A long time ago, I was in Burma. My friends and I were working for the local government. They were trying to buy the loyalty of tribal leaders by bribing them with precious stones. But their caravans were being raided in a forest north of Rangoon by a bandit. So, we went looking for the stones. But in six months, we never met anybody who traded with him. One day, I saw a child playing with a ruby the size of a tangerine. The bandit had been throwing them away. So why steal them? Well, because he thought it was good sport. Because some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to sleep in the Iowa City library.

ATTENTION COLLEGE STUDENTS: if you put your head down on the desk in the Iowa City library you WILL be treated as if you are homeless. ATTENTION HOMELESS: if you sleep in the Iowa City library you WILL be treated like a college student. ATTENTION IOWA CITY NEWS: if there’s nothing to talk about in Iowa City you CAN talk about things that are happening in other parts of the world.

Comments (65)
  1. Oh boy, you guys! I went to college in Iowa City and the news there is hilarious. This was probably a pretty big story. Also, another fun fact about the University of Iowa library (separate from the Iowa City library) is that there was a legend that the 5th floor had a problem with a person who…let’s say wasn’t studying. My friend called him the 5th Floor Masturbator. What a name! Also that same friend once streaked through the library during finals! I love Iowa City you guys!!!

    • I’m no Benedict Cumberbatch but I think I just figured out who the 5th Floor Masturbator was.

    • Fifth Floor Fapper for further…alliteration, there is no other word for alliteration, guys.

    • 300 – Social sciences
      400 – Language
      500 – GROSS SHIT
      600 – Technology

    • I really like Iowa City. When I was in college, we would get really excited to visit and see first run movies and eat Indian food. Often we referred to it as Capital City, the Windy Apple because it was *that* exciting. (I’m not being sarcastic.)

    • As someone that has worked at both the Iowa City Public Library and at the University of Iowa main library, can say that neither this rule nor the 5th Floor Masturbator surprise me.

      I once walked into the private handicap accessible bathroom on the first floor of the UI main library and found the bathroom covered in semen. All over.

    • In college, I was night supervisor at that library and I was trained on the 5th floor masturbator issues (there were multiple masturbators). As part of my JOB, I would have to call public safety and then WATCH the masturbator until they showed up. I wasn’t supposed to interact with them myself, thank god, just make sure they didn’t get away. This also happened frequently with people peeing on the floor in the library.

      It was my most favorite job I’ve ever had!

  2. - Why’s he sleeping, Dad?
    - Because we have to wake him.
    - He didn’t do anything wrong.
    - Because he’s the hero Iowa City deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll wake him. Because he can take it. Because he’s not our hero. He’s a sleepy guardian, a snoozing protector. A dormant knight.

  3. It’s hard not to fall alseep in a library because books are so boring, amirite???

    • They should really install some TVs.

      • We’ve got one of those. It plays news. One patron argued about which news it should play, so now we cycle the news channels monthly to be “fair and balanced.” That patron doesn’t even come to the library anymore, and each time I see Faux news on up there I cringe thinking about how we’re supposed to be guiding people to reliable resources.

  4. Alright, its about noon where I am, and there is no mention of the absolutely insane Manti Te’o story? Gabe, remember when you asked why people don’t comment as much anymore? Not to be rude, and this is a funny post, but stories about someone getting in trouble for sleeping in a library in Iowa and something about an ideal snowball fight, whatever that even means, is just not going to get the attention like A GUY STRAIGHT UP PULLING AN M NIGHT SHYAMALAN PLOT TWIST ON AMERICA will.

    Also, while we are on the subject of lack of comments, WMOAT was by and away the most popular feature this site ever had, its the reason I started reading Videogum years ago, its the reason a lot of other older monsters are here, and it going away, along with virtually every recap, is definitely a big part of the reason for the decline in comments.

    Alright, I’m done ranting. Relax, technosaturnian etc etc.

    • Agreed. I know that the Te’o story veers into sports territory, which is definitely not Gabe or Kelly’s bailiwick, but holy shit that story is amazing and reading a post where Gabe tries to wrap his head around its insanity and also makes a Point (capital P intended) sounds like a pretty good time.

