So anyway -- about Australia --
SS: It is both a country and a continent, Trent.
TK (TEEN): Are you sure?
SS: Trent, look at me. I am a reference librarian. I am trained to know things. For sure.
TR (ANNC): Once again from the hushed reading room of the Herndon County Library, Ruth Harrison, Reference Librarian.