In the guerrilla warfare that is parenting, sometimes we forget about stuff. Okay, lot’s of times I forget all the stuff, but considering the complete love I have for the written word, it’s really a damn shame that I can’t show my face in the public library. It’s not like they have my picture hanging up next to the check-out… Oh shit, maybe they do? Do they? This is the kind of thinking that has turned my away from borrowing books. That, and the fact that a private testing facility found saliva, sperm, DNA, and herpes on copies of 50 Shades of Grey in am Amsterdam public library… Actually, that fact is just more of a reason for me to stay away from the library… after the wanted poster.

When my oldest child was 2 I was a hot mess. I couldn’t handle any of the responsibility that came with being a stay-at-home mom. Cleaning? Nope. Cooking? Nope. Being a functioning member of society? Nope. I was able to sustain his needs for food, naps, clean diapers and love, while the rest? Well… all that shit went out the window. At the time, since he was my only child, we spent a great deal of time at the local public library. Because books and quiet and other kids with clueless moms.

This one day we borrowed a whole mess of books, Blue’s Clues, Bernstein Bears, Sesame Street, all the things that my little munchkin found amusing. I was just happy to have him occupied, especially by books. It wasn’t until 4 weeks later that I remembered about the books. I mean, I remembered that I had them, shit, he wanted to read them every night, I just forgot they didn’t belong to me. Come to find out, that people who actually remember to return library books, make a note on a calendar about the day they are due… these are basic life skills I didn’t have at the time. I’m getting there… slowly.

That next morning I collected all the books and sent them with the hubby to drop off at the library, because why do something yourself when you can just pass the buck to someone else? Hindsight people, hindsight.

It was 8 weeks later when I learned that was the wrong choice.

Not surprisingly, I feel the same way about mail that I do about library book due dates, I don’t pay attention to either of them, so when I finally opened the “bitter, yet surprisingly chipper” letter informing me of my massive library fines for OVERDUE BOOKS and a list of the replacement costs of said books, I panicked. When I called my husband to inquire about the whereabouts of the literature it seemed that in those 2 months they had been misplaced. Gone girl. They were nowhere to be found.

“What do I fucking do now?” was my sentiment over dinner.

Of course I did the most logical thing a mother could do over a mound of missing books, I wrote a check to pay for the replacements and cried. Because replacement books are freaking expensive from the library. Ridiculously expensive, and Blue and her clues drive me batshitcrazy.

It was a couple of months later when I discovered my driver’s license had been suspended BECAUSE I BOUNCED A CHECK TO THE PUBLIC LIBRARY. Mainly because I hate checking the mail and secondly because I hate keeping a check register. I’ve since gotten a bit better at these things but not much.

There is a great deal to be learned from the “Bad Check Writing Class”. On the one hand, your delinquent check amount is now doubled and oddly, they only accept cash. You have to learn (with a group of 50 or so strangers) how to write a check and how to keep a proper check register. You know, all the stuff everyone else already knows… and did I mention it takes 8 hours in a small room to learn that? Good, memorable times. On the other had, you are now entitled to spend 8 hours with the people Maury makes his money on, so… Yay for me!

It’s been 7 years and I’ve been afraid of the public library ever since. Even though I paid my debt (twice). So fearful, in fact, that my 9-year-old, book-loving son, doesn’t have a library card. I was pretty sure that if I took him to get one, they would want to see my driver’s license and the words PERSONA-NON-GRATA would flash on the librarian’s little screen, along with the most-wanted poster they all have memorized. Librarians are like the IRS of the printed word.

Today he came home with a form from school for his own library card…

“Mom, you just have to sign here.”





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