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Author Topic: Not Going To Happen 'Cause I'm Not Harry Potter (Impossible Patron Requests)  (Read 1713253 times)

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PastryGoddess

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There are many theories about who wrote the plays we attribute to Shakespeare.  As far as I know, Edgar Allen Poe has never been a candidate.

After H.G. Wells invented the time machine and accidentally allowed Jack The Ripper to escape into the future, he went back in time and asked Poe for help containing the situation. Poe agreed, but he had some demands of his own. Once Wells finally convinced him that there was no way they could remake the Earth into a hollow sphere, even with a time machine, Poe decided to settle for being William Shakespeare. It was dead easy, too, since they just had to bring the complete works back in time with them and have Poe copy them out long-hand. What with all the excitement they clean forgot about Jack The Ripper, but he made the mistake of stopping in Chicago during the Capone era and brought a knife to a gunfight, so happy endings all around.
But then who is buried up in Baltimore in Poe's grave?

Jimmy Hoffa?

Judge Crater
snerk!

Bluenomi

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  • Posts: 3439
A client today was told he couldn't have footage from 25 years ago because it doesn't exist. He thinks it should so wants me to get it for him. Apparently it not existing is not a good enough excuse to not provide it. Sadly this happens a lot.

eltf177

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Nice try, PeterM, but everyone knows Jack the Ripper was kidnapped by the Vorlons...

MariaE

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  • So many books, so little time
Nice try, PeterM, but everyone knows Jack the Ripper was kidnapped by the Vorlons...

.... For a minute there I thought you'd written "Vogons"...
 
Dane by birth, Kiwi by choice

poundcake

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My eyes are crossing.  I have written about this patron elsewhere, but I think I have to unload the whole tale here before I lose what little is left of my mind.

Bert is a nice guy, but he is obsessive to the point of madness.  He is very interested in the history of Our City and does a lot of research on it.  That's fine. He is also African American which isn't actually important, but does add a twist to this tale.

Unfortunately, he does not research his other obsession, which is proving that before Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office, Herbert Hoover had desegregated the army, Jim Crow did not exist, racism did not exist, everyone got on well in some sort of multicultural utopia, there was happy intermarriage, AND the Depression never happened (Roosevelt invented it to discredit Hoover), college was free to all as were hospitals.  No one went hungry, there were no food lines and....everyone lived in a paradise where no one had to work, etc., etc....

His "proof" are the speeches of Herbert Hoover.  Period.

At first we tried to engage the crazy and explain what real evidence is.  We tried to explain, light heartedly, that a speech given by someone seeking reelection is not evidence and, frankly, that the speeches of pretty much EVERY president since Washington sound an awful lot a like...everything is raining puppies and unicorns cavort about sneezing up rainbows. 

We might as well talk to ourselves as he comes back day after day demanding more and more proof about his belief of the 1930s utopia.  He will stand at our desk and read from the speeches to back up whatever point he is making.  Interesting fact:  both his parents grew up during the Depression, but apparently they are part of the conspiracy to suppress this information.

I said one day "So, my Grandmother was lying about having to take in washing to make ends meet?" and "Medical care was free?  Boy, Gramma got taken for a ride since she and Grampa had to PAY the hospital and the doctor with real cash money when my Uncle was born."  And "Bert, are you calling my Grandmother a liar?"  And he just chuckles and keeps arguing his point.

It has reached a place where we cannot make him go away as he is determined to "open our eyes" to the truth of our current situation.  No matter what information we are able to find for him, he dismisses it, no matter the slant is right left or center...it's all a conspiracy and we have to produce information to prove this consipiracy.

I finally told him that I wanted to stay friends and that he was frustrating that aim and that if he wanted to ask me for help on any other topic, I would help, but if he mentioned Hoover and Roosevelt, I would walk away.  He's been good about not asking me for proof of his theories, but it's still a drain on our time and energy.  Today my colleagues and I were calling each other in order to free up whoever Bert was holding hostage at the time.

I've asked my supervisor if we may start instituting a five minute rule for chatting and slightly delusional people. 

I'm sure this sounds silly and not that big a deal, but this has been going on for six months and daily it becomes more oppressive, especially since we have to deal with multiple versions of Bert embodied in other patrons.

