I COULDN’T BELIEVE THE WORDS I HEARD TODAY

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Today was kind of a strange day overall at the library- is it a full moon? I need to check. The oddest and craziest event happened a little after Noon. A regular patron- an elderly man who comes in to read the newspapers came in. He looked over the cart of used books we had for sale and brought a book up to the desk to pay for it. The book was on outhouses. Interesting topic- but that wasn’t what spooked me. Out of nowhere he says “I am starting to think Hitler had the right idea as far as the Jews were concerned.” I thought maybe I heard him wrong- but I didn’t have to ask him to repeat it because he did “I am starting to think Hitler had the right idea as far as the Jews were concerned.” I turned and walked away and tried to look like I had something to do. He then got a paper and sat down at a table with another elderly man. I heard him say the same thing to him. Soon after the other fellow got up, put his newspaper on the rack and walked away with the one man still rattling on about something. Is there something wrong with this gentleman? Where did that come from? I certainly hope there is something that can explain this- a medical condition? He does come in regularly but usually gets the newspapers- reads them and leaves. He has never checked out a book or anything else. I don’t know.

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28 responses to “I COULDN’T BELIEVE THE WORDS I HEARD TODAY

  1. This would have been a good time to engage him in a conversation. I would have asked him what it was that had started him thinking that way. If it is a disease, he needs help. If it is a sign of dementia, he needs help. But if he was sounding completely reasoned, I would have talked to someone, a social worker maybe, to find out what is going on in his life. Something sounds wrong.
    But that’s me…

    • I was shocked when he said it- I will watch him in future encounters. I think you are right something has to be wrong. I don’t know his age I would guess 80. He gets around well- but so did that fella who was in a month or so ago who had dementia.

    • tomorrow I am going to talk to my director on this and see what he says. I am afraid this guy is going to end up as one of those people who is out- gets lost and ends up missing. or worse. Thanks.

    • I try to notice- the fellow who came in in early June homeless- the right people were contacted and he was cared for. Something with him didn’t seem right either. We serve a community of 5000- I can’t imagine what issues city libraries face on a daily basis.

  2. Perhaps the next time you see him, you can ask him how it’s going and ascertain if he’s cared for. If not perhaps his situation requires a social worker. But yeh, that’s spooky alright and I would have been taken aback as well. Thanks for sharing Hans.

    • I see him a lot out of the library- like at the mall. I am assuming something isn’t clicking. We had a homeless man a month or so come in- he said he was kicked out of his apartment. Something didn’t seem right there either- turns out he has dementia- and is now in the care of his son who lives in Kentucky.

  3. I would think it would be a medical condition…I would hope so. Even if he felt that way most people would know not to just say it. It puts you on the spot…I mean how do you respond to that…with him being so elderly?

    • I figure if he was someone who regularly went around saying these things- he wouldn’t have lived to be his age… i think it has to be something medical…maybe even something as simple as missing medication for a couple days?

    • Yea you are right about living to be that age…Yes when I was in the hospital as I was leaving a few weeks ago…an elderly man came in and they thought it was a stroke because he was talking out of his mind…but it was missed medicine.

    • He is usually pretty quiet- comes in- reads the paper- is there a half hour… now that i think of it he came in twice that I know of today- one to see our tech guy about problems he was having with his IPad… unlike him to come in twice..that was in the morning..

    • I don’t know if I reacted well- I should have carried on a conversation with him on it- but I was just stunned speechless. There was a guy a couple years ago- who was perfectly fine- who came in- an out of towner killing time. Saw Bruce Jenner- I can’t think of his new name–on a magazine and went off on a rage–which ended up “they should get all of them……….. and take them up on the roof and throw them off.”… luckily no one else was around- he must have seen the look on my face- sat down and quietly read a newspaper and then got up and left without further comment. You just never know. That kind of stuff is rare but it happens.

  4. If it isn’t a fluke and he keeps it up, you may have to take further action. There is usually an adult protective services unit in the same place as child protective services. I have a feeling if he’s saying it elsewhere he might get his 80 year old butt kicked and that wouldn’t be good. Were there other patrons around to hear him? That is truly surreal, Hans.

    • I am going to talk to the director tomorrow- there is only so much we may be able to do- but i am sure there are those who we can notify who can look into it more.

  5. It is not a fluke. There is an alarming rise in anti-semitism, racism, and other bigotries these days. The Zeitgeist is that it’s OK to to hate again. The crazy phenomenon of Neo-Nazis and Kluxers marching around has come home to roost in your town.

  6. Yeah, I hope it turns out not to be true for this man, but it does seem like the message of “it’s okay to hate again” HAS taken over. Unfortunately, this man may always thought that, deep down somewhere but just kept it repressed and some kind of external pressures and stressors have brought it bubbling to the surface. I just don’t think that someone would suddenly start spewing stuff like that unless it was already there.

    • I was thinking the exact thing today- the thoughts had been with him before but maybe he kept them hidden…. he didn’t come into the library today.

  7. Public Libraries these days! Not even there you can be at peace with your books! It could be worse, though. It could have been a younger person saying these things. It’s no longer a surprise and it’s taking all over the world again.

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