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Monday, January 12, 2004

Dead Beat Poets
OK, I’ll admit it, I play favorites with my patrons. I do things I’m not supposed to for my pets, mostly seniors. Nothing big – I’ll renew their books for them over the telephone (the voice on the automated system is robotically terrifying), book computer time for them and let an inappropriate racial comment or off color word slide every once in a while without asking them to leave like I’m supposed to. It’s just too late to train the Greatest Generation.

My favorite patron is a crusty old Irish Catholic broad originally from Jersey with a voracious appetite for bloody mysteries - she burns through 2 or 3 a night. She was a sailor’s wife, then a sailor’s moll, then a bartender at sailor bars here in the city for years. She is rarely on speaking terms with her Philippina daughter-in-law, whom she considers an opportunistic money hungry slut who is blowing her son’s insurance money on cheap jewelry. She makes her granddaughter take Irish Dance and is always going to her shows and having exorbitantly expensive and elaborate dresses made for the competitions. Her granddaughter, typical teenager, was threatening to quit and she said to her, “You quit your goddamned Irish dancing and you can just dance right on over a broom like the rest of your mother’s people!” She likes to give me loud updates when I’m working the reference desk.

During her bartending days she encountered a lot of the Beats, and says of them “Bunch of worthless drunks! And lousy fathers. God, how I hate lousy fathers.”
Many patrons who come to my branch suffer from all these annoying romantic illusions about what great artists the Beat Generation were, or even worse, are the surviving dregs, so I love to hear her voice her low opinion of them so loudly, since I'm supposed to maintain a semblance of neutrality. I won’t say too much about that particular genre except - never liked it, not a fan of Hangover Literature.

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