Friday, September 21, 2007

and here i thought it was just me

I read library blogs. And I read librarian blogs. And this week, there's been a lot of excitement over this.

Wooeeee! Lots of people excited 'bout that ad campaign! And so picture me, mouth agape, thinking - come on! Who honestly thinks this is a good idea?? It boggles my mind. So librarians have been touting it as a "wow, they really know their customers!" sort of deal, and I really just have to shake my head.

I guess I thought the public library was supposed to be a place that appealed to everyone, not just truckers and misogynists, or misogynistic truckers? I'm sorry, Wyoming, but this is just sad.

You can read the Annoyed Librarian's take on this too. Go give her some love.

Monday, September 17, 2007

giant crazy one-of-everything lady and the man with the scarlet hair

I know. I totally had you at "giant crazy one-of-everything lady", didn't I?

So up until now, I haven't said a lot about the people who frequent my place of work. I've talked a bit about a few of the patients - not specifically, of course, and that is never going to happen, trust me - but in general. As in, I see a lot of cancer patients. In fact, that's pretty much all I see. Sometimes we get people who are just looking for information for school projects or whatever, but for the most part, the users of my library are patients, and have been dealt a rotten hand. Big time. And I feel for them, for their families. Our library users are pretty much just regular people, trying to find some info on a disease that has kicked them six ways from Sunday and rocked their worlds on so many levels that it's all they can do to get up and continue the fight. Once in awhile though, there are some real prizes. Now please don't go all sanctimonious on me, k? We're friends. And I am not going to say "bitch totally got what she deserved" because I am SO not that guy. What I will say is that just like anywhere else, you're going to find pricks and you're going to find crazies. And here's the thing: if you were a prick before you were diagnosed with an illness, there's a really good chance that you will continue to be a prick after said diagnosis. And further: if you were bananas before a lifechanging event? Same deal. Pricks and crazies. They are the staples of the library patron world. So far I've run into very, very few people who fall into this category. But they do exist, and there is a good chance that down the road? You're going to be hearing about them.

Like today.

Today, I feel the need to talk about the 2 people mentioned in the subject line. Can you guess which category they fall into? Okay good, but let's not spoil it for the rest.

Giant crazy one-of-everything lady is. Just. That. She's giant. As in she is probably about 6'5" tall and almost twice as wide as me. And dudes, you need to know that I am not a waif. But I feel like a Polly Pocket next to this woman. She comes in once every 3-4 weeks, and she's definitely a crazy. She's not a patient - but apparently she's with one - lucky them. Every time she comes in she makes a point of saying "I'm not a patient, but I'm not well myself". Like we couldn't tell. Anyway, her raison-d'etre seems to be to drain the library of every single brochure, booklet and paper handout. "I love information and I love to learn! Learning is so important! And I'm interested in everything! I'll take this all home and study it and read it and oh it's so important to have information!" Uh huh. She must, by now, have 12 copies of everything we have - including the testicular self-exam card and the "prostate cancer risk assessment tool". And still she keeps coming. This week she was in, pillaging my pamphlet racks, and informing me that she's planning to be a library volunteer - because she loves learning, and information and yadda yadda. "Great!" I tell her, knowing full well that all volunteers must pass the background-crazy test, which she'd totally fail without question, so I can be all polite and enthusiastic when it comes to this subject. Whew. She's also not above asking for dating and relationsip advice and tips on "getting a man". During one encounter she asked "why are men so strange when it comes to dating?" giant crazy lady, I really don't know what it could be.

Do y'all know anyone that just makes you full on laugh with abandon when you see them? For me, it's the "man with the scarlet hair". This guy isn't a patient either, he's actually a volunteer. And his hair is indeed scarlet - or maybe it's crimson, or vermillion - whatever. It's a colour that does not exist in nature, and until now, I didn't know it existed in chemical form either. When I first laid eyes on the guy, I seriously thought he was wearing a hat or some such headwear. It's a bold statement, for sure, and the really excellent part is that his sideburns, eyebrows and stubble are always a combination of blonde/grey - not scarlet. Are you gettting the visual? He is a sight to behold, this Ronald McDonald of the cancer centre. I truly want to know what the deal is - does he think it's cool? Sexy? Debonair? Or, maybe he does it for the reason I mentioned above - it gives me (and no doubt others) the fits of the giggles when he comes into view. Maybe he's willing to look like a crazy just to evoke smiles from patients? If that's the case, I totally respect that, and would like to introduce him to our therapy clowns. One day I might get up the courage to ask him about his hair.

Or maybe I'll just introduce him to giant crazy one-of-everything lady and see how that works itself out.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

5 minutes i'll never get back...and neither will you

Yeah. Um....sorry. But almost worth it, right?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

angry haiku of the day

I'm Elizabeth
Please do not call me "Liz", jerk
I will kick your ass.

Friday, September 07, 2007

save the ta-tas!

I don’t normally go in for a lot of the cancer-related merchandising, but this site made me laugh. And then it made me mad to read the article about the girl who was sent home from school for wearing her ta-tas t-shirt. But I’m sure Hooters shirts are okay? Sigh… Anyway, the site’s message is good. And they really do give back, so I just thought I’d share.

[painfully obvious segue]

So one of my best friends is walking in the big Weekend to End Breast Cancer event in Toronto. 60km over two days. 6-0. People, this is a lot of walking. She and another friend are staying in a hotel on the Saturday night, but something tells me it won’t be a night of dancing in the hotel bar and shamelessly flirting while consuming large, overpriced martinis. There will be much, much sleeping and possibly soaking of feet, is what I think. Anyway, Viv has raised over $2000 for this cause, which in itself is a pretty amazing accomplishment. Add to that the enormous amount of walking and….well, she’s just amazing.

Breast cancer gets a lot of press. It’s out there and it’s pink and there are so many baubles (or is that boobles?) that you can buy. I’ve really got nothing against the ribbons and the “stuff”, because they are out there, and they’re promoting awareness, which is so important. What hurts, for me, is that while all the merch fosters hope and awareness, there is also such a glut of it in the marketplace, that the message – breast cancer kills – gets lost amongst the hype.

And it does kill. Almost everyone I know has lost someone to breast cancer, and everyone I know has been affected by it – whether personally or knowing a friend or relative who has/had it. It’s a horrible, horrible disease. “Early detection saves lives” – well, not always. “Once you’ve had surgery and treatment, you’re cured, right?” – nope, no guarantees. “Once you have surgery, the cancer can’t spread” – again, sorry, no guarantees.

In the 8 months I’ve worked in the patient library, I’ve learned more about breast cancer (and cancer in general) than I ever cared to know. I’ve spoken with breast cancer patients who knew they were going to die, and ones who had just received good news. I’ve helped women research places to go to buy mastectomy bras, and helped others find information on what brain metastases are. I’ve found them books on how to tell their children that they have cancer, and laughed with them when their “chemo brain” was showing and they couldn’t remember their phone number. I’ve had some of the most painful days of my life here, and some of the most triumphant. All in 8 months. Never, ever have I been able to say that about any other job I’ve ever held.

So go. Go and sponsor Vivian for her walk – it’s not too late! And please, the next time you see a pink ribbon teddy bear or a pair of earrings, don’t just say “oh, how cute!” Please, please…get angry. Get angry that this disease takes so many women and men. Get angry. And remember.

Oh, and Viv? If by some chance all that stuff about dancing and flirting and martinis does go down? I’m so in for next year. You rock my world, girlfriend. And I am so proud of you.
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