The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words

“Even Rock Stars Need to Pay Library Fines” or “Damn You, Benjamin Franklin!”


Damn you Benjamin Franklin! It’s because of you that Keith Richards owes $3000 in fines. It’s because of you that people are now afraid to return to the one place that should always be found as a refuge from the madness of the outside world – the public library. Damn you, Benjamin Franklin! It’s been 50 years, can’t you give poor ol’ Keith a break?

I vividly remember walking to the library as a young child with my mother. It was always a treat to get there in time for story hour, or to be able to carry home an armload of books – especially since I knew that I would devour them in time to go back the next week for another all-you-can-carry adventure. And then I got older, and a lot more forgetful. Then I stopped going to the library as much, because I would forget to return my books. Or, there was that time, where I forgot to return so many books, that I actually decided to work at the library, and steal books instead of simply paying my fines and being to check them out. The books always ended up back on the shelves, but I was merely a volunteer, so there was no way I could pay my fines in order to checkout the next great novel.

My ex-wife’s grandmother charged up so many library fines on overdue romance novels, that they ended up sending my ex to collections for books that her grandmother had hidden underneath her mattress. I mean, they must have been some good reads to keep for more than 10 years, and sure, other people might want to check out The Beast in my Bed, or whatever titles you might find, but sending someone to collections seems a little bit silly.

I often wonder if there’s a special room in each library, where a little gnome sits, counting the days of each and every overdue book, and then jumps for joy, like Rumpelstiltskin, when they get to send out a fine slip.

But hey, we can’t all be as awesome as Al Bundy:

About Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin spent more than a decade in Education as a high school English teacher, and is now an Instructional Coach for the Longview School District. He is also the founder of The Poetry Question, an online journal which focuses on reviews of small press poetry publications, and runs a regular series called "The Power of Poetry," where notable poets share their personal stories of how poetry has affected their lives. Margolin resides in Vancouver, Washington with his wife, and daughter.

2 comments on ““Even Rock Stars Need to Pay Library Fines” or “Damn You, Benjamin Franklin!”

  1. Doran Simmons
    May 23, 2013

    Or they might send Mr. Bookman, the library detective from Seinfeld.

  2. J. Gabriel Allan
    May 23, 2013

    One of my all-time favorite poems…

    The Nudie Bar by Al Bundy

    Where the music stinks, and they water the drinks, the nudie bar.
    Where the girlies dance in their underpants, the nudie bar.
    Where you see their butt, and their trap stays shut, at the nudie bar.

    Where you can’t touch a breast, but you can cave in a chest, at the nudie bar.
    Where you look at a thigh, and blacken an eye, at the nudie bar.
    Where the beer gives you gas, but the Bundys kick ass, at the nudie bar.

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