First thing when I hit the desk Monday – a telephone question from an older woman with hearing issues: “Is this the reference librarian???” (there’s always trouble ahead when that’s the first thing they ask)…..”Yes it is…. can i help you??” “WHAT??? I CAN’T HEAR VERY WELL”…  (louder) “Can I help you??” 

 “I was playing a word game with some friends and they used two words that I am not familiar with. Can you tell me what they mean?” “Okay”……  “The first was “vetted” … do you know what that means?”  “Well sorta but I should probably look it up to give you the proper definition.” “Okay and the second word is “jism”  ” Okay! I’ll put you on hold!!!” 

So I read her the OED definition for vetted (vetting actually) and then the Wikipedia entry which is more understandable to her. Then I say as quietly as possible but still loud enough that she can hear me “and the second word simply means sperm or semen“. “Ooooh…. really? Did you know that?”  “Well yes I did” “How? Where did you hear it?”  “I don’t know, I’ve just heard it before” (I’m the porn librarian) “Well how do you pronounce it?”  “Um, I don’t really want to say the word here at the reference desk” “Whisper it!”  “you had it right. it has a hard “j“. ”  (did I just say hard???)  “Well I don’t like that one”  “It also can mean strength or energy according to the OED”  “Well that one I like better. Let’s say that is the meaning. ”  “Okay!”