It’s never happened before. Not once in over ten years at the public library. On Monday morning it happened twice. At the computers in front of me, two patrons uttered “it.” Oddly enough, or perhaps not in our technological world, the curses were directed not at a person, but at computers. A young woman, legal to vote, but not to drink a beer, said “it” first. People around her looked at her, which is a surprise in itself, as most people are so engrossed in their screen they don’t look up for much of anything. A swear gets their attention! Good to know in the future. The young woman muttered something about being shocked by a grade, gave an apology, giggled and continued working.
After that a man came up to me to complain there was someone talking on a cell phone. I walk through, silence. A half hour later he comes up to complain again.
I said, “If you want a quiet place you can reserve a study room.”
Clearly disturbed by the noise, he said, “I thought libraries were supposed to be quiet.” If you have visited our library, a large open room with 30 foot ceilings, then you know it is not designed with silence in mind.
“Not anymore,” I said, thinking this library, and most libraries nowadays are the life of the community and that means people communicating with voices. Also Monday, I saw a woman signing to someone on Skype, or FaceTime from her laptop. How cool is that! Anyway, I suggested a study room for my silence-seeking patron again, though the way the day had been going, I should have asked him if anyone was swearing during these calls.
An hour or so later, a man, nearing Social Security benefits, blurted “it.” A few heads peered over their screens. This guy didn’t even know he said it out loud! I swear. He never lifted his eyes off the iMAC screen, or he would have seen my stink eye. I was going to tell him if it happens again I was going to wash his mouth out with a bar of soap, but he quickly settled down, and never said another word.
A little later, I went to the catalog to help a patron find a title, and a new nonfiction book cover came across our catalog home page. How to Get Sh*t Done: Why Women Need to Stop Doing Everything So They Can Achieve Anything, by Erin Falconer.
Unfortunately, the student had already left so I could not recommend it to her, but I got curious and I looked for more books. Nine books in our catalog with “it” in the title, mostly with an asterisk for the “i” but all searchable with the actual word.
Sh*t Girls Say; Holy Shit: Managing Manure; Holy Shit: A Brief History of Swearing; Sh*t My Dad Says; Tough Sh*t; Why Sh*t Happens; How to Shit in the Woods, and Be Ready When the Sh*t Goes Down. Man, that was a lot of semi-colons.
There is no “semi” in my colon, but it sure is healthy! Want to see the pictures? For the squeamish, or disgusted, the colon collage should open in a new window if you click here. With a family history of colon cancer, I don’t have the option of sending “it” through the mail for testing. I have to get a colonoscopy. Anyone who has had a scope knows that the prep is often the worse part. My brother Steve referred to it as, well, I’ll paraphrase here, “peeing out your butt.”
The new drug they used during the procedure, Diprovan, was great, a much faster recovery than the previous colonoscopy. The procedure took less than 15 minutes. The gastroenterologist’s report was full of words I had to look up like, ileocecal valve, cecum, splenic, sigmoid, retroflexion. Perhaps you know these words, it’s a reminder that it is not difficult to Stump the Librarian (I’m so proud to be a Top 50 Library Blog. Be prepared to scroll, flick, or click for a while, I’m near the bottom). Diverticula, (seen in the upper left of pictures 4 and 5 for those looking along) I was familiar with, having had several bouts of diverticulitis. The doctor’s recommendation was to eat more fiber, get more exercise, whatever is “possible with his right amputation,” and avoid “drive through restaurants.”
In the end, it’s so wonderful how we use words and language, written, signed, and even expletives to communicate, write books, and tell stories.