Monday, June 12, 2006
Dear Parent of the Children Swinging From our Fake Trees, It's rough being in the military these days. You're probably getting more than you bargained for when you signed up. Or maybe you signed up knowing exactly what you were in for. Whatever the circumstances, being sent here to go to school for 11 months must have seemed a far better deal than getting sent to the Middle East for a year. After all, here in the Deep South there are rarely bombs exploding outside your SUV windows, the food is actually pretty darn good, and - best of all for everyone concerned- you get to bring your wife and children with you. Ahh...the children. The 9 year old daughter wasn't so happy about the year-long stint in the South, was she? Still isn't, if the conversation she is currently having on her cell phone in the copy room is to be believed (and at the moment, about 20 people are "enjoying" her version of why you moved). In fact, it sounds like she really would prefer that you had been sent somewhere overseas. Nowhere dangerous, mind you...someplace safe. Like Guam or Fiji. And may I ask why your 9 year old daughter has a cell phone? Are military bases really that dangerous these days? As for the two precious twins that you have also brought into the library today...they are cute. And I'm sure that you have established a routine at home that allows you to study while they either play together or murder small amphibians. Or do they always murder small amphibians while playing together? Maybe the dead frog that fell out of their pockets into our fake tree isn't really indicative of how they spend all their leisure time, but this is the first time that I've seen them...and let me tell you, the frog made an impression. Still, a dead frog is better than a live one that I would have to chase through the stacks. The real issue that I need to discuss with you concerns the trees. You see, those trees that we have in pots all around our computers and periodicals stacks are not real. Although it may be completely normal for some libraries to have 15 foot tall trees in pots that are only a foot across, your government would only spend your tax dollars on trees that don't need to be maintained. Real trees might die, and then need to be replaced. These will last forever. Unless, of course, your twin boys destroy them while climbing on them. Please don't think I am concerned about the fake trees with dead frog parts around them. I really am thinking of your child's safety. Fake trees aren't as sturdy as they used to be, you know, and one of these days when two 50 pound boys climb up the same side of the same fake tree, well....I really would hate for your two sweet angels to have the tree fall over on top of them onto a computer station, squashing them between layers of dead amphibian guts, smashed flat panel monitors and plastic tree leaves. Blood is really hard to get out of the industrialized carpet that we have in here. Which is another reason that I am grateful to your twins for apparently draining the frog's blood from his lifeless body before bringing it into the library. To get to the heart of the matter, I just wanted to let you know what was going through my mind as I saw these precious angels begin yet another ascent this afternoon and asked them if they would like me to log them into a computer to play some games. Because I'm sure that when you got angry with me, you were just taking out the fear that you felt for your children. You weren't really upset with me for "overstepping" my bounds. You weren't really trying to tell me that you are "perfectly capable of looking after your own children." You didn't mean it when you said that the boys - those adorable little imps! - "were just being boys, and wouldn't harm anything so LEAVE THEM ALONE!" I'm sure you meant to thank me for my patience in not telling all three of your loud children to get the hell out until they were old enough to know how to properly behave. I am certain that as soon as your family left the library, you went into great detail on the proper decorum and manners that should be used in any public building. In closing, I should probably thank you for using the library. This is a rather slow time of year for us, and your children certainly livened things up a bit. That, however, might be taken as encouragement to bring them back again. So instead, I'm just going to attach a map to this letter to show you where the other library on base is. They've been dying to have someone climb their trees for a while, and I always like to share my good fortune. Sincerely, The Librarian.