Thursday 20 Oct 2016

Library Books
Jennifer Flaten

My feelings about 2015 can be summed up thus, “Don’t let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out.”

For me, celebrating New Year's happens at 9 pm, with a glass of sparkling grape juice.

I usually don’t celebrate New Year’s, but this year I made an exception. I was more than happy to stay up and raise a toast to the passing of this year. Of course, my toast happened at 9 pm, with sparkling grape juice, because. You’ll never find me in the same sentence as, “Party Animal.”  

So, we have a new year, which will not be like the old year, if it knows what’s good for it.

I don’t make resolutions, usually, but this year I made an exception. I resolved that 2016 is the year I get my books back to the library, on time. Seriously, oh come on, if you expected some in depth life changing resolution from me you really haven't been paying attention. You have no idea how bad I am at returning books.

I should have my name on a wing of the local library.

Given what I pay in fines, I should have a whole wing dedicated to me. Actually, I am the reason the library can afford to have a fireplace, in the quiet reading room. It isn’t because I don’t go to the library; obviously, I do, at least once a week.

I think my problem lies in the fact that my checkout rate vastly outstrips my return rate. I’m like some doomsday prepper, but with books instead of canned soup. Did someone spill soup on my overdue book?

I even use the online reminder service. If you’re unfamiliar with the reminder service, here’s how it works. The library sends me an e-mail containing a list of books that are due three days, from the date of the e-mail. I delete the email without reading it. The library’s cash register makes a little happy cha-ching sound.

I could blame my kids. Actually, I do blame my kids. Sadly, while they account for a large portion of my fines, I am ultimately the worst offender.

I stash books around the house so I can take a quick hit, a quick read, anywere.

My problem is I stash books around the house and the car; maybe my purse, too, I’m not sure. I have one or two, maybe three to be brutally honest), books in each room, in case the desire to read strikes. The distribution makes it easy to lose track of a book.

Not to mention the under the bed books; I leave books under the bed. Those are books I’ve finished and forgotten or that I hated so much I tossed it down in disgust.

From there, these sad little books slump discarded on the floor, their pages splayed and crinkly until I kicked the books under the bed. There the books get revenge, on me, for its mistreatment, by slowly accumulating fines and a layer of dust.

This last time I paid my fine, which I had to do in order to get my library privileges reinstated, as I paid my bill the librarian at a different station was checking in my last batch of overdue books. So, the total jumped from zero to five dollars, as I finished counting out my change. I pretended not to hear the librarian cackling, maniacally.


Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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