The Five Stages of Overdue Library Books

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Ahhh, the library. The place where you all of the universe’s information is at your fingertips. The possibilities are endless.

Where they go wrong is when they allow human garbage piles to take those glorious tomes out into the real world. Human garbage piles such as myself who took approximately two months of daily reminders from my husband to figure out which financial institution my 401k plan was transferred to (and when I finally got sick of him hounding me about it, it took me all of three minutes to resolve).  These people, without fail, will borrow the maximum number of books from their local library with every intention of reading and returning said books.

And then, inevitably, it all goes awry. I mean, it’s not surprising. The human garbage pile was always going to forget to return those books and incurs Yale-level Sallie Mae debts in the process. It’s destiny. But, they mean well. They always mean well.

Therefore, I’ve identified The Five Stages of Overdue Library Books. Maybe Elisabeth Kubler-Ross borrowed this idea from me… you don’t know!

Stage 1 – Denial


No.  I totally returned that book!  I know I did! I remember driving to the library and walking up to the deposit bi… wait. Did I? That may have been the day I was too busy jammin’ out to a little Mmmbop and breezed right past the exit.  [Confession: I have been stuck in this phase over a copy of Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay for the past year. The book remains, to this day, on my nightstand.]

Stage 2 – Anger


You know, the library really needs to extend its lending period. I wouldn’t have to put up with this bullshit if they’d just get off my back. LET ME LIVE!!!

Stage 3 – Bargaining


I swear I’ll be better about returning my books. If you just allow me to take out the new Celeste Ng, I’ll never be even a second late with a library book ever again. Doesn’t this look like a trustworthy face?

Stage 4 – Depression


I will never be allowed to use a library ever again. But I love the library. My heart is broken. Birds no longer sing. The sun no longer shines. Food has lost its taste. There’s no point to anything.

And finally…

Step 5 – Acceptance

You got me again, Library, you saucy minx. Take my money. Take all my money. Next time, I’ll be sure to set up a direct deposit of my paycheck. Now just slide that copy of Exit West over the counter nice and easy and nobody gets hurt.