Hell, I'm lucky if anybody I know even bothers to call me Jason.
The night this photo (at left) was taken, months ago, the women who requested I join them for one of just about every damned shot at a certain Oxford bar simply referred to me as that guy.
According to my staff, colleagues, and friends, there are several others floating around Oxford Fucking Ohio.
Some of the nicknames are flattering; some are probably meant to somehow piss me off.
To many folks, I'm known simply as The Librarian. I'm also known as The Cowboy, Tex, Boots, Drunken Master, Brokeback Librarian, The Motherfucking Asshole Who Slept with My Girlfriend / Ex-girlfriend / Friend's Girlfriend, Professor Punker, Old School, Peaches (no clue on that one), the Hot Librarian, The Chach Hunter, and, of course, That Weird Guy from the Library with the Blog.
But there's one nickname that only friends are allowed to call me here in Oxford, particularly in bars, taverns, or, well, wherever fine libations are served.
Does the picture above make anybody think of church?
* * * *
Yes, Church Lady.
As in The Church Lady, a recurring Saturday Night Live character from the 80s and 90s.
A buddy of mine gave me that unusual nickname a few months back.
Whenever he thinks of librarians, or people who work in libraries, he usually thinks of Dana Carvey's legendary Bible-thumping, uptight, crotchety prude.
I'm sure the fact that my buddy thinks of Dana Carvey's character as being symbolic of the physical appearance of librarians just pisses the hell out of a lot of folks.
C'mon people. Lighten the fuck up.
Have you ever seen that stupid Librarian Action Figure? The outfits, stiff movements, and glasses are virtually identical. Who the fuck do you think most people think of when they hear the word Librarian? Winston Churchill? Cameron Diaz? Roger Clemens? Betty Paige?
Give Mr. Carvey's character 700 cats (20 of which are named after Jane Austen characters), a stack of genre fiction on the night stand and an overworked vibrator in a drawer, and, well, you've created the Perfect Librarian Stereotype...
* * * *
This morning, I had one of those oh-so-awkward run-ins with a woman I briefly dated (i.e., a fling) at the grocery store. She was back in town, helping a friend move.
She told me she'd dated another librarian, in the city she currently calls home, a few months ago. It didn't last long, apparently.
Jason, I never thought of you as a librarian. You're more like going home with a cop or a construction worker or something...
...Oh my God. He took me to a RenFest. A RenFest! And he recommended that I dress like an elf or hobbit or some shit. The dude was fucking weird, like serial killer nerd weird...
...I mean, you're weird but not like scary homeless guy weird...
You know, I've only been to one Renaissance Festival, ever.
I ended up puking in a porta-john for 20 minutes. I was seventeen. The bellyful of Thunderbird, combined with an overabundance of guys who reminded me of more obnoxious, armored versions of The Simpsons' Comic Book Guy, drove me to purge away a perfectly good afternoon.
I'm not knocking real-life Comic Book Guys here. Comic book conventions? I can deal with Comic Cons, no problem. Get me into a good debate about the DC Universe, about how Ted Kord was a much better Blue Beetle than either Dan Garrett or the new kid, and I'm set for an afternoon.
Hell, there are more hot women working in comic book stores than in most strip clubs. I quit collecting comic books because, well, I tend to get into quite a bit of trouble when there's a fangirl involved.
But RenFests? Nope. It's psychosomatic.
Fake broadswords and Highlander wannabes? Well, even writing about them now makes my stomach churn.
* * * *
So Friday night, a couple of friends of mine, including the guy who named me Church Lady, turned their garage into a concert venue, a celebration of Oxford Fucking Ohio's biggest holiday - the annual Running (Away) of the Local U. Kiddies.
Two local punk bands, no cover. Enough booze and cheap beer to deliver Boris Yeltsin unto Russian Alcoholic Valhalla in working-class style.
It reminded me of, well, my high school days - a bit of soothing balm for the ol' Quarter-Life Crisis. I'm fairly certain that I was the oldest guy at the party, actually.
With age comes a lower alcohol tolerance and, well, by midnight I was already nursing a pending hangover from earlier in the evening, dulling the pain with a second round of intoxication.
Let's put it this way. I'm going to be 29 next year. I've been attending impromptu garage rock-outs in college towns since I was 13 years old. It is probably not the best idea to leave me alone for too long near the keg.
One of the nasty little reminders that I'm, well, approaching the beginning of my fourth decade on this planet is the fact that my poor ears are a bit sensitive to prolonged concert-volume music. I've already sustained some hearing loss, thanks to my own years playing in various punk and hardcore bands back in the day, so I'm extra careful about spending too much time in small, reverberating pits o' sound.
At one point, I stepped out of the garage to let my ears rest and to get some fresh air. The bands were breathtaking, but the large crowd was downright suffocating.
A pair of intoxicated women huddled together against the building, arguing about whether to continue drinking my friends' free beer or move on to the next party.
I lit a cigarette. One of the women, mid-sentence, turned to me and asked if I'd be willing to bum her a cancer stick. I obliged and, well, being a bit too tipsy to be better behaved, I butted into their conversation. The smoking girl, my tobacco thief, seemed to appreciate the male attention.
"So do you live here?"
"Nope. But I know the hosts. Name's Jason, by the way."
"I'm _______.So what do you do? Do you go here?"
"Nope. I'm a librarian."
"Nuh-uh. You're too young."
"How old do you think I am?"
Bless you, my child. Nice to know that I won't be mistaken for a stupid librarian action figure anytime in the near future.
* * * *
I was almost willing to forgive the fact that one of her friends ended up puking all over me and one of the party's hosts.
Definitely not the kind of women I'd ever allow to call me Church Lady, much less allow the chance to develop their own pet names in more, er, intimate settings.
Ugh. Regurgitated corn and rum. My jeans were covered in the stuff. I simply scraped the kernels off with a stick and kept on going.
The smell reminded me of that RenFest porta-john. And I haven't even seen the bottom of a bottle of Thunderbird in more than a decade.
* * * *
I managed to make my way home by four o'clock in the morning. I grabbed a quick slice of cold pita bread from the fridge, put some Magic Sam on the stereo, and tossed my vomit-covered jeans in the shower to further ripen.
I stretched out, butt-naked on the bed, reading the same line from Ginsberg's "Howl" over and over until I finally crashed:
...they were only mad when Baltimore gleamed in supernatural ecstasy...
No, I wasn't thinking about something literary or snobbishly intelligent.
I was thinking about the Orioles being in second place in the American League East, despite going winless against Oakland and Boston last week. I was hoping, somewhere in my half-sober superstitious state, that somehow reading the line over and over, here in Ohio, would jinx Cleveland for the weekend series.
* * * *I think I passed out at five or five-thirty. I awoke at 9:30, fight as a fiddle, with only the smell of corn and rum soup to remind me of the previous night.
The compact disc changer had played through all five CDs in the stereo - the sounds of Tom Waits, Nick Cave, the Wu-Tang Clan, KMFDM, and, of course, Magic Sam drifting through the apartment.
Well now ...
Isn't that special?
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