Monday, July 19, 2004

Tao of Poop 

One of the colleagues who started in the system around the same time as I did substituted for my vacationing manager the other day at my branch. We had a good time catching up. Like me, she came from a corporate library background and so we always enjoy exchanging stories and marveling at how different our jobs are now that we are civil servants.

When she first started she reported to a branch in the famed hippie section of town. It was her very first day and as she was walking up the steps and about to unlock the front door something stopped her dead in her tracks. There on the doorstep was mighty, steaming pile of human excrement. Since this was her first day, she was at a loss as to how handle this situation, which was not exactly the ‘welcome mat’ she expected or hoped for. This was not like anything she had faced before in her corporate job or an eventuality covered in library school. While she was standing there wondering what to do a homeless man came up behind her and said, “Pardon me, ma’am.” He then did a very chivalrous thing. He did not lay his coat down for her to walk over it like Sir Walter Raleigh (Elizabeth’s guess), but he did take some newspapers and cleaned up every last bit of it. After he was finished, this gallant drifter then walked off, never to be seen again. Although some people might have considered this an inauspicious beginning, she (like I do) loves and appreciates her civil service job, because although working with the public has its challenges, some of them even fecal, you have to put up with a lot more ‘shit’ in a corporate job.

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