Elderly behaving badly

Working at the library will introduce one to all walks of life. At the Southfield Public Library, we get a lot of senior citizens coming through. Generally, I think how great it must be to be retired and just read, read, read books to my heart's content. A lot of the elderly folks are very kind and are pleased beyond belief when they are served by the librarians here.

Yet, I've been noticing some senior citizens behaving badly lately. I'm not sure if it's because they are gaining in years and feel they are entitled to act like [insert expletive here], but it's getting sort of silly. For example, an unwritten rule here at SPL is that you do NOT kiss the librarians. One of the best librarians in the house was kissed by an elderly patron. Not cool. If you want to show your appreciation, fill out a comment card with fluffy prose. Don't forget to add our names. Kissing does nothing for us other than gross us out.

A second unwritten rule: don't kiss and then insult the other patrons. A week or two ago, another elderly lady came in and tried to kiss a patron's daughter. The older lady then started telling the patron and the patron's daughter that they were too fat and had to go on a diet. My colleague grabbed a piece of paper with call numbers on it, grabbed me and sharply whispered, "Get her out of here." I interrupted the patron's berating of the others and had her to walk to the stacks with me. It was embarrassing for everyone except the lady, who chuckled and asked me, "Oh, was I misbehaving?" I looked at her and said, "I'm just showing you where your books are."

A third patron of ours loves coming to the desk and acting high and mighty with his vast knowledge bank. He always tells us what he recommends and what we should be watching. Sometimes he tries to get folks to talk about inappropriate things at the desk, like God. Sorry dude, no can do. It was funny one day when he was trying to talk hockey with me. As soon as he began ragging on Nick Lidstrom I knew he was full o' crap. When I had a reply for every one of his ridiculously formed statements about the Detroit Red Wings, he looked at me and said, "How do you know so much about the Red Wings?" When I told him I wrote for the organization for 4 seasons, he realized that he was not the all-knowing party in the conversation. He left immediately and without a word. Silent victory was mine.

Finally, there's a patron who is a tutor and feels that he should be served right away, regardless whether there are patrons in front of him or not. Further, he SCREAMS his demands at the librarians from across the floor. He's also been calling people names and throwing around his age, like it's some pass for acting like a [insert expletive here]. He keeps threatening that he's going to tell the boss, but the boss isn't going to respond well to some dude that screams at and degrades his librarians.

Elderly folks really should know better. If you want to be respected, you must first show respect. Age isn't a "Get-respect-whether-you-are-civil-or-not" card.

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