As public servants, I think that librarians like to think we’re saving lives daily. Maybe not physically, but at least emotionally. We can find you the resource to deal with whatever you’re going through. And, from my experience, a librarian often plays the role of bar tender or psychiatrist, minus the ability to prescribe something you can take orally for the pain. People share their joys, their worries, their sorrows, and everything in between with us, whether we’ve just met them or we see them everyday for 8 hours sitting in the corner reading a magazine.
Today, though, a room full of librarians learned how to literally save lives in the physical way. We had 2.5 hours of… CPR and First Aid Training! Yes, if you go into Cardiac Arrest, I am now legally obligated to help you (in the workplace) and morally obligated to help you (in public). I got to put one of my co-workers into the recovery position and I also had the heimlich maneuver performed on me. I have to say that this CPR class was way better than the last one I took – which if I remember correctly took place my sophomore year of high school. Our instructor was funny and helpful and made the 2.5 hours that could have been quite painful quite enjoyable.
I think the thought of performing CPR on someone is one of the scariest things ever – not in the mechanics of it. I took the class, I more or less know how to do it – More along the lines of, this person could live or die because of me. I don’t have a God complex. And the instructor telling us to think about the person we’re helping as dead already so what more harm could you do didn’t really help me either. There’s so much gray area between life and death, between helping because that’s just who you are and you don’t think twice or because you feel like you have to. With the first anniversary of my grandmother’s death just around the corner, matters of life and death are hitting me a little harder, and this CPR training, with its adult and infant-sized practice dummies made me remember that there is a lot of gray area between life and death, between living and not living, between metaphorical and physical, between literally and figuratively. And that gray area is what makes life interesting. I just hope that I’m the kind of person who will try to give the heimlich to a guy twice my size in the middle of my dinner at Chili’s. Which, as a matter of fact happened to one of my co-workers. And he didn’t even get a free meal! (the guy spit out his steak and lived, btw)