Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Thursday, August 14, 2008

He Doubted It

"Let us forgive each other - only then will we live in peace."
-Leo Tolstoy

Local lore from my area in Ireland tells of a man named Croker, a landlord in the early nineteenth century. He had great expanses of lush land and much power and wealth. It was a good life for a ruthless landowner.
In Croker's last days a priest was sent rushing to the enormous house. As the priest tried to comfort the dying man, he said softly, "you'll be going to a better place."
The greedy Croker took a long look around his beloved empire and sighed. "I doubt it."
The phrase has never faded from common usage. I find myself at times uttering the words, "I doubt it, says Croker," to emphatically deny a given situation.
Some years ago Spouse and I almost moved to Long Island, New York, from California. At the last moment Spouse made a telephone call and informed the recruiter he was working with that he would not be accepting the offer after all.
As is Spouse's natural custom in his professional life, he said, "I hope to work with you again someday."
Whether Spouse thought they would need each other again, or whether the recruiter considered Spouse to be a person he wished to work with, the right thing to demonstrate would have been respect and a dignified farewell. It is a small world we inhabit and a shared career path shrinks the space a little more.
Instead the recruiter, stung by the revelation that the enterprise had not worked in his favour, spat back: "I doubt it."
Spouse, in his usual manner that reminds me always of sleepy lapping lakewater, said, "that's very unfortunate. I'm sorry you feel that way." He, however, never quite forgot the spite and anger that the recruiter displayed so unprofessionally.
After four years we were given occasion to recall the fellow when just yesterday he left a message for Spouse regarding a potential job opportunity.
It was evident from his carefree tone as well as his inability to pronounce Spouse's name correctly that the recruiter had not a jot of recollection of their working together previously.
At yesterday's end they spoke briefly and civilly but Spouse declined to stimulate the fellow's memory and for various reasons they will not be reconnecting this time around.
It helps to bear in mind that the world is very small indeed.
Croker, who doubted it, might not have thought much beyond the vast property and riches he laid claim to, but the rest of us must do so, and must get along as best we can.


paulmerrill said...

GREAT story. And a great reminder to use care when we relate with other travelers on this planet.

julochka said...

amazing how things come around.

i'm reading a book about that at the moment. it's called "tales of protection" and it's by a norwegian author called erik frosnes hansen. it's all about the connections between things.

very interesting...

hele said...

Your Spouse sounds like a wonderful person. I loved the description "sleepy lapping lakewater"

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Paul, that's all anyone really asks for- respect and awareness that we all need each other.

Julie, I heard you mention that before. I love your recommendations/book notes. I'll check it out.

Hele, thank you ;) I'll be sure to tell him. Somehow he does remind me, in his most calm moments, of lakewater. Serene... not like me :) I do try though.

tangobaby said...

I'm surprised that someone in the recruiting field would be that short-sighted. They, of all people, rely on the interconnectedness of people to earn a living.

I'm glad Spouse didn't give the guy a second opportunity, although you have to wonder if the recruiter ever learned his lesson and changed his behavior?

Jaime said...

Best not to burn our bridges...things always have a way of returning to us in some shape or form.
It really is a small world, isn't it?

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Tangobaby, I was surprised too. His behaviour was not typical, I know... he missed the point of staying connected. I couldn't tell if he changed- sometimes time does that for you. We'll never know.
Jaime, I also thought of calling this "burning bridges"- you're quite right. The recruiter did, and lost out because of it.

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