In the story I tell myself about myself, I’m on the side of all that’s good and holy. Or at least pretty good and not evil.
One of the reasons I’ve loved teaching at UW-Richland LO THESE MANY YEARS (I started in 1992) is that we take turns with a couple of other campuses being the smallest in the UW System. We’re the little guys. We’re the farm club. We’re the M*A*S*H* unit. We’re the ones who turned our garage into a beauty parlor and the wisdom of the ages can’t compete with our conversations.
In so many workplace narratives, the good guys are doing the hard work fighting some sort of external enemy, and then it turns out that there’s an internal enemy–usually the “higher ups.” (NOTE: does not apply to Truvy’s, since she’s the owner/operator.)
I’ll leave it to other folks to say smart things about the specifics in the UW System right now. I’ll just say that I’m heading into what is likely to be another hellish week at work, so I’m taking inspiration for survival anywhere I can.
For instance, James Lee Burke’s The Neon Rain, which I’m re-reading now that I’ve spent time in New Orleans (it is very fun recognizing street names and locations!). These two quotes are just really resonating with me–Dave Robicheaux is all the time bucking up against authorities and oppressors of all kinds–sometimes external to his job, sometimes internal.
I’ll just let these speak for themselves:
“If it’s not moving, don’t poke it. But when it starts snapping at your kneecaps, wait till it opens up real wide, then spit in its mouth.”
“What nails me about your kind is that you’re always willing to sacrifice half the earth to save the other half. But you’re never standing in the half that gets blitzed.”
Oh, so true, so true.
So I’ll be thinking about those quotes and this song–Tracy Chapman (who is aging SO nicely–it made me so happy somehow to see gray on her sweet head!) singing “Stand by Me” to David Letterman who will soon not be on the air. I’m dedicating it to all my colleagues, my work-darlings, of whom there are many, many, many.