Four Stitches and a Tetanus Shot: My Favorite Librarians Who Saved the World

Quiet season at the library has more or less ended, now that the holidays have passed. As a teen librarian, this means that I’m planning more original and creative programs for my kids, as opposed to lazily ordering kits from outreach, because there’s a 60% chance no one will show. This means more prep and sadly, for me, more injuries.

Three weeks ago, on the new branch manager, Penny’s, third day, I was prepping for my stained glass program, when I cut my finger and yelped in surprise and pain. It was just bad enough that, without a Band-Aid, the blood would have been an issue, so Penny helped me bandage it, sharing her own klutzy tale and we returned to work.

It was a rough day, as I later learned that a coworker from another branch had suddenly died over the weekend. He’d been my motivation for becoming a teen librarian and I told him so just last summer, at our teen volunteer laser tag party. I powered through, however, as I chose an additional last minute craft for the week’s book-themed family program. What cuter craft than a laminate bookmark made of shapes cut from book pages… or so I thought, as I trimmed the edges with the guillotine paper cutter.

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In my shock, I wasn’t entirely sure what to do. I walked into Penny’s office, cupping my left thumb and blurted “This is much worse.” A flurry of activity ensued, in which I learned that dealing with blood is not one of a librarian’s many talents, as Penny, a former high school librarian, was the only one who could assist without fainting… including myself. Someone called Jake, as Penny determined that I needed to go to aftercare.

Jake: “So, what did you do?”
Me: “I made a beautiful craft.”

Three hours and four stitches later, the doctor asked when I’d last had a tetanus shot and my manual labor husband chimed in:

Jake: “I’m sure she’s had one through work.”
Me: “I’m a librarian. We were just mocking the fact that we have to take a blood borne pathogens training. When would they have given me a tetanus shot?”

So it was, that after seven and a half years with the system, I learned about worker’s comp… along with my new manager, on her third day. On the way home, I cried and told Jake that Jim died. He asked who Jim was and, knowing it was the only way to jog his memory, I reminded him of the guy at the Southside Library, who, coincidentally… was missing a thumb.

“I’d love to have a job where I can read all day.” Yeah. Me, too. Let me know if you find it.

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So, my thumb has finally healed enough that I can comfortably type to tell you about my favorite librarians, who saved the world. Spoiler warning, as appropriate.

Rupert Giles – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

It was a fandom war, when I got my new puppy, y’all. Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Harry Potter? In a moment of truth, however, I named my little guy Rupert, after the half-superhero, half-father figure librarian of Sunnydale High. Giles wasn’t just the only reason the Scoobies ever even knew what or how to fight, he killed two major series villains, one as a mercy to Buffy, so she wouldn’t have to take it on her own conscious. For me, his real heroism, however, was best repesented in the scene where he comforts Buffy after she loses her virginity to Angel, causing him to lose his soul. Anyone with a buttload of explosives can be a badass. It takes a real hero to comfort a crying teen, as her world falls apart.

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Mike Hanlon – Stephen King’s It

Zetus lapetus, librarians never get any credit in fiction. If you ask anyone how Stephen King’s It concludes, depending on whether or not they’ve read the book, they’ll either mention eleven-year-old group sex or a weird spider from outer space. No one seems to recall that this story, in ever single way, is about a librarian who saved the fucking world. Not only was Mike Hanlon the only character to stay in Derry, he was the sole individual who kept any memory or record of the horrors that happened in his childhood. He called back Bill and the gang to fight this ancient evil, after they all went on to live lives of success, leaving him behind to be an intelligent black man in a terrifyingly racist town. Fuck Bill. He was only the main protagonist, because he was a semi-autobiographical and Stephen King is in love with himself. Mike Hanlon was the real MVP.

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Samwell Tarly – Game of Thrones

Due to his lack of rapey tendencies and general mental stability, Samwell Tarly is portrayed as a meek, cowardly character in Game of Thrones. In some respects, this is a valid description, as he refuses to stand up for himself and fails at most athletic and physical feats. His overall lack of aggression seems to have freed up a lot of mental space, though, as it’s Sam who discovers the long lost key to killing the White Walkers, by testing it out personally. He even cures greyscale, a magical and more horrifying form of leprosy, on his way to discovering John Snow’s true identity. Of course, Game of Thrones has not actually concluded, which makes this more speculation than spoiler, but we can see where this is going. Sam uncovers the true identity of John Snow and he ushers in a golden age of royal unity for the Seven Kingdoms, even though this is a world where magic is second only to violence, because research is badass.tumblr_myzwhrflwp1s5m21go3_250

Barbara Gordon – Bat Girl

Barbara Gordon wasn’t only the daughter of the police commissioner, James Gordon. She was the head of the Gotham City Public Library. Y’all, I have worked in an inner-city library, and Batgirl or no, this makes Barbara Gordon a tough cookie. Not only was she a researcher and homeless people’s advocate extraordinaire, Barbara Gordon used her innocent librarian cover to throw the scent off her own vigilantism, which is essentially my dream… if I could just get Jake on board. Even when she became wheelchair bound, Barbara Gordon simply shifted her goals and alter-ego to become The Oracle, basically librarianing the bad guys right into the hands of Batman and friends. Librarians, folks, are truly the unsung heroes of literature.

