Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Anecdote II

Barbara A Barnett's post about desperately trying to increase the audience for the opera company she works with, along with her link to Random Acts of Culture made me think of this story.

I used to work for [a large credit reporting agency], in their small business department, which they have since eliminated (I left some time earlier in a fit of moral pique over having my incentives tied to upselling and actively discouraging refunds in the "help" and cancellations department, as well as having to clean up some persistent dishonesty from the sales team, and frankly, walking away from that job was one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life). One of the extra responsibilities I took on in order to have more things to do so I wasn't sitting around when no calls were coming in was a weekly mass-emailing of sales figures to everyone on my team.

Because I was bored, and because I thought to myself "well why the hell not?" at the end of the e-mail I attached a little poem. Ozymandias by Shelley. At the time, I thought nobody would even notice. The poem was bellow all the required information on the report, even under my signature. And even if they did notice it there, it was out of the way and it wouldn't be a bother.

To my surprise, I very quickly got back an e-mail thanking me for the poem, and letting me know it was also one of the recipient's favorites.

Every week I would put a new poem at the bottom of the e-mail. I know I put in Invictus, Still I Rise, Because I Could Not Stop For Death, Annabel Lee and a little bit of Fungi from Yuggoth for Halloween, To His Coy Mistress, a bit of Neruda, Frost, Coleridge, Lorca, Kipling, Hughes, and honestly I don't remember what all else. It came to be something I would really look forward to, and spend time researching to prepare for, and after I had sent my little poems off into the ether, I would get back e-mails or quick pats at the copy machine. Such and such poet was their favorite. Hey, that last poem was really cool. Thank you, I'd never heard that one before. One of my coworkers in particular got into long conversations with me about poems and books. Another found out I liked Spanish surrealism and produced and