Adult Swim News: Founding Father Fine Freak-Out
George Washington checked out two library books in 1789 and still hasn't returned them. He also forgot to return "Fried Green Tomatoes" to Blockbuster.
Tags: adult swim news founding father fine freak-out george washington library book 1789 return fried green tomatoes blockbuster
Added: 2 years ago
ADULT SWIM EYEWITNESS NIGHTBEAT
"George Washington Owes $300,000 Library Fine"
[Washington is shown signing the library's checkout form as "President", while an elderly female librarian points to the wall calendar which reads "Books Due Nov. 2"]
NARRATOR: [translated from the Chinese] George Washington checked out some library books in 1789.
[Washington nods his head in agreement to the librarian, but his associates are pointing and laughing]
NARRATOR: He promised to return them on time.
[cut to Washington chopping down a cherry tree while reading a book]
NARRATOR: But George Washington was a busy man ...
[the librarian appear and holds up an overdue notice, but Washington turns and runs]
NARRATOR: And before he knew it the books were late.
[cut to Washington in his boat crossing the Delaware River]
NARRATOR: Librarians are busy, too.
[the librarian is following them in another boat, brandishing a knife]
NARRATOR: They just want their books back.
[cut to the wall calendar changing to the year 1969, as Washington - still in colonial garb - is rocking out at a rock concert]
NARRATOR: For 200 years, Washington put off returning the books.
[the librarian appears on stage with a guitar, then develops fangs and glowing red eyes as she chases Washington]
NARRATOR: Librarians take these things seriously.
[the wall calendar changes to the year 2010, as Washington is sitting on a bench reading the book]
NARRATOR: The overdue fines have now reached $300,000.
[the librarian "beams in" to the scene behind him, and Washington shoots her with a raygun ... but as he runs off, the librarian's molecules recombine like a character from The Matrix]
NARRATOR: The library still hopes to recover the books.
[the librarian, again with fangs and glowing red eyes, jumps straight into the air in pursuit of Washington]
NARRATOR: As of this airing, Washington is dead.
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President George Washington racks up $300,000 late fee for two Manhattan library books
Saturday, April 17, 2010
He may have never told a lie, but George Washington apparently had no problem stiffing a Manhattan library on two books.
Two centuries ago, the nation's first President borrowed two tomes from the New York Society Library on E. 79th St. and never returned them, racking up an inflation-adjusted $300,000 late fee.
But Washington can rest easy.
"We're not actively pursuing the overdue fines," quipped head librarian Mark Bartlett. "But we would be very happy if we were able to get the books back."
Washington's dastardly deed went unknown for almost 150 years.
Then in 1934, a dusty, beaten-up ledger was discovered in a trash heap in the library's basement.
On its tan pages were the names of all of the people who had borrowed books from the city's oldest library between July 1789 and April 1792.
At the time, the city was the nation's capital and the library - then located at Wall and Broad Sts. - was the only one in town.
Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay all borrowed books, the ledger shows.
They returned them, too.
The library's boldest bold-faced name wasn't as cooperative.
On Oct. 5, 1789, Washington borrowed the "Law of Nations," a treatise on international relations and Vol. 12 of the "Commons Debates," which contained transcripts of debates from Britain's House of Commons.
Beside the names of the books, the librarian wrote on the ledger only, "President."
The entry, written with a quill pen, contains no return date.
The books were due by Nov. 2, 1789 and have been accruing a fine of a few pennies per day ever since.
This week, Bartlett and his staff became even more convinced the books were filched when librarian Matthew Haugen stumbled upon the long lost 14-volume collection of the "Commons Debates."
Sure enough, Vol. 12 was missing.
"It's hard to know what could have happened," Bartlett said. "There are as many questions for us as there are answers."