I wonder if this guy read a little something about Reconstruction, pre-Jim Crow? That's not to say he's not incorrect, and probably off his rocker, too. But there was a time in history after the Civil War and before the KKK and lynchings where things were surprisingly progressive in America for blacks.

Hmmmmm

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My eyes are crossing.  I have written about this patron elsewhere, but I think I have to unload the whole tale here before I lose what little is left of my mind.

Bert is a nice guy, but he is obsessive to the point of madness.  He is very interested in the history of Our City and does a lot of research on it.  That's fine. He is also African American which isn't actually important, but does add a twist to this tale.

Unfortunately, he does not research his other obsession, which is proving that before Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office, Herbert Hoover had desegregated the army, Jim Crow did not exist, racism did not exist, everyone got on well in some sort of multicultural utopia, there was happy intermarriage, AND the Depression never happened (Roosevelt invented it to discredit Hoover), college was free to all as were hospitals.  No one went hungry, there were no food lines and....everyone lived in a paradise where no one had to work, etc., etc....

His "proof" are the speeches of Herbert Hoover.  Period.

At first we tried to engage the crazy and explain what real evidence is.  We tried to explain, light heartedly, that a speech given by someone seeking reelection is not evidence and, frankly, that the speeches of pretty much EVERY president since Washington sound an awful lot a like...everything is raining puppies and unicorns cavort about sneezing up rainbows. 

We might as well talk to ourselves as he comes back day after day demanding more and more proof about his belief of the 1930s utopia.  He will stand at our desk and read from the speeches to back up whatever point he is making.  Interesting fact:  both his parents grew up during the Depression, but apparently they are part of the conspiracy to suppress this information.

I said one day "So, my Grandmother was lying about having to take in washing to make ends meet?" and "Medical care was free?  Boy, Gramma got taken for a ride since she and Grampa had to PAY the hospital and the doctor with real cash money when my Uncle was born."  And "Bert, are you calling my Grandmother a liar?"  And he just chuckles and keeps arguing his point.

It has reached a place where we cannot make him go away as he is determined to "open our eyes" to the truth of our current situation.  No matter what information we are able to find for him, he dismisses it, no matter the slant is right left or center...it's all a conspiracy and we have to produce information to prove this consipiracy.

I finally told him that I wanted to stay friends and that he was frustrating that aim and that if he wanted to ask me for help on any other topic, I would help, but if he mentioned Hoover and Roosevelt, I would walk away.  He's been good about not asking me for proof of his theories, but it's still a drain on our time and energy.  Today my colleagues and I were calling each other in order to free up whoever Bert was holding hostage at the time.

I've asked my supervisor if we may start instituting a five minute rule for chatting and slightly delusional people. 

I'm sure this sounds silly and not that big a deal, but this has been going on for six months and daily it becomes more oppressive, especially since we have to deal with multiple versions of Bert embodied in other patrons.

I've honestly never used a librarian to do research for me. I've asked for assistance in locating specific books or recommending books on specific topics but not to actually find information to validate my point. So I'm asking this question as a novice.

Can you just not say "We have no data that supports that theory. Sorry. Next." and if he goes into a rant about his point, keep a blank look, wait for him to take a breath and say "I don't follow your theory. May I help the next person?" I can't imagine trying to reason with this person and trying to convince them they are wrong.

artk2002

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    • The Delian's Commonwealth
There are many theories about who wrote the plays we attribute to Shakespeare.  As far as I know, Edgar Allen Poe has never been a candidate.

After H.G. Wells invented the time machine and accidentally allowed Jack The Ripper to escape into the future, he went back in time and asked Poe for help containing the situation. Poe agreed, but he had some demands of his own. Once Wells finally convinced him that there was no way they could remake the Earth into a hollow sphere, even with a time machine, Poe decided to settle for being William Shakespeare. It was dead easy, too, since they just had to bring the complete works back in time with them and have Poe copy them out long-hand. What with all the excitement they clean forgot about Jack The Ripper, but he made the mistake of stopping in Chicago during the Capone era and brought a knife to a gunfight, so happy endings all around.
But then who is buried up in Baltimore in Poe's grave?

Ulysses S. Grant. Which leaves us with the perennial question: Who's buried in Grant's tomb?
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Thipu1

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In my career as a librarian I had to deal with many patrons like Bert.  That's a difficult situation.   

