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Friday, June 18, 2004


The other day I answered a reference question over the telephone for an elderly woman with the most lovely phone manner, and after we finished her question we stayed on the phone having an interesting discussion about some of her favorite new books. She had such a beautiful speaking voice as well as a droll, urbane wit - definitely the product of a more elegant era. She was like Myrna Loy as Nora Charles in her dotage. After our discussion she spent a good minute singing the praises of library services. Then her voice suddenly darkened and she said, “When I think of what this fucking administration is trying to do to you librarians I just… Oh, please forgive me! I don’t know why I do that. It’s like I have a tiny devil in my mouth that makes me say the most terrible things. Well, have a wonderful day, my darling. You have been most helpful.”

I told her to please call again because I had enjoyed talking to her so much. With the exception of the crankily loathsome AndyRooney, I feel that the elderly have earned the right to speak their mind and if they want to drop an f bomb now and then that’s perfectly fine with me, although I hope in her case it wasn't a harbinger of age related dementia.

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