Holy crap in a Bundt pan... Due to the recent well-publicized shortage of
amateur websites produced by assholes who consider themselves to be clever, I
have been called into action. My name is Jeff Kay, and I’m an Ugly American living
on the cusp of a mid-life crisis, near Scranton, PA. And I’m here to serve, baby.

The View From Down Here
A journal of sorts, updated every once in a while.

Ahhhh... the good old days

August 7, 2007

-- I frantically fled Panera Bread yesterday afternoon with an electric cord trailing behind my Jack Bauer man-bag. 

The place was absolutely lousy with children. I have no idea why, ‘cause as far as I know kids don’t usually go in for hand-tossed Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken salads, and the like. But the joint was teeming with hollering booger-machines/tricycle motors. And I can’t have that.

Also, and this was the straw that broke the hillbilly’s back, sitting right across from me was a mother/daughter team I’d seen there before. Each is roughly the size of your average Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float. And they look almost exactly alike(!), each sporting some sort of hipster horn rim glasses. 

The whole thing is pretty disturbing. And don’t even get me started on the way they eat… All I can say is, people seated at adjacent tables should be issued welding helmets, or some similar protective device, by Panera Corporate.

I got the hell out of there.  

Toney’s always suggesting I try the public library in our town (they reportedly offer free wiffy), but I’d never done it. I had a feeling I couldn’t get bottomless Dr. Peppers there… But yesterday it was still early when I was displaced by lip-smacking, high-pitched shrieking, and flying Playmobil steamboat captains, so I decided to check it out.

While I drove (and felt guilty for enjoying a Pet Shop Boys song on the radio), I wondered how long it had been since I had a library card. Probably somewhere in the 25 years range... Perhaps I should apply for one? I was fairly confident they’d approve me as a member.

And they did! Oh, I don’t have my permanent card yet, that’ll be arriving in the mail within ten days. But I have my temporary card, and it’s all very exciting. Now I can make plans to check out books and save money, and possibly even rent the occasional DVD - then never do it. It’s gonna be great!

I told the woman at the desk I’d like to work on my laptop for a while, and asked if it mattered what table I chose. Rarely have I set foot in this building, and didn’t want to break some sacred long-standing library tradition, causing an old lady to faint and go over a railing, or whatever. But she told me I had the run of the place, and could sit wherever I wanted. 

Then she added: “You might want to stay away from the children’s section, though. Sometimes it can get pretty, um, active over there.”

Yeah, active. That’s the word. I chose a table right in the middle of the floor, and turned on my computer. While it was going through its start-up shuck and jive, I took a look around. 

As far as I could tell, only about a third of the library is eaten up by actual books. When did that happen? There’s a huge DVD section, and more CDs than they have at Circuit City . Who checks out CDs at a library?! The whole thing seems bizarre to me.

And there’s lots of computer terminals scattered about as well, each with a person seated in front of it, typing like a maniac. Who are these people, and what are they doing?! An Indian woman at a monitor nearby suddenly pumped her fist in the air, and yelled, “Yes! 

What in the brown ‘n’ serve hell??

I started doing some work on my “book,” when I heard what sounded like a retarded man making retarded man noises. I looked up and saw a woman shoving a large male child around in a desk chair on wheels. Something was clearly amiss with the kid. He was just sitting there, his head rolling around on his shoulders.

She stopped in front of a bookcase full of DVDs, and began browsing. And then I, along with everyone within a two mile radius, heard an impossibly loud and extended fart erupt from the boy strapped to the executive chair. It started out powerful, and only increased in strength from there. It sounded like a tugboat was coming into port.

The woman said, “Johnny!” and the boy’s head did another full rotation.

I tried to get back to the task at hand, but was having trouble concentrating, for some reason. I managed to tap out a paragraph or two, when there was a godawful crash, followed immediately by somebody yelling, “Oh no!!” 

With great alarm I looked up and saw the kid lying facedown on the floor, his chair, a globe, and several hardcover books piled up on his back.

He was unhurt, and the emergency was over as quickly as it began. But I decided I’d just call it a day. Screw it. The comedy gods clearly weren’t with me yesterday.

Or were they? I guess you guys will have to be the judge of that…

I think I’m going to give the library another shot this afternoon. I took a walk around the place before I left, and scoped out a perfect-looking spot way in the back, behind the musty-smelling novels. Not only is it off the beaten path, but there are also tons of electrical outlets. I might’ve finally located My Place.

And since I’m so far out of the library loop, I’d like to know how they’re used nowadays. Do you go to a public library on a regular basis? What do you do there? What are the modern benefits? Besides, of course, saving money by reading books already pawed through by the boogery fingers of a thousand strangers?

How can I put my new membership to its best use? Help me out, won’t you? Use the comments link below.

-- And before I call it a day, I have another question for you folks. Well, actually I’m trying to confirm a suspicion… 

Since the catastrophic bridge collapse last week, I have a feeling that no matter where you live, there’s talk of a local bridge “in worse shape” than the one in Minneapolis. 

I have no proof of this, I’m just basing it on instinct, but I’d be willing to bet there’s no shortage of newly-minted engineering experts around the country today, pontificating at length about how it’s only a matter of time for some nearby span.

Hell, I remember when I was a kid, everybody used to say Charleston, WV was #5 (or was it #7?) on Russia’s list of places to nuke, or whatever. The reasons for this were predictably convoluted, and loaded with horseshit. But it’s what people used to say, as if it were a well-known fact.

So, that’s the question. What’s the bridge in your neck of the woods that folks are convinced will plunge into the river before sundown? Because, you know, it received an even worse rating during its last inspection, than the one in Minnesota?

Won’t you help me out with this little experiment? I’d be much obliged.

And I’ll be back tomorrow.

See ya then.




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01/17/12 12:14 PM

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