Friday, May 27, 2005

You better run along now 'cause I think I see the Mossad 

While helping a patron the other day I was a little taken aback to see that the name on his record was remarkably similar to Josef Paul Goebbels. I thought perhaps his parents, either in an act of unfortunate ignorance or incredibly bad taste, had named their child after Hitler’s minister of propaganda, but my colleague informed me that that the patron legally changed his name from a very ordinary, unoffensive one to Josef Paul Goebbels about a year ago. I'm not sure of his reasons and I’m not sure if he insists people address him as "Doctor."

The name was even more surprising to me because he looked nothing like a skinhead or Neo-Nazi or the actual Goebbels himself, but more like your average Kentucky dirtball, with blonde hair tied in a greasy ponytail, soiled khakis, a worn t-shirt and the stink of the street on him. When I saw him he was very well behaved, which my colleague credited with his recent enrollment in a methadone maintenance program. He used to be combative and hyperactive, with a tweaking meth addict’s gnat like attention span. Whenever he asked a reference question he would get easily distracted, interrupting himself or the librarian about some new tangent before he could even finish his first question, jerkily shifting his weight back and forth from foot to foot.

He reminded me of a NASCAR fan that E saw interviewed on MSNBC after Dale Earnhardt’s death. News organizations seem to delight in humiliating the South by dredging up the absolute worst embodiment of certain unfortunate southern stereotypes. The man they had chosen to be the face of the South had mirrored sunglasses, a grimy gimme hat, a Members Only jacket and missing teeth. Clearly overcome by emotion, he managed to speak only a little bit about the tragedy that was Dale Earnhardt’s death before he got choked up. Apologizing for needing to take a minute, he said, “I’m sorry, it’s jest that I loved Dale Earnhardt more than I loved my own Daddy!” He then violently jerked his chin to the side and made these “gee gee” choking sounds.

What I found truly pathetic about the Goebbels patron is that he misspelled and garbled Goebbels’s name and no one has bothered to correct him. I bet he doesn’t pronounce it right, either. I will keep the key misspellings secret to protect his anonymity and to keep the Mossad from finding him.

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