Friday, October 27, 2006

Halloween Comes Early

Our library employs a part-time computer expert who arrives at 4.00 p.m. each day ostensibly to assist our patrons with their computer difficulties. Generally this involves ill-tempered tutorials on the use of the "Print" function or finding the space bar on the keyboard. This gentleman is not entirely unlike Jimmy Fallon's recurring SNL character, "Nick Burns, Your Company's Computer Guy," in his technological condescesion and general misanthropy toward any human life forms who lack 2048 MBs of RAM on their Dell XPS M1710 Intel Core 2 Duos. He is Nick Burns if Nick Burns were the unholy love child of Ted Nugent and Ayn Rand, as portrayed by John Goodman at his most corpulent.

Perhaps the most salient personal characteristic of our computer guy, though, is his daily uniform. In my 24 months of interaction with this fellow, I have never, ever seen him wear anything other than black pants and a white button-down shirt. Ever.

For the first few weeks of my employment here I found this situation "quirky" and "amusing." By the end of the first month I was stricken with daily fits of teeth-grinding rage when he would walk through the door in the same brutally inevitable ensemble. After calming down, I grew to appreciate the utility of this situation: When someone would approach me with a computer issue during the Computer Guy's work hours, I could simply say, "You can ask the big guy in the white shirt." It's a foolproof method. You really can't miss him.

Immediately upon his entry into the building yesterday, I could sense the fabric of the known universe beginning to violently tear apart. The windows rattled as if buffeted by hurricane-force winds. The lights flickered on and off in a manner not unlike a poltergeist attack. Small animals in the neighborhood could sense something deeply amiss, and herds of mice ran shrieking from underneath the surrounding buildings.

The Computer Guy was wearing a black shirt.

I wouldn't have been more dumbfounded if he'd walked through the door wearing a pink Speedo and matching hoop nipple rings with a rainbow flag tattoo across his belly.

I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end and an electric current of fear and panic filled the room. Had his soul been taken hostage by a demonic doppelganger? Was he mourning the crash death of his home mainframe, about which he's lectured me at great academic length? Had he suffered a severe head injury?

The truth was both far more prosaic and reliably delivered in the manner I've come to expect and avoid whenever presenting the Computer Guy with anything ending in a question mark. He described for me in great detail the strange and unpredictable events of his day that had led him to this place in this shirt. Short answer: he forgot.

Fifteen minutes later, when he was done explaining that apparently insanely bizarre situation, I reflected on the events of the past few days. Our clock at the front counter has been unaccountably switching forward and backward, sometimes an hour fast and sometimes an hour slow. We've had a series of police reports of phantom 911 calls from our phones. The bathroom doors that used to push open and closed now strangely require the turn of a handle. (My inability to insert this fact into my muscle memory has resulted in me nearly dislocating my shoulder trying to push them open for the past week.) Our witchcraft books are disappearing from the shelves at an alarming rate. (Actually, strike that--this happens all the time at every public library.) The Democrats are leading in many pre-election polls.

Either this library is haunted by nefarious spirits or my daily intake of recreational Excedrin is reaching crisis levels.

4 Comments:

Blogger GypsyFolklorist said...

Damn bathroom doors - I have yet to master the fine motor skill necessary to operate such devices.

2:44 PM  
Blogger craftyminx said...

Our college library kept the witchcraft books behind the desk. The circ supervisor said they kept growing legs and walking out of the building. I'm pretty sure the baptists kept ripping pages out of them and writing something having to do with the eternal flames of hell inside the cover. I'm sure someone got tired of ordering replacements and demanded they be put on the reserve shelves.

3:08 PM  
Blogger queenbee said...

The computer guy in a black shirt, that's the creepiest event of your day. Frankly, I'm not surprised about the other events, that building is the pits.

7:01 AM  
Blogger Adjective Queen said...

I took the last witchcraft book from your library shelf. I'm working on a spell right now that will turn a certain person into a toad. I wonder if you know who that person might be?

12:16 PM  

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