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Wednesday, February 18, 2004

KOAN OF THE DAY
How far do you go to humor insane patrons?

So, this patron swept in with the manner, bearing and dress of Norma Desmond (white silk turban and all!) and began asking all of these complicated questions about evolution and taxonomy, most of which were completely beyond the capacity of this small branch and my limited scientific knowledge. She then sighed and said nevermind, because she was on her way to Stanford to conduct more research. While I was attempting to help her with a question concerning the evolution of elephants I found a site about manatees and remarked how interesting it was that they were relatives of the elephant. She gave me a piercing look and replied with icy hauteur,

“They most certainly are related. Manatees have breasts, you know, and are milk producing. That is why sailors would drag them on board and have sex with them.”

Whoa. I know manatees are rumored to be the inspiration for mermaids. I also realize that they are slow moving and that sailors get very lonely at sea, but I refuse to believe that the sailors would haul these 1 ton creatures aboard deck and resort to that sort of desperate and unnatural behavior, especially with cabin boys so handy. In any case, it was a very odd thing to say and I didn't know really how to respond and how much further I should keep going along with her on her research.

After I submitted an interlibrary loan for some obscure book on bushmen she thanked me and strode regally out of the library. At the door she crossed paths with the library tech, who saw my face and started laughing and filled me in on her. I apparently got off easy today, because she is notorious here and throughout the neighborhood for her imperious peculiarity, which lately seems to be taking a tragic turn toward raving lunacy with sexual overtones.

She was recently banned from the coffee shop across the street, not for saying something you would expect, like “I’m ready for my closeup, Mr. Demille, " but for screeching repeatedly at the owner of the packed coffee house, “I know you want to look at my pussy!”

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