Monday, November 24, 2014

Walking dead fines

An occasionally recurring motif at the library, involving certain patrons who feel beset by constant library fines, occurs in the form of a peculiar belief. They decide that they keep paying the same fine over and over. They become convinced that they have paid their late charge, seen it disappear, only to have that same late charge reappear at a later time, sometimes over and over. A zombie late charge, so to speak, laid to rest only to reemerge from its resting place to roam the earth once again, or, at least, to roam our computer system once again.

Everything's possible, and, on the whole, this belief is probably a bit more likely to be true than the one involving real zombies, stumbling through our library, muttering about brains.

Nevertheless it is still not very likely. I can easily think of many vastly more likely explanations for these people's seemingly reanimated fines. And I do think of them. Then I carefully examine the evidence and invariably find a lot of support for one of those explanations.

Such as: 

A similar fine was paid for different books, or 

the book in question was renewed late and paid for and then returned late after that, 

or they only paid half of the fines last time around.

And so on.

And usually when I hit them with a barrage of theories, reassurances, historical accounts, explanations, and evidence, they reluctantly relent. They unbend. They become sort of convinced.

But sometimes they don't.

And who am I to say they are wrong. People believe all sorts of things that seem palpably impossible to me: God had a baby, Republicans aren't evil, non dairy creamer works in a pinch, and, well, I could go on forever, but I don't want to offend anyone. And as I said, who am I to say? What about my own passionate beliefs that defy all logic, run counter to all experience and to all evidence?


Well, surely the world's all time greatest blogger has at least one!

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