Monday, April 17, 2006

Do Not Poke the Security Guard

Lord knows I've had my differences with our library's staff of armed, uniformed, official security personnel. There have been plenty of occasions where I've felt like it's necessary for me to keep an eye on the security guards to prevent their egregious violations of the same library policies that they're sitting at their desk with their pistol and badge to enforce upon the rest of our visitors. Whether it's loudly chowing down on a bag of unshelled peanuts; having extensive, excruciatingly personal cell phone conversations; or getting maniacally obsessed with a variety of craft projects while patrons cry, "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war in the children's section, I've often wondered if the presence of armed security is the cause of even more trouble than it prevents.

Nevertheless, I can't help but sympathize with our security guards whenever some comic genius comes by their desk and rehearses a knee-slapping stand-up routine on the premise that an armed library security guard's daily routine might get a little tedious. I just can't imagine the kind of audacity it takes to walk up to someone's work desk and mock them in public the way jackasses at the zoo poke at the monkey cages.

I've heard variations on the following comments from a steady stream of chuckling maroons who approach the security desk:

"Boy, you sure got a tough job there!"

"Hey, don't fall asleep!"

"Are you gonna shoot me with your big gun?"

That last comment was drawled by a mouth-breathing yahoo who appeared to be in some pathetic way flirting with our female security guard. She's the one who takes the brunt of the moronic comments, and she actually bears it with a stoicism ancient Greek philosophers would have admired.

My completely unscientific theory is that security guards in any situation gain more respect the more their uniforms look like an actual police officer's. Even if the similarity is just enough to make an idiot think twice about acting on his lizard-brain instincts, I would think it would be totally worth it to encourage any sort of uniform confusion. The low-bidding security company that's protecting us, on the other hand, seems to have taken almost the complete opposite approach. Considering they've left their employees working 13+ hour shifts for months at a time and that they continue to employ a gentleman who accidentally left his gun on a library table while he wandered out to his truck for a nap, I shouldn't be at all surprised.

However, I sincerely hope that this company's otherwise apparently lax policies wouldn't punish an employee too severely who decided it would be appropriate to pistol-whip the next slack-jawed yokel who approached a guard to chortle, "Ah swear yew shore do look cute with thay-at pistol!"


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