      • Exactly. Sports isn’t Videogum’s realm of coverage really, but this story is more “human interest” at this point I think than a sports story. It definitely loosely fits into the realm of pop culture, and plus it has some similarities to the movie Catfish. Enough that Filmdrunk covered it at least. Also, like you said, I just really want to read Gabe’s whole reaction to it, because that would most definitely be hilarious.

      • Ooooof, that whole thing makes me so sad. I’m not entirely sure on the whole backstory – who originally broke the story about the girlfriend, whether it came from Manti or from someone else, or if it was just some story he told that got blown WAY out of his control, but almost regardless of where the story came from, it clearly took on a life of its own. And now everything’s falling back on this kid like a massive shit storm and it must suck, terribly, to be him.

        I guess mainly it’s sad because the story itself would be for what purpose? To make him seem more sympathetic? To enhance his reputation as a character guy? To enhance the drama of the Notre Dame football program? This isn’t like someone doping and then lying about it. It’s way more sad and useless than that.

        • This like this always make me sad and scared b/c I just JUST SEE myself getting into a similar situation. I mean, OF COURSE I don’t think I would ever make up a partner, but I DO make really horrible decisions on impulse, and things can get away from you so fast. I’m not saying it’s not insane, I think I might be saying I’M insane.

          There’s this really great novel by Rebecca Makkai called ‘The Borrower” where a public librarain (COMMENT RELATED TO THIS POST!) accidentally/on purpose kidnaps a little boy patron to save him from de-gaying camp. But she never actually makes a decision to do it… she’s giving him a ride home and he keeps telling her his grandma lives in the next town, then all the sudden they’ve been on the road for days. That is my fear. Not saying yes, but never saying no… then I’m in jail. Or totally humiliated.

          I have no idea if that’s what happened here, but YEESH, it obviously hit a nerve with me.

          • Whenever strangers try to small talk me and it’s not likely that I will see them again I tend to make up silly things. It’s fun and it tests your creative boundaries and hones your bullshitting skills, which are vital for the business or academic world.

            One time I was chatting with a guy at a bus stop near a university I didn’t go to, and I told him I was a guest lecturer and that I’d been travelling the world living under bridges as research for a book I was writing on socio-economic disparities at the lowest level across borders. I made it too fascinating though, and he wanted to know everything about it and sat with me on the bus BUT THEN the socially awkward new guy from work got on the bus and started walking over to me and I had to make a horrible decision and just didn’t return his wave and he sort of stopped at the front of the bus and I felt soooooo awful about it and explained everything the next day at work and he never really spoke to me again because I’m sure he thought I was a psychopath for inventing an elaborate story for a stranger on a bus.

          • OMG, I do this too, OMF. Maybe this is why I’m so worried all the time. Maybe I should just stop it. Lord in heaven.

          • Oh my god, if I were socially awkward new guy (which I actually am) and you explained that to me, I would stop being socially awkward new guy and become socially awkward new guy who wicked wants to be friends with you.

        • Te’o and his parents originally broke the story that she was fake to Notre Dame on Dec 26. It is really questionable whether or not Te’o was in on it the whole time. If he was, I have no sympathy. If he wasn’t, I agree with you.

      • Anyway, the story isn’t about some big lie. The story is simple: major news outlets have been gutted so severely that NONE OF THEM USE FACT CHECKERS.

        Manti Te’o didn’t create Lennay Kekua; declining ad and subscription revenue and journalistic standards did.

    • Here’s what I would guess about WMOAT…(bear in mind that I wasn’t around when that was a regular feature so correct me if I’m wrong about any of this)…when that was regular, probably videogum was potentially less able to get large sponsors (such as movies) and the ads were probably smaller/whatever. So as the site has gotten bigger/more popular and they’ve been able to draw movie advertisers they don’t want to jeopardize their relationship with those advertisers so insulting a shitty movie while an ad for another movie by the same studio/company/distributor is advertised right next to it is bad business or at least getting into the “biting the hand that feeds you” territory. So that’s what I would guess.

      • That is a fair point, and something I had not thought of. The lack of explanation bothers me as much as that is a thing that can bother someone (not that much), so if thats the reason at least it makes sense, as much of a shame as that is.

