Monday, February 2, 2015

He breathes air, he is a god!

There is little advantage to working out at the front desk with the absolute worst of your co-workers. You will not only have to do your own job, but you will have to do their job as well. And then, as if that is not enough work for you, you will also have to undo all the strange, fruitless things that your co-worker does in lieu of their job.

It's a lot of work.

But there is a silver lining amid the dark cloud of your co-worker.

No, that's just a puddle on the floor reflecting a glint of light, maybe from the rain that fell from your co-worker, or maybe because someone tracked in a bunch of snow earlier.

No, that's not a silver lining either, that's just our faulty lighting system. I think the dark cloud fogged up your glasses. Here, I better show you the silver lining myself.

The silver lining is Glory. Glory, Ascendancy, and Mastery. It is the opportunity to step in and save the day like it's nothing. Nothing! And it is nothing, but your co-worker will have mercilessly lowered the standard so far down that mere rote competency will shine out like a miracle. Her plodding incompetence will have set the bar down onto the very ground so that when you simply step over it you will seem to be making a luminous, balletic leap.

An example? Why, I'm touched that you ask. Of course.

While I helped ten or eleven people with issues of varying complexity, my co-worker was endeavoring to help a young father who very much needed a particular rental DVD for his kid. I could by no means follow all the long ins and outs of this interaction, as I was registering cards, dealing with fines, and tracking down my own patron's desired materials. But there was much discussion next to me. And my co-worker went on at least two long trips to the back room. The man and his sons set up camp at her desk. She pondered her computer screen for many minutes at a time, seeking ever to penetrate its inscrutable mysteries. There was a lot of musing. The patron was tenacious because the item was supposed to be around and his kid wanted it very much. On my co-worker's third trip to the back room my line finally cleared out. I know the man in the small way I know hundreds and hundreds of patrons. I said hi. I commiserated. I inquired.

The item, he explained, was supposed to have come in recently. But apparently it's hopeless. Maybe someone else is walking around with it. Do we perhaps have some alternate acceptable title?

I tell him I'll go look. I head to the most likely and obvious cart in this situation, where all these recent returns might be. My co-worker is heading back from that cart. She is empty handed and has a flustered look on her face. She shrugs at me. She actually says, in a phrase that still haunts and confuses me "I think the item is on the cart." I go to the cart and find this long sought DVD immediately. I return to the desk with the item that my co-worker spent 25 minutes looking for.

The family rejoices. I am hailed as a hero. 

It is not hard to be humble.


  1. Hero worthy indeed!! Though i am not the patron in this post, I have been so grateful in a similar library situation.

    1. It's funny, tonight I did something moderately clever to get a display projector working in one of our meeting rooms. But, as the fourth staff person working on it, I think the meeting group in there were pretty much "Well, it's about time" about it.

      I suppose it all comes out even in the end.

    2. And,the world stays in balance....

    3. That is a relief because it sure does get tippy.


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