You can't produce 'proof' that doesn't exist.  At the same time, you just can't brush someone off and tell them they're nuts, although you would love to do so.   

Perhaps Bert has heard about the 'Harlem Renaissance' and is using that as the grain of sand on which he builds his pearl of a 'Golden Age'.  Perhaps he added together one plus one and came up with umpteen-gazzilion. That's usually the way these things work.       

 These folks are perfectly sincere in their beliefs but they're set on the idea that the PROOF must be out there.  If you tell them that it there's no evidence for their beliefs, they will tell you that, 'Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence'. 

The fact remains that there IS absence of evidence and at the best librarian in the world can't cobble something up out of thin air to satisfy the pipe-dreams of someone like Bert. 

I feel for Bert.  I want what he wants to be true.  The problem is that, although many people have tried, history can't be altered.  History will win out in the end. 


Elfmama

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  • Derailing threads since 2001!
These folks are perfectly sincere in their beliefs but they're set on the idea that the PROOF must be out there.  If you tell them that it there's no evidence for their beliefs, they will tell you that, 'Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence'.
And the fact that there is not even one shred of evidence is proof to them that it DOES exist!  Why else would there be such a massive government coverup of the alleged event?  ::)
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Common sense is not a gift, but a curse.  Because then
you have to deal with all the people who don't have it.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Midnight Kitty

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    • The Stoddard's Hale
Why else would there be such a massive government coverup of the alleged event?  ::)
I work for the state government.  When I hear people refer to a "massive government cover-up" or a multi-agency conspiracy, I laugh.  Bureaucracy is inefficient, uncoordinated, and each agency hoards information since information is power.

I'm not saying government conspiracies don't exist; Just that they are uncommon.  Usually things get swept under the rug out of sheer laziness, not nefarious reasons.
"The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit.  The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are."

Marcus Aurelius

Twik

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There are many theories about who wrote the plays we attribute to Shakespeare.  As far as I know, Edgar Allen Poe has never been a candidate.

After H.G. Wells invented the time machine and accidentally allowed Jack The Ripper to escape into the future, he went back in time and asked Poe for help containing the situation. Poe agreed, but he had some demands of his own. Once Wells finally convinced him that there was no way they could remake the Earth into a hollow sphere, even with a time machine, Poe decided to settle for being William Shakespeare. It was dead easy, too, since they just had to bring the complete works back in time with them and have Poe copy them out long-hand. What with all the excitement they clean forgot about Jack The Ripper, but he made the mistake of stopping in Chicago during the Capone era and brought a knife to a gunfight, so happy endings all around.
But then who is buried up in Baltimore in Poe's grave?

Ulysses S. Grant. Which leaves us with the perennial question: Who's buried in Grant's tomb?

This is why I read this website.
"The sky's the limit. Your sky. Your limit. Now, let's dance!"

cwm

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There are many theories about who wrote the plays we attribute to Shakespeare.  As far as I know, Edgar Allen Poe has never been a candidate.

After H.G. Wells invented the time machine and accidentally allowed Jack The Ripper to escape into the future, he went back in time and asked Poe for help containing the situation. Poe agreed, but he had some demands of his own. Once Wells finally convinced him that there was no way they could remake the Earth into a hollow sphere, even with a time machine, Poe decided to settle for being William Shakespeare. It was dead easy, too, since they just had to bring the complete works back in time with them and have Poe copy them out long-hand. What with all the excitement they clean forgot about Jack The Ripper, but he made the mistake of stopping in Chicago during the Capone era and brought a knife to a gunfight, so happy endings all around.
But then who is buried up in Baltimore in Poe's grave?

Ulysses S. Grant. Which leaves us with the perennial question: Who's buried in Grant's tomb?

This is why I read this website.

It's things like this that I share with my friends and they wonder what kind of random people are on this website.

I respond with "Polite ones."

unnalee

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I work in a small, regional archive.  I am the ONLY full-time staff person here, which means I do all the reference work, greet visitors, pull/shelve materials, supervise the reading room, and try to keep on top of the cataloging back-log, answer questions about the exhibits, answer the phone, make copies, etc.... 

Our collections focus on a single ethnic group who immigrated to the area heavily from the 1880s through the 1930s.  The majority of our researchers are looking for genealogy information.  Most come armed with at least the names, dates, and places they know.  The man who came in yesterday was a different story.

