Monday, November 14, 2005

It's 9:00 on a Saturday, and the regular crowd shuffles stampedes in 

Every two weeks the library hosts a free legal clinic. It is extremely popular and people line up for it well before the library opens for business. When the doors fling open, the elderly and the infirm had just better get out of the way. From the vantage point of my desk, it is like watching newly hatched turtles race desperately toward the sea, both horrific and mesmerizing.

I had a lawyer friend who volunteered for the clinic and she said that about half of the people were there for reasons that would break your heart and make you cry out at the injustice of it all: the elderly poor being evicted by unscrupulous landlords, mothers desperate for child support, immigrants being cheated in the cruelest and lowest sort of way. A fair number, about 25%, wanted to file cases against the FBI or CIA for stealing their identity or transmitting radio signals through their brain, and she would refer them to the social worker who had set up a desk next to the clinic. The rest were patrons who wanted to file cases against the library for security guard brutality, or because their records have been suspended for large fines, or because we wouldn't give them extra internet computer time, even though they have a disability, a medically diagnosed disability, goddamnit!. Whether their cases have merit or not, I think it's a little ungrateful and impertinent to use a library's free legal clinic to file suit against that library.

It's like the guys printing porn on computers with signs on them stating that the machines are for "research and scholarly purposes only" complaining when the printer runs out of paper. Yeah, sure, be right over with a couple of reams, buddy.
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