Hello everyone. I was going to give you all a break from my working life, and write a biting but intuitive article about why you will never be as good a cook as my mom even if you are so fortunate as to receive her recipes. Don’t worry, I will write that one for you next week, because I’m sure you want to know. In fact, I’m fairly certain you’ve struggled with this question for most of your life.
I’ve had to change my plans, because I finally met him. A somewhat rotund, gray-haired, balding man. Ordinary, yes? No.
This particular rotund, gray-haired, balding man is one I’ve been waiting to meet for a couple months now. He’s the rather infamous professor I mentioned in my last post. Remember? Yes? No? Never mind.
I starting hearing stories about him almost as soon as I started working at the University of Joy and Happiness. I’m going to call him Professor Chef, which is not even remotely related to his real name. At all.
This is the man who ran off one research assistant maybe a week into the semester, and has only just now begun to use D2L (his current, very brave, assistant somehow managed to bring this about).
He assigns a rather ridiculous quantity of extra required reading for his courses. I’m talking five to ten books, and this is not even English Lit. we’re talking about. We in the library know this very well. We have to process all of these texts when we put them on reserve in the library*.
We’ve been trying to get people to use the online form for this, but Professor Chef is the only one whose been able to get past this even though we’ve stopped giving the paper forms out. The librarians believe he has a secret stash of them.
One year he asked the library staff to look up how many times students had used these books. Those of you who are familiar with how students handle extra reading may anticipate the results. Naturally, the books had all been checked out many, many times.
He was so mad, the next semester he didn’t put up any books at all on reserve. The library staff were delighted.
This is also the man who posts inflammatory political articles on the staff message boards. Most people use it like kijiji. Not Professor Chef, he uses it to advance his views. He’s like that unreasonable relative everyone has. I imagine he is someone’s unreasonable relative.
I’ve considered telling him how much I enjoy reading his posts, but I’m worried he would realize what I actually mean by that. If you happen to be conservative, the posts would either make you mad or make you laugh, they’re that bad.
Anyway, like I said, I met him today. I found him, a random old dude, poking around by the books on reserve, behind the front desk where random people aren’t supposed to be. Specifically he was looking at his own books, though I didn’t know that yet. He basically has his own bookcase full. Like I said, I didn’t know who he was. But I realized who he was as soon as he answered my question.
I asked, “Is there anything I can help you with?” Meaning roughly: can I politely get you to leave this area where you aren’t supposed to be?
He said, “No.”
It wasn’t what he said, so much as how he said it.
At that point my colleague came back and they chatted about another book he wanted put on reserve. In a lull in the conversation, he put a book on the counter with his card and left it there for me to check in for him. (No one does this.)
The arrogance of this man. He knows exactly how (in)famous he is around here. He soon finished the conversation and came to collect the book and his card.
All he said before leaving was, “Now you know me.”
Like he knew I must have heard about him and was waiting see what he was actually like. You may recall from earlier posts or my disclaimer that I’ve given myself license to be creative in these posts. Aside from changing names, this is all completely true. Honestly, I don’t think I could make this stuff up.
*”On reserve at the library” is librarian-speak for books that professors have loaned to the library, so that students can borrow them for set amounts of time. Some use this service in case they forgot their textbook at their dorm, or at home. Some use this to avoid actually having to purchase the textbook. People who use this latter option should realize the risk and not blame the library technician at the desk (me) when the text they need to study for their midterm is checked out and the bookstore has sold out of copies.