        • Either way, we need more recaps and less Lindsay Lohan. There’s way too much celebrity gossip here lately.

        • I think they probably take up a lot of energy and time and are exhausting to write, and also they stopped making bad movies.
          (also, I come here to get away from people talking about sports)

          • I’m pretty sure that’s the explanation that they did give us, and I think it’s a decent one. Especially when it was just Gabe here, WMOAT could be a huge time suck for one person. It could be argued that if the recaps are spread evenly-ish among the 3 editors then it could be feasible to bring them back.

            Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, I’m sure you could always write one yourself and send it to submissions@videogum.com.

          • Again, this is a fair point. That was why I thought they stopped, and like truckasaurus’s explanation its understandable. When Gabe asked about the lack of comments though it seemed pretty obvious to me, and that is why I brought that stuff up. Really not trying to be an asshole or start shit for the sake of starting shit. I love this website and wish people commented more like it used to be.

    • Lennay Kekua is college ball’s JT Leroy.

    • Well done Saturnian, you rocked me out of my lurking slumber by saying something I agree with completely! You know me (no you don’t, I just got here)… just say something I agree with and I will sign right up for your organization/pledge drive/devil cult.

      Well now I’m here, in the Videogum-verse, so yes, I do hope Gabe and the crew find a way to bring back the reviews as they’re what brought me here in the first place. Case in point, I’d felt no need to watch Walking Dead as I was ‘watching’ vicariously through Gabe’s reviews, but now that they are gone I’ve started watching the show and I have to yell alone about how Carl is the worst. Yelling about how Carl is the worst is a group sport guys, c’mon.

  5. Oh so I guess you heartless bastards just want Stephen Baldwin to sleep on the streets like a dog then, huh?

  6. Iowa City is so dull that their 11:00 news comes on at 7:30.

    Ya burnt, Iowa City!

  7. UGH. We let ‘em sleep until they start snoring. Ya can’t just lay out on the couch though, you guys. Also – ya can’t fall asleep at one of the public computer stations – because that’s a resource other people may want to use. We may come by and make sure you’re breathing, but i could care less if you’re dreaming.

    Also – to that guy in the hat at the end of this story who was like, “I guess if it bugs you, you should just go wake them up.” – Hell no, fool! Leave that to us professionals who went to school for this business. Why do you think I got a Master’s degree in Library Science? It’s so I can disrupt your R.E.M. patterns. Seriously, public interacting with the public concerning behavior is never a good idea and usually leads to more behavioral issues. It’s like telling someone how to parent in the grocery store when you don’t have kids.

    This is not a good story for libraries and I’m a little ticked off by it. We’re supposed to be a third place – away from work and away from home, where you can be comfortable. This is not welcoming.

    Lastly, the preferred method of waking patrons up is to drop a heavy text at arms length onto a flat surface, or accidentally bumping their chair with the book cart.

    Carry on.

    • We have no sleeping as part of our behavior policy , but my library is in a small town, so it’s not too much of a problem. I feel really badly waking up little kids if they start to snore, so I try to make noise like walking loudly where they are, and it usually does the trick. Agreed about the guy at the end. We have had more than a few instances where people try correct other patrons behavior, and it never ends well.

    • I clearly didn’t thaink hard enough about the nuances in the library crises of the commons (below). I’m glad to see a an expert voice in the conversation. and public intervening with other members of the public=my greatest social anxiety, so yeah.

    • Yeah…libraries are supposed to be comfortable but…when was the last time that was true? Our local library consists mainly of homeless people sleeping, loudish games of World of Warcraft, and people just generally talking loud as fuck, including the librarians. I once witnessed an a capella group come in and sing. People clapped. I was the one leaning over the balcony yelling “Shut up! SHUT UP! This is a fucking library!”

      • Well, libraries tend to be representative of the community they serve, or should at least attempt to. Different communities have different service needs and we’re supposed to tailor to those. Different libraries also have different abilities to provide services and meet community expectations.

