My Life as a Jailbrarian: Life on the Inside Leads to Life Online

It’s been a while since I’ve written a “jailbrarian” post. It’s hard for me to decide where to start with my life in the county jail. As I mentioned in the last post, many days in jail are boring and uneventful and that is what you want. Boring and uneventful, coupled with the job being a very solitary job can make for a very long day.  At the beginning if my time as a jailbrarian I was in jail 8-4 four days a week. I only worked with other librarians one day a week. It was a very isolated life. There was also a lot of down time during periods when the inmates were locked down for count, lunch or emergency situations as well as times when only a couple of people attended library and sat and read magazines for an hour.  It was a small library, so tasks like shelving, weeding, etc didn’t take a lot of time.

All of this lead me to find ways to connect with other librarians, readers, and other random strangers. I joined email lists for librarians and book lovers. I joined one email list for book lovers that soon lead to me joining other outcasts in a new book lovers email list with fewer rules. This was The Book Barn and was my main escape from the monotony for a long time. I made several friends via the Barn and we are still friends today via Facebook. I even went to Pittsburgh for a weekend to meet some of them in person and survived. I joined bulletin boards, the best being the Christopher Moore board where I again made friends with whom I am still friends today.  I joined a site called FriendFeed that was eventually bought and killed by Facebook. It was my favorite social media site. There were a lot of librarians who posted regularly, so I felt more connected to the field.  It was perfect for actual conversation on a variety of topics. I’m still sad Facebook killed it. I did eventually join Facebook and Twitter as well, but they are not nearly as good as Friendeed. I actually started this blog with the thought that I would use it to post about library stuff, but decided early on that I didn’t really want to post about library stuff and also that I didn’t want to worry about what my employer thought about my thoughts on library stuff.

This may sound like I spent my time in jail doing everything but work, but I did all of this on breaks, at lunch and during times when I was watching two guys read magazines and couldn’t do anything else. It helped make a solitary librarian feel a little less alone.

Next time on My Life as a Jailbrarian perhaps I will talk about the handful of fights that occurred in the library.

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Just Be Nice

This week a video of a boy in tears talking about being bullied went viral. Celebrities and athletes posted messages of support in response. For one brief moment there was a flood if niceness on the Internet. It was a brief moment, however, because we can’t have nice things. I took a look at Twitter today and saw that there is now controversy about the boy and his family.

There are photos of the family with Confederate flags with a message of intolerance towards those who don’t like the flag.

There was a Go Fund Me page that reached $56,000 before it was paused. The person who started it does not know the family and no decision has been made on what to do with the money.

People are angry that celebrities responded with kindness toward the kid because his family might be racists. People are asking them if they are sorry they offered support or invited him to movie premieres, etc. Out brief period of niceness was over.

My question – why can’t we just be nice?  Nothing changes what we saw in a video – A kid in tears because he is being bullied. Are we supposed to be OK with the bullying because we don’t like his family? Are we supposed to vet everyone before we have any sympathy toward them? Is it not possible that human kindness could counteract the negative views he might be exposed to?

Can’t we just live by the standard of “just be nice”?

Digging Up Old Posts

There seems to be a trend on Twitter of people digging up old tweets to discredit or embarrass people. In many of these cases they are taking things out of context or finding jokes that they take to be serious statements. I look at Timehop every day. It’s fun to go back and see what was happening in my life in past years. I find that I post a lot of very similar things over the years. I never realized I was so predictable and boring. I’m also reminded(not that I needed a reminder) that I spend a lot of time trying to be funny on social media. I’m basically a bad comedian testing bad jokes online even though I never intend to ever actually be a comedian. This week I found the following post:

“I need to go back to sexual harassment training. I’m not sure I’m doing it right.”

I’m sure someone could take that post and try to use it to against me. I’m sure I have a lot of other bad jokes out there that are similar. One of the things I do the most in real life and online is pretend to be the guy who thinks everyone is in love with him.  I only do this with people who know me and know that I am the exact opposite of that guy(but everyone really is in love with me). This has probably resulted in a lot of bad jokes that, taken out of context, could be the types of old posts people are digging up to make people look bad online. I’m not really worried about it. I’m a nobody. No one will waste time trying to make me look bad. I can do that without help. I just thought it was interesting to see that post while seeing the Twitter situation.

Some Random Friday Thoughts

Just a quick post with some random thoughts that are not interesting enough to warrant an individual blog post:

Twitter – I’m not good at Twitter. I mainly use it to follow sports and news feeds. I don’t post a lot, so of course I am qualified to talk about Twitter use. Twitter was created with a limit of 140 characters. It wa nice and short and easy.  Now they have expanded that to 280 characters. Before that the dreaded Twitter thread had become the norm. So many times I am on Twitter and I see a post that says it is the start of a thread and then the person proceeds to write an essay 140 characters at a time. Twitter was not meant for long form writing. If you want to write an essay, start a blog. I am proof that they will allow any untalented hack have one.

How Do You Like Me Now – The Toby Keith song is stuck in my head this morning and I have to admit that I always wanted to have a “How do you like me now” moment. I wanted something that would allow me to show the people who doubted me that they were wrong. I’ve never had that moment. I didn’t achieve fame. I don’t have an impressive job. I’m just a boring, normal person. Part of me still longs for one of those moments even though I know it is not going to happen. Boring, unattractive, middle aged librarians don’t generally get that type of thing.