He explained that he was just passing through (lived 2 states over), but thought he would stop in and see if he could find any information about his grandmother's family.  I asked where in the area they had lived.  He didn't know the name of the town.  I asked for family names.  He only knew her married name (which was the local equivalent of Smith), so I asked when they were married.  He didn't know.  He didn't know when they had come to this country, didn't have anyone's death date (so I could look for obits), didn't know of their religious affiliations (we have a lot of church records), political leanings, employment history.  Oh, and he could only stay for about an hour.

Since our historical records were pointless without more information to narrow down the search, I tried to direct him to our online resources (we have subscriptions to useful things like Ancestry and the Institute of Migration from the "Old Country", that can usually help us find an immigration date, place of origin/settlement, birth/death dates, etc.) 

He refused!  He wanted to "have something to hold in my hands that my ancestors actually touched."  I pointed out that the only way I would be able to find something like that is if we had more information to give me someplace to start.  At that point he had almost reached his self-imposed time limit and left, muttering how useless I was and how I wouldn't even help him.

Wish I had a magic family tree wand, but alas, I do not.  If you can't give me information to work with, I can't produce miracles.

z_squared82

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Working my way through the thread, but posting to get updates.

I used to work in reservations for a Major American Airline. Said MAA had a partnership with two European Airlines. MAA offered its loyal customers miles to use, well, you could use them for a lot of things, but most people saved them up for flights. You can use MAA miles on flights with those two EA.

I had a woman on the phone who wanted to buy a ticket from Italian City to Polish City.

It had to be non-stop.

And she wanted to use miles.

I told her 17 different ways that there was no such route, but she would not believe me. They had that route five years ago, give it to me now! Im sorry maam, I believe you when you say they had that option five years ago, but weve cut a lot of flights since then. You can use miles and have two layovers or you can take a direct flight on Italian Airline and it will cost you $$$. Those are your options.

She really did not like those options, but Im not in charge of flight schedules.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2013, 01:20:31 PM by z_squared82 »

VorFemme

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  • It's too darned hot! (song from Kiss Me, Kate)
I work in a small, regional archive.  I am the ONLY full-time staff person here, which means I do all the reference work, greet visitors, pull/shelve materials, supervise the reading room, and try to keep on top of the cataloging back-log, answer questions about the exhibits, answer the phone, make copies, etc.... 

Our collections focus on a single ethnic group who immigrated to the area heavily from the 1880s through the 1930s.  The majority of our researchers are looking for genealogy information.  Most come armed with at least the names, dates, and places they know.  The man who came in yesterday was a different story.

He explained that he was just passing through (lived 2 states over), but thought he would stop in and see if he could find any information about his grandmother's family.  I asked where in the area they had lived.  He didn't know the name of the town.  I asked for family names.  He only knew her married name (which was the local equivalent of Smith), so I asked when they were married.  He didn't know.  He didn't know when they had come to this country, didn't have anyone's death date (so I could look for obits), didn't know of their religious affiliations (we have a lot of church records), political leanings, employment history.  Oh, and he could only stay for about an hour.

Since our historical records were pointless without more information to narrow down the search, I tried to direct him to our online resources (we have subscriptions to useful things like Ancestry and the Institute of Migration from the "Old Country", that can usually help us find an immigration date, place of origin/settlement, birth/death dates, etc.) 

He refused!  He wanted to "have something to hold in my hands that my ancestors actually touched."  I pointed out that the only way I would be able to find something like that is if we had more information to give me someplace to start.  At that point he had almost reached his self-imposed time limit and left, muttering how useless I was and how I wouldn't even help him.

Wish I had a magic family tree wand, but alas, I do not.  If you can't give me information to work with, I can't produce miracles.

Clearly, you were supposed to do a mitochondrial DNA sequencing on his DNA (which might have worked if it was his maternal grandmother) and match it to the DNA of any local relatives in the data base - then pull a search based on HIS grandmother clearly being of a particular family in the area that donated seventeen exhibits, including Grandma's silver christening cup, a china cup & saucer, the family Bible with the family tree in it, and assorted odds & ends of other things.....

But how you'd fit all that into ONE hour, not even the script writers for the various crime scene shows would have found easy.
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I explain?