I’ve tried to avoid venting on this blog about annoying, strange, inappropriate, or just plain rude patrons. This latest conversation, however, is just funny (in that funny-bizarre kinda way) and I have to share it.
A mom, whose 9-year-old daughter is a regular at my branch, came up to the Children’s Information Desk recently and threw down several books on my desk: a few Babymouse volumes and MouseGuard: Fall 1152. After drawing my undivided attention by slamming said books on my desktop, she looked at me expectantly. Keep in mind that this is a relatively nice, mild-mannered woman who generally speaks softly and has never had an issue with me or the library in the past.
“Can I help you?” I ask.
“Yes, I just wanted to point something out to you that I think is a problem. What’s the deal with all these mice?”
“I mean, not to be a troublemaker or anything, but I really don’t think that it’s appropriate to have so many children’s books with mouse characters. Mickey Mouse- he’s okay. That’s one thing. But all the rest of these mice? I mean, it’s not right. Kids will get the wrong idea. They are flithy, dirty, disease carriers.”
“I’ll tell you what’s going to happen. A child will see a mouse at home run across the floor and they might go to pick it up or play with it. Because they think it’s cute. Because of all this.” [gesturing to the pile of Babymouse books].
“Well,” I began, “Huh. I’ve never reallly thought of it in those terms before. That is an interesting point of view.”
“…..” [Her, waiting for me to light the pyre on which the mouse books will be burned.]
“I suppose it is a good thing there are observant parents, like you, who can explain the difference between the characters like Babymouse and the dangers of real-life rodents. That’s important.” [This was said, I swear by the Girl Scouts Honor, with a completely straight face.]
“Thank you. I appreciate that. I suppose this is just a phase, like anything else, huh? What will it be next? Snakes? Roaches? Ha!”
The mouse-hating mom left shortly after, seemingly satisfied with my response. Although I’m tempted, the next time she comes in, to casually leave lying about Stuart Little or If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.