Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Someone leaves the library I work at to retire or to pursue less important things, and all of us left behind can remember them together freely. But after a year or two there are a couple of co-workers who have only heard of that person and never met them. Five years sees a notable drop off from that, and if one is discussing a co-worker who has been gone for much longer than ten years then the people one is talking to can probably best be described as one's cronies.

Some of my co workers I am almost immediately work friends with. Some I am politely distant with. Some I am at pains to try and tolerate. But some grow closer through the sheer weight of years, through survival. Time has worked on our little trickle of a relationship until after fifteen years that trickle has worn away a little grand canyon in us. We have imprinted on our brains the same long list of names and incidents and epochs and strata and fossils. We consult each other more and more often to reassure ourselves that it is all not just a dream.

"A woman really did leave a 50 yard trail of poo across the library, didn't they?" 

"Yes," My crony says, "Yes they did. And remember the bathroom stall incident of 1998?"

"I will never forget. My brother"

I was cronying up with one of my most crony of cronies today. And reminiscing about some long gone character we worked with in a time before library computer type came in any other color than green, my crony summed up with "He was a pretty interesting character."

I can only agree. "He was." I say. 

He is not dead. But in cronyland he sort of is. Everyone who leaves the job and does not return is as dead. Never fear, though. We are ever here to keep the candles burning and the small glint of ageless memory alive.


  1. I enjoyed today's blog. I wonder if there's a word for the phenomenon you're describing, as it must exist in almost every workplace, especially if the employees stay many years. In academia many teachers will return after a semester or year off in retirement to teach just one class. Has anyone in the library done that? Just taken a shift to keep in the atmosphere?

    1. I'm glad you liked it. The closest thing I can think of to what you're talking about would be people who leave or retire and go into the sub pool, taking occasional fill in spots. The phrase "to wet their beak" comes to mind.


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