Thursday, August 14, 2008
"Let us forgive each other - only then will we live in peace."
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.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 1:29 PM