The following post is a story I told on Facebook many months ago–proving once again that I don’t need caffeine to turn into “Coot-Coot”. I need a babysitter even when I’m stone cold sober and tired. I’m a complete mess no matter what substances I’ve ingested. And just to be clear–I’m talking about alcohol and caffeine. I don’t do drugs–I have enough problems caused by my personality. I don’t need “enhancements”.
Anyhoozles…quite a ways back (somewhere between April and summer of 2017), I was looking to try my first graphic novel. I got some recommendations from some Litsy pals–and overwhelmingly, those recommendations were for Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood and Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return. They are graphic novels written by Marjane Satrapi about her time growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. To jump to the chase, I contacted the librarian at the Sherman Public Library to ask if they had these graphic novels in their collection. They didn’t–but the next town over’s library did. They would be able to borrow them from the Denison Public Library, let me know when they would be ready for a pickup, and then I could come to get them. When I was done, I could return them to the Sherman Public Library and they would return them to Denison for me. (Yay, libraries!) This was great for me–I could borrow the books from the library and not have to pay for them. This way, if I did not enjoy my first foray into graphic novels, I wasn’t really out anything except time. So, I picked up the books–and I ended up tearing through them in an evening. They were excellent. Haven’t opened a graphic novel since, but that’s not the point. If you are looking for your first graphic novel or even another graphic novel, these are an absolute must. (If you want to purchase them, feel free to click on of the links or pictures that I’ve provided) However, when I went to return the books…that’s where the story begins.
So, I was working the night shift at a local (shithole–in my opinion) hospital at the time. I took the books to work with me so that I could return them in the morning when my shift was over and before I went to do the grocery shopping. Now, it is important to mention that an arsonist had started a bad fire at the Sherman Public Library and they were in at a temporary location several blocks away from their normal location. In a less well-lit location, with less foot and car traffic at six in the morning.
Side note: if it weren’t for the case of arson, I never would have been able to estimate when this happened after more than a year.
Moving on…the temporary location was in a building across from an elementary school, less than a five-minute drive from my work. So, even though it was dark, and I was going into an unfamiliar area of town during the dark hours, I just shrugged and got on with it. I needed to drop the books in the drop-off box and go on about my shopping. Tubbly had shit to do! I made the five-minute drive across town, nary a car or person in sight the whole way. Barely any street lamps, either. However, I’m a grown ass man, and I can handle this. However, when I pulled up to the temporary location of the library, it was so dark. And the only person I saw was someone that was sitting (strangely) at a picnic table in a park about a block away from the library’s temporary building.
As I’m pulling into the parking lot, I noticed that on a bench under a tree in front of the elementary school, across from the temporary building, there was a man sitting down. Having a rest, I’d assumed. He was in shadow and I couldn’t make out anything other than the form he cut in the dark. Immediately, warning bells went off in my head. There’s some weirdo, sitting still as a statue on a bench in front of an elementary school, in the dark, across from the temporary public library. As I pulled into the parking lot, putting the nose of my car directly against the big drop-off box, my headlights still on, all manners of nightmare situations ran through my head. This was a mugger, a rapist (after my toot-toot, obviously), a knife-wielding maniac, or a drug dealer. Suddenly…it dawned on me.
DRUG ADDICTED LIBRARY BOOK THIEF.
This was some crazy cracked out soul that was sitting in the dark on a bench, waiting for some dumb asshole (i.e. ME) to return a book to the drop-off box when it was dark. When I got out of the car and was walking towards the drop-off box, he was going to run over, conk me in the head, and take the books I’d borrowed–like, I don’t know, SATAN would do. So, I was sat in the car, headlights on the drop-off box, side-eyeing the Satanic Book Thief on the bench, trying not to look like I was worried or watching him. I knew if he ran up and tried to get my books and bash me in the head, I was capital “F” fucked. I’m tubbly–my top speed is a “waddle”. So, I had some decisions to make.
The whole time I’m sitting there, side-eyeing the freak, I’m thinking in my head “Not today, Satan” and “Tubbly ain’t got time for this, cracky”. And other similar phrases. But, really, Satan Book Thief was not. stealing. my. books.
Then it suddenly dawned on me. The man was probably on an early morning walk before work, got winded, and decided to take a short rest. Who cares that he was sitting in the dark, still as a statue, looking like a weirdo? We’re all weird. Who am I to judge? So, I quickly decided he wasn’t a threat–but in case he was, I was leaving my car door open, ready for my quick return, and I would make my drop-off as quickly as I could while keeping the man in my sight at all times.
Confidently, I popped my door open, making sure the man didn’t move, jumped out of the car, and strode quickly (but confidently) to the drop-off box. I shoved my books in the drop-off box. Then I beat a hasty retreat back to my car and practically flung myself back into the driver’s seat, slamming the door behind myself before locking the doors. Quickly, I glanced over at the man on the bench, only to find that he hadn’t even moved an inch. Mentally, I slapped myself in the forehead, feeling foolish for thinking that the city was being overrun by cracked out library book thieves. Obviously, this man was minding his own business, so I needed to do the same.
I laughed to myself as I buckled up my seatbelt and put the car in reverse, leaving the parking lot a lot less nervous than when I had entered. When I was pulling out of the parking lot, my headlights flashed across the man.
The man was a statue of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Not a cracked out library book thief.
Not a rapist after my toot-toot. Not a murderer. Not a drug dealer.
A. STATUE. OF. MARTIN. LUTHER. KING. JR.
So…embarrassed, I did what any sane person would do–I posted about it on Facebook–except on Facebook, I said it was a statue of Fred Douglass (the Fred Douglass Early Childhood Center is right there, and it was dark, so…). Luckily, my stepsister, who is the library administrator, saw the post and let me know that it was actually Martin Luther King, Jr. and she often sits and “has lunch” with him.
TL:DR – I thought a statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. was going to conk me in the head and steal the library books that I was trying to return. And, I was inadvertently racist.
Until next time…