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… but superheroes do it.

Coworker B: “But sometimes in a marriage, you’re 80/20, 60/40, or 90/10. Everyone has days like that. You’ll learn.”

Coworker B has never been married. I was married for four and half years of Hell. Therein lies the downside of accidentally creating a secret identity at work. I know right? You wouldn’t think there’d be one.

Most days it looks like this:
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But some days it looks like this:
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Sidenote: The Google Image search for “fun at the circus” turns up a lot of pictures of clowns. I felt that would give the wrong impression. Rarely is it ever scary as fuck.

I’ve detailed the whole secret identity thing before, but the short version is that my coworkers know me as a country girl from a wealthy and super functional family. They assumed. I let them. They’ve no idea I was ever abused, married, pregnant… none of it. It is fucking awesome. I’m like Clark Kent with boobs.

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Don’t get me wrong. I understand, logically, that this is unhealthy and totally insane. For one, I have Jiminy Fucking Cricket as a best friend and Gail is perpetually willing to tell me I’m a lunatic for creating the persona she calls “Winifred”, even if it was by accident. I think she’s more concerned that I totally intend to keep this up even after moving to another branch one day. She’s so irrational. Just like a woman. Head pat, Gail. Head pat.

Honestly, at this point, I’m pretty amazed that I haven’t run over Winifred with a truck yet. I almost slip at least a couple of times a month, such as when I was talking to Coworker S just the other day about my brother’s jealousy over my weekly lunches with my dad.

Coworker S: “But your brother’s also married and that makes a big difference.”
Me: “Yeah, but when I was… at lunch with my dad…”

I’ve no idea what the rest of that sentence even was. I just remember a roaring in my ears as I almost plowed right over Winifred.

Me: “If I ever get married ag…:cough:…”

No one’s caught that… any of the 27 or so times I’ve done it. It’s like I have some kind of guardian angel protecting my secret identity.

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Sometimes, it’s super funny to encourage this… “misguided image” my coworkers have. My personal favorite:

Coworker S: “Well. I just don’t think I’m fond enough of marriage to ever try it again, anyway.”
Me: “Yeah. Me neither.”
Coworker N: laughingly “You never tried it in the first place.”
Me: hearty laughed tinged with a little madness.

Other times…

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Coworker B: “You don’t know how to make mashed potatoes?!?”
Me: “Why would I? I don’t like them.”
Coworker B: “What happens when you get married and your husband wants mashed potatoes for dinner?”
Me: “Then he can make his own danged mashed potatoes.”
Coworker B: “That’s not how it works girl. You’ll learn.”

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve been wondering what the secret to saving my marriage was! If only you’d gotten here sooner!

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When blended just right, I hear they’ll pay your rent and bring all your pets back to life.

Yeah. Winifred was almost viciously gang raped and left to bleed out in a ditch that day. You can never accuse me of lacking in imagery.

Other times, of course, I wonder if I should just come clean, much like how Clark Kent doubts whether or not he should just come out as Superman. There have been entire movies based on it. How did they usually end, though?

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With a dead Lois Lane. That’s how. So really, this is for the good of all mankind… or um… just Lois Lane… only the library version. I’ve had this job for a year and a half. Even if I didn’t tell them to call me Winifred, they did and I’ve kind of been responding to it for all this time. I’d just look crazy if I admitted it now.

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Shut-up, Gail. That one’s too easy… like you.*

*She loves those jokes. She thinks Hallmark should use them.

Fortunately, no one has ever caught on about how defensive I can be of divorce, thinking my negative marital views stem from my parents’ divorce, which I’ve barely mentioned… cuz that’s the saddest thing that’s happend to me. :Giggle:

Coworker S: “It depends on why people get divorced. Some people get divorced just because they don’t want to be married anymore.”
Me: “You never know what’s going on in another person’s marriage. There could be plenty they aren’t telling you.”

You see, though. I’m defending divorcees all over the world… undercover. I’m like some special Amazonian heroine…

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You’re fucking welcome y’all. You’re fucking welcome.