W.C. Fields

I’m not sure if this was a one time cameo, or the first act of a more elaborate role by a patron I’ve never seen before @ the Library, but a guy came in today who looked, sounded, and acted just like W.C. Fields, only this guy was wearing a NY Giants cap instead of Fields’ trademark brim.

I first noticed this man as he staggered past the Reference Desk. Shortly thereafter, the man staggered over, and asked me if I could point him to any books on workers compensation.

… At this point, I immediately knew what I’d be blogging about this evening, this was almost too good to be true.

No problem! I checked the Catalog and found both a video and a reference book on the subject, then led the staggering man over to both. I explained that reference books don’t leave the building. The man had no problem with that, so I indicated where the copy machines are located should he find anything worthwhile. He thanked me, then staggered off to a nearby table.

About 45 minutes later, I see him stagger by the Desk again, only this time in the other direction heading towards the copy machines. In true Fields’ fashion, under his breath he mutters to himself while he’s en rote. Almost immediately upon his arrival at the bank of machines, he shouts to me, “Is this machine working, or what?”

So, I leave the Desk to assist the man with his copying. When I arrive, I see that he has the book oriented the wrong way on the scanning bed. I rectify the problem, and asked him if he dropped a dime in the machine? He indicated that he had. The machine verified this as well. Much to my chagrin, however, the machine wouldn’t copy. It just kept making a noise that I have never heard come out of a copier (or anything else) before.

Sigh… What has W.C. Done to this machine? What could he have done to the machine in the five seconds that he was trying to make a copy? He laid hands on it, and wonky it went. To expedite the matter, I hit the coin return to retrieve his dime, peeled the book from the copier, and stuck it on the bed of the next machine. The new machine worked perfectly. I told him that if he needed anything else he should feel free to get me and that I’d do the best I could to help him out. He thanked me, and I went about my business. As I left him, I could hear his muttering grow fainter with each step I took until I could hear it no more.

When he was finished, he brought the book back to the Reference Desk, but I was in the Reference Office so he just yelled to me that he was going to leave the book, which he did. Then, he staggered away with what he had found.

It’s anyone’s guess whether or not W.C. Fields will be a recurring Irregular or not… Time will tell. Oddly enough, the next person to use the machine that gave W.C. all that trouble had no problem making copies. In fact, it worked perfectly for the remainder of the day, and without one objectionable sound.



~ by Woeful on January 4, 2008.

15 Responses to “W.C. Fields”

  1. Holy crap that was funny! I’ve got some catching up to do around here.

  2. “wonky” ?????????????

  3. Welcome back!

    LOL… Wonky! British for odd. 🙂

  4. The staggering may be from brain injuries he sustained on the job that affects his balance, in which case I sure hope he gets both medical and financial help.

    But on the topic of the jinxed patrons I could go on forever. There have been patrons that I’ve point blanked asked if they were jinxed and at least one I really wanted to leave before everything in the building stopped working! I don’t know if it’s bad karma, or if they are somehow just too magnetic to be near electronics! It’s just bizarre but machine after machine has problems and refuses to work until they go away.

  5. Hello Coastal Librarian! I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, but W.C. was good and soused as evinced by the 100 proof odor he was emitting. Seriously, this guy was just like W.C. Fields. In fact, I had to watch “The Bank Dick” today in honor of him visiting yesterday.

  6. Funny stuff! I can assure you that in spite of my initials, that was not me in your library. The following quote sums it up best:

    “Librarians, Dusty, possess a vast store of politeness. These are people who get asked regularly the dumbest questions on God’s green earth. These people tolerate every kind of crank and eccentric and mouth-breather there is.”
    Garrison Keillor (American writer and broadcaster)

  7. Thanks for visiting WC!

  8. Happy New Year, Woeful. Instead of resolutions, this year I posted a library wishlist for the upcoming year. Not like any of these changes will ever happen, but one can dream (in blogland, anyway). Shameless blogwhore, yes, but I’m in a whorey kind of mood. Been that sort of week.

    The WC patron is pretty funny. Today I had a guy come in whose face looked like burger king, as the old saying goes … looked like he came out on the wrong end of a pretty good fight earlier in the day. Also a 100-proofer, which probably contributed to his loss. Kept looking at me muttering “you’re not the guy” and finally left. I figure it’s good I didn’t look like “the guy” (I presume he was looking for a rematch), lest he reveal my male librarian wussiness in front of all the female staff.

  9. Hello G! The Burger King is the creepiest advertising gimmick I’ve ever seen… Effective, but creepy. “You’re not the guy” is very funny. I can see that happening to one of my coworkers. He’s a freak magnet. All things being equal freaks will always gravitate towards him.

  10. They don’t gravitate toward me, generally, which is a relief. However, I’m in a semi-supervisory role at [Library], so on certain days, any patron problems will be sent my way. As was the case with Burger King (for lack of a better name), the other day.

    Usually I’m in this role during the time of day where it’s the drunks and the homeless who are causing issues … most often they’re sleeping in plain view. Not good for our image. These guys are usually pretty easy to deal with. I get the teens, also, though mostly because the female staff are tired of being called “c**ts” every time they tell the kids to settle down.

    At least I don’t get the patrons who are pissed about their fines. Funny, it’s always the well-to-do who get upset over a large fine. The people who are not as well off, the people who are obviously poor, and even the trailer trash never complain about their fines. They accept the policy and even feel badly they returned their books late! They always pay up. But those who HAVE money, and lots of it, always get in a tiff over amounts that are really no more than chump change to them. I guess the more you have, the less you want to give away … and here I thought I was a asshole. 😀

  11. Yeah, the supervisory thing can be a bitch, that’s why we get the big bucks. 🙂 And yeah, people are funny about paying fines. Some people have no problem paying $100, while others go to the mat over 10 cents! WTF?

  12. Wow, that’s cool. I love WC Fields.
    I wonder what he needs the workers’ comp books for. He was probably injured in some kind of slapstick accident.

  13. W.C. was great! And that’s just what I was thinking happened, some kind of drunken slapstick accident culminating in a workers comp. claim. Too funny man!!

  14. great now the word wonky is s stuck in my fucking head and I fear the only way to get it ou is a self inflicked GSW!!

  15. LMAO!! Too funny… I’ve taken to using it regularly.

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