Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Rocking Chair

I bump into a guy today who I have seen at the university forever. We always smile, share hellos, and how are you's.  Today he says, "30 years as of two weeks ago".

We stop and talk some about our longevity at the u.  I started a few years before he did.  I asked him if he got his watch.  He says he did, but he was disappointed because he had been hoping for the rocking chair.

For years the gift for 25 year old associates was a rocking chair.  They were quite nice. I recall seeing a colleague's in his office when I had been here for just a few years.  Very classy chair. Had your name on it and your years of service at the school.

I remember when I was to be feted for my longevity.  I, and a few others, sat in an anteroom where we were to receive our gifts. Then, the seven or so of us were taken to a room where multi yeared others--who had previously received their chairs--welcomed us to the club.

They have changed the choreography since my date, but still the honorees receive a gift.  Starting with the year that I was to receive the chair, however, the school eschewed the snazzy chairs and handed out watches instead. The watches had your initials on the back, but still were a bit of a disappointment.

As it happened, during my next lap--the year after I received my watch--I was reminded one day that there was a function out in the suburbs that I was supposed to attend. The function was for a complementary unit at the university that I was working for at the time, and had worked for sporadically during the time I have been employed in Boston.   I had forgotten about the event and had to switch some things around to get out to the burbs on time.

When I arrived to the satellite location I picked up a program for the event and noticed that my name was on the program. This was news to me.   I asked around and found that I, with others, were to be recognized for years of service with this complementary university unit.  And, this unit, was giving out rocking chairs for 25 years of service.  And I was going to get a chair.

This was great, but the thing is--it was a mistake.  While I had been working at my day job for 25 years--for which I was rewarded with the watch--I had NOT been working for the complementary unit for 25 years. I had done some work for it a quarter of century ago, stopped, started, stopped again, and was now back.  Probably all tolled I had worked there for 15 years.  But the records showed I was there for the requisite trips around the track.  So, I--incorrectly--got the chair which now sits in my living room.

So, the point?  Sometimes you don't get what you should.  But sometimes you do get what you do not deserve.

Thing is--it doesn't really even out.

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