TV – I ddn’t do my normal “What’s on TV” posts this year because I was out of the country when the new season started. I’ve watched several of the new shows this year and I have to say that I’m not impressed. The military shows all seem like the same show. The comedies were OK, but not good enough that I kept watching. So far the only new shows we watch regularly are The Orville and Ghosted. We like The Gifted, but it is still on the bottom of the list when we are scanning the DVR. Maybe the midseason shows will be better.

I probably have more, but it is time for me to get ready to head out to work.

What is My Lane?

So many things have happened since I left and returned from Manila. The week I was away started with Trump calling for the NFL to fire players who kneel during the anthem. The NFL responded with many more people kneeling. Right after I returned, 58 people were killed and hundreds were injured in the shooting in Las Vegas. I had an idea about the following post while I was away. I almost didn’t write it because it seems a little trivial after  Vegas, but I really didn’t think anyone needed any more posts from me on tragedies or the NFL so here it is.

In the current political climate it has become more common for athletes, actors, singers, sportswriters, really everyone to post their political views on social media. Every time an athlete or sportswriter does this it is inevitably followed by people telling them to stick to sports. When actors and singers speak out there are posts from people asking why they should care what an actor or singer has to say. Of course what this really means is that they disagree with what they said. The same people who want the left leaning celebrities to be quiet have no problem sharing post from Chachi, Kid Rock and Ted Nugent. My question is – wy should I care what you have to say about this? If an athlete should just shut up and play shouldn’t you just shut up and do whatever it is that you do? If no one should care what a celebrity has to say why should they care what a (insert your job here) has to say? Why do you think people should keep quiet because they have a certain job?

I’m a librarian. Should I only talk about libraries and books? Should doctors only talk about medicine? Should mail carriers only talk about the mail? You have no problem telling people to “stay in their lane” but how is telling someone that your lane? What is my lane? Regardless of occupation, we are all people with interest, thoughts and feelings about a variety of topics. The world is my lane and I will drive in it how I see fit.

Tater’s Writer’s Block Tuesday

I decided that I needed to write something this morning. I had a thought about what I wanted to write. I sat down with coffee and the laptop and got started. I typed a sentence. I deleted the sentence and typed another. I deleted that one and typed two this time. I've now deleted those two and instead started writing about deleting the previous sentences. I can't seem to get more than a sentence or two into a topic before I get stuck. Normal people would probably just put the laptop away, but I've never been normal. Here are some things I could write about if I could write more than a sentence:

The Post-Vacation Blues - I'm still in the middle of the post-vacation blues. I'm counting down to retirement(8 years) when the vacation will never end. I think it's harder after an event you've been anticipating(high school reunion) and also after visiting family(why did we choose to love so far away). I guess I will get over it soon. If not, maybe I can win the lottery and be on a permanent vacation.

Politics - The Today Show is playing while I'm writing this. There is plenty I could write about in the news, but I'm not ready to go there. Everyone knows how I feel about President Trump(I throw up in my mouth a little every time I write that) and he's doing nothing to change my mind.

Unfriended - Speaking of my thoughts on the president. I was very vocal during both the primaries and the general election on my feelings on Trump. I noticed during this time that a couple of people were no longer my friend on Facebook. I guess they were either tired of reading about politics in general or didn't like my opinions. It's not the first time I've lost Facebook friends. I keep discovering that people who used to be my friends are no longer my friends(usually when they comment on a post I'm following) and I'm never really sure when or why this happened. I think a few unfriended me because I'm not "Christian" enough(meaning I don't blindly follow the political opinions of a church), some did it over politics and a few just don't really like me. Their loss.

Random Thought While Trying to Sleep Last Night - I don't think it would be possible to time travel without messing up time. Even if you went back as yourself in the past there is no way you could replicate everything and any little deviation could have a big impact on current time.

That's a lot of writing for someone claiming to have writer's block.

Why I Keep My Facebook Public

I generally keep most of my Facebook statuses public. Periodically, something happens that makes me consider changing that. Usually, it’s when some random person I don’t know decides to take offense at something I shared without actually reading the article or knowing why I shared it. I always make the decision to stay public. Here are my reasons why:

1. The only time anyone reads this ridiculous blog is when it posts to Facebook.   If I’m going to insist on writing stupid stuff on occasion, I would like to get a few hits. The only way that happens is if a lot of people see it on Facebook. Keeping it public allows for the possibility of new people reading it.

2. I enjoy seeing random people who are friends of friends liking my posts on Facebook. It is a narcissism thing, I know, but I like to see that my posts are reaching people outside of my circle of friends.

3. I don’t post things I wouldn’t want my boss, mom or pastor(all friends on Facebook) to see. I admit that I do share some articles, mainly by Drew Magary, that have profanity, but I have issues several warnings about those. Besides those, most of my posts are random innocuous thoughts from the weird place that is my head and boring posts about what I’m doing. No reason to hide that.

4. Along those same lines, it makes me thinks about what I post. If I have filters and assume they are working I might feel comfortable posting in anger something I will regret. If I know the whole world could see it it makes me thinks about what I’m about to say. 

5. Last, and most important, I think I’m hilarious and that the world should not be deprived of my humor. Everyone should get a chance to read my posts. Why should my friends be the only ones who get to enjoy the awesome and hilarious Tater?