        By no means is our Main Library quiet. We do, however, offer complimentary earplugs, and provide silent study areas. We don’t ban the use of cellphones, but we do ask people to be courteous, keep their conversations brief and away from others. Cellphone conversations aren’t allowed in the computer area. We have guidelines for expected behavior while in the library and we have procedures for when those expectations aren’t met. I’m not sure how the WoW would be loud – unless your library doesn’t require headphones for sound on the computers.

        As for a capella groups — flash mobs, ugh. What can you do? We do provide programming – and if a group comes in and expresses interest in setting up a program, and there’s public interest, we’ll see what we can set up.

        I’m sorry your library doesn’t meet your expectations. Perhaps you can contact the Board with your concerns and have them directly addressed?

    • I’m looking at a sleeping patron right now. I’m not waking him unless he snores, starts drooling on the chair, or wets himself (pro tip: never sit on soft seating in a library).

  8. personally. I loved napping in the library in college. My roommate was a nightmare and it was a quiet place. I also found the liminal wake-sleep zone of consciousness really intellectually and creatively fruitful, and reading dense and abstract texts (ladies) for more than 15 mins without a cat nap nigh impossible. I would argue that libraries should just embrace it and go whole-hog, and actually just bump up the seating. It would seem that the primary justification for considering sleeping people a bother is the belief that available seating is being unduly monopolized by sleepers (let’s put a pin in snoring for the moment*). This arises from a belief that pure readers are the only true and rightful denizens of the library. Even the blue-maned lass who self-identified as a reader-napper hybrid was forced to choose between her identities. I cry foul! filling a comfy, white-noise-coated livingroomesqe with books and then prohibiting napping is a perversion. Any advocate for fully outfitting libraries as places where both reading and napping are not only welcome, but emphasized and incorporated by design has my axe, tax dollars, and voice behind them.

    *breathe-right dispensers?

  9. Shuck your own corn mom and dad. I’m dying my hair teal and taking a nap in the library.

  10. At the library at my school the library is the most popular place on campus. Everyone is noisy (on one floor you’re especially allowed to be as noisy as you want), allowed to eat and sleep anywhere. People write on the walls and stuff and the director is getting rid of books to add more space for sofas. I feel like this is a nightmarish form of Community where I am Annie and just want to do well and get the heck out of here with my team of unlikely friends.

  11. “Dressed in a way where someone might assume they are homeless.” Perfect wording, because as far as I am concerned, that already covers a lot of college students. The real question I have though is what, if like another massive chunk of college students, someone is dressed like they just got ready for bed. Are they allowed to sleep?

  12. I was traveling with a friend once and we missed the last bus to New Hampshire out of Boston and had to spend midnight to 7a.m. at the bus station. We had tickets and bags with us. Every hour a security guard came by and woke us up, telling us we couldn’t sleep. We were sitting up in chairs.

    I assume this was also a law being applied equally so it didn’t look like they were targeting homeless people, but come on! We had tickets and bags! Clearly we weren’t moving in to the bus station.

    • This would be a good time to cite Amy Phoehler’s Golden Globes joke about why Affleck wanted to make a movie not set in Boston: “he wanted to film somewhere that was friendlier to outsiders.”

  13. “Don’t you have a cat fashion show you should be covering?”

  14. There was a section of my college library which unofficially pretty much for people sleeping. I took many a much needed nap there back in my day, and it was nice because I didn’t have to walk all the way back to my dorm or apartment between classes. I work in a public library now that is in a small town not near a college, so we don’t have too many nappers, except for a few little kids, but even that’s really rare. We do have it in our behavior policy that there’s no sleeping allowed, but it has really never been an issue. I do not like it when librarians and libraries are portrayed as being overly strict or not fun places. We have lots of fun things! And we will let you make noise too (as long as you’re not in the quiet area)!

  15. I used to always fall asleep in an Economics class (no duh) right after lunch (OR COURSE) taught by a teacher with a mellow, monotone voice (I had no chance basically). He hated me for it and tried every method possible to keep me awake, i.e. slamming a book on my desk, etc.

    So then he thought he would just try to humiliate me so he got a ROCKING CHAIR and put it in front of the class and I had to sit there. So I basically got to nap in a rocking chair while everyone else tried to pay attention in Economics.

    This story doesn’t have much to do with the library other than it reminds me that people hate it when you don’t sleep in your bed.

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