Monday, August 14, 2023

From each according to ability


Working, as I do, in this Socialist Library Urban Republic Paradise, or SLURP, with many co-workers of various... skills, the instructive adage regularly comes up: "From each according to their ability."

On this day I am constantly paired with a co-worker who will take a ponderous and relentless two and a half hours to complete fifteen minutes of simple work. It will not be done well,  and nearly everything else that need be done during that time will be shunted off to, well, me, but it will all get done, eventually.

But, and this is the important part, this is all that person can do.

This is the level of their ability.


From each according to their ability.

Which begs the question: What are my abilities?

I have so many abilities!

I can help library patrons. I can process holds. I can research books I might like to read later. I can check those books out to myself. I can listen to Anarchist podcasts on my earbud. I can shelve requests. I can read tips on my new favorite computer game, Baldur's Gate 3. I can hand out bookmarks with great fanfare. I can complain to my other co-workers about how the person doing fifteen minutes of work in two and a half hours is slowly driving me mad. I can think of my darling wife at home to restore my sanity. I can follow the day's soccer news. I can consider dinner. And I can write this column for the benefit of an Internet that understands nearly everything somewhere, but close to nothing everywhere.

That is a lot of abilities!

But by the law of the title of this piece, I will, on this day, undertake to perform them all.


  1. I could do maybe half of the things you listed, and half of those I could do well. But...I always tried to carry my share of the load.

    1. That sounds good. I think I try to carry more than my load and goof off simultaneously, so opinions about me can probably vary.


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