I decided it was high time recently for Miss C to have her own library card.
I try to take the girls to our local library a couple of times a month and Miss A and Miss C always make a beeline to the children’s area after they check out the DVD section. There is usually a lot of shushing on my part until I start to get on my own nerves with the shushing. I swore I’d never be a mother who shushed her kids.
There I stood all smug and proud in line, about to introduce my daughter to the wonders of the public library system. We were standing next to Miss C’s soccer coach, I might add, who I couldn’t help but overhear was paying off a twelve dollar fine. I mean, could you imagine? Twelve dollars in fines? Who could be so irresponsible? What kind of rogue library patron would do such an irresponsible thing? What sort of irresponsible citizen would rack up fines at the library?
The library clerk checked our account and, cue suspenseful music, lo and behold she told me I had late fees on my account. I blew this off, chuckling and thinking that surely it was just a dollar or two. And then I asked her how much I owed.
“Twenty dollars.” (And some change.)
So much for my squeaky clean library record.
Apparently I had checked out several DVDs that we forgot to return for a couple of days last year. They racked up a $2 a day fine per DVD. Then there were late fees for books, ranging from a board book, “Jesus Stops a Storm,” to chick lit, Jennifer Weiner’s “Good in Bed.” We are nothing, but intellectually diverse, at this house. Rumor has it there were also late fees for a couple of really bad DVDs, including Barney and a Blue Collar Comedy Tour DVD that we never watched. I’m thinking this must have been the week I had my wisdom teeth extracted and I was on pain pills, otherwise I’m fearful of my deteriorating judgment in movies.
Miss C was able to leave with a library card on a purple lanyard, with the promise that I would pay off our fees with canned goods. Our local library was running a food drive and allowing library flunkees such as myself to redeem themselves by donating cans of tuna and boxes of mac and cheese to wipe the slate clean. I brought in a couple of bags of food the next day to pay off our fines, but I’ll never be able to run for public office should my embarrassing public library record make headline news.