I must preface this true tale, Gentle Reader. It’s about a man and a library. It’s about how his card was revoked and about his shame. You see, I am that man. I remember it like it was yesterday, because – well, it was yesterday. Our story opens at the Vineland Library. Here is what transpired…
“I owe a debt to society.” I said handing the librarian my card. “I’m a day late with, ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’.”
BEEP! The card reader exclaimed. “You do live in Vineland?” the librarian asked.
“My mailing address is in Vineland.” I said.
“Do you own property in the city of Vineland?” she asked.
“Well, not anymore.” I said. Then I considered the question and, wouldn’t you know, I had personally never owned property in the city of Vineland. In my mind I heard my own voice say, Not anymore – REALLY? What’s wrong with you? Finding that I didn’t have a good answer I gave the librarian what must have appeared an odd smile.
“You can’t borrow from here if you do not live in Vineland. If you want to borrow from here it will cost you $50.00.” she said. Looking at my slack-jawed response she added, “You may be able to use the Cumberland County Library on 49 in Bridgeton.”
I looked down at the book I was about to take out, Agatha Christie’s, ‘Curtain’. “Well, it was fun while it lasted.” I said. “I’ll put this book back.”
“Yes, ok.” She said.
And that’s all she wrote. I’m outta there! Blackballed. Shunned. The fat lady has sung. The swallows? They’ve all gone back to Capistrano. “It’s over, Johnny.” – Colonel Trautman [First Blood / Rambo]. Fini. Roll credits. Cue up the “Sad Hulk” song for Bill Bixby as he walks away until next week’s episode. BOOM. Done. Vagrants must move on. No squatting. You can read what you want but you can’t read it from here.
I get it. I am now officially “that guy”. The freeloader. That guy who’s taking books out of the hands of the fine people of Vineland! That guy who comes to your BBQ, eats all you burgers & weenies and leaves just after the empty desert plates hit the table! THAT GUY who switches lanes without using his turn signal and zips into the parking spot that was undeniably yours! Society’s burden & shame of the community at large! Yeah, THAT GUY.
Ah, the way we were...
For the record, it was never my intent to take advantage of the good people of Vineland or any of the librarians for that matter. I returned to the Vineland Library due to convenience – it’s only 5 (maybe 6) miles from my house and about three quarters of a mile from where I work. The Vineland Library issued me the card and ever since I have been using two libraries, Mays Landing and Vineland. Mays Landing Library – a fine library by my reckoning, is 12 miles away from Rancho del Evil Chicken.
If you poke around this blog then you know already that I have a thing for stories. I love them in whatever shape they come, their tellers & the keepers of them. Libraries are lights in a community. Without them the community is poorer, colder. If you don’t have a library card – get one & use it often. However, I would advise you to live in the same town. If you don’t then things can get poorer and colder for you quite quickly.
See you at the library (the one in Mays Landing)!