Thursday, May 11, 2006

Miss Information is annoyed by the mathematically challenged

Miss Information doesn't come from one of those yelly families. Her relatives are largely repressed people with passive aggressive tendencies. When she was young and somebody did something heinous like leave an unwashed spoon in the sink, the injured party would afix a pained expression to his/her face and wash that spoon, all the while muttering "they'll be sorry when I'm dead" in a fully audible stage whisper.

So, really, she has no comprehension of the sort of people who, when confronted by an inconvenience, just start shouting at whoever is nearby. It seems so noisy and pointless and frankly, a waste of energy that would be better spent running a spell check on that martyrdom application form.

Miss Information was enjoying a peaceful morning at the Reference Desk, periodically checking for new leaks in the roof, gobbling Tylenol Sinus by the handful and dreaming of a day when she would be free of this evil bastard cold she's been afflicted with. Her colleague and supervisor interrupted her reverie and handed her an algebra book and a sheet of paper with a math quiz on it and asked if Miss Information thought the book would give the answers to the math quiz.

Miss Information looked at the piece of paper. Surely if the answers were contained in a book, the piece of paper would mention that, right? She read the paper. It was an admissions test for one of the local colleges. There was no reference to a book at all.

See, here's another reason why Miss Information is baffled by other people. If she wanted to know if her answers to an algebra test were correct she would ummm, hand it in and get it marked by the person who gave her the test in the first place. She would never think of dropping in and bothering the poor, helpless library staff with this--probably because she knows if the poor, helpless library staff could do things like algebra, they wouldn't be working here.

At any rate, she suggested the woman go back to the college and ask for their assistance. The woman became insensed. She grabbed the piece of paper, announced that Miss Information and her colleague were damn near useless and stomped up to the front of the library to find the person in charge so she could file a complaint. Unfortunately for the woman, the person in charge was one of those damn near useless people at the Reference Desk.

At this point the screaming began. It went on and on. As the in charge person tried to calm things down, Miss Information fielded questions from curious onlookers, some of whom tried to intervene on the library's behalf.

The situation ended when the supervisor threatened to call the police and have the woman charged with trespassing.

Looking back on the incident, Miss Information wouldn't have done anything differently. Sure, she could have done the woman's algebra quiz for her but that would have pretty much spelled the end of the woman's academic career. No one wants that. This woman obviously has a great future ahead of her. Miss Information suggests a career in the diplomatic service.


At 3:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I applaud the ingenity of that patron trying to pass off her algebra homework on someone else, it might have made more sense to go to a math library.

At 6:03 PM, Blogger CT said...

I would love to send some of my most special students to you for help... just on the off chance you'd write up the mayhem that might follow.

At 7:43 PM, Blogger LBJ said...

Which "Math Library" is anonymous talking about?
Obviously this person is not a library insider and they've given themselves away by actually believing that walking in the right library will automatically supply a person who can do all your algebra homework.

Try Math Libraries on the web... but a person like this is far beyond the realm of finding things out for themselves.

Remember if librarians could do math, we wouldn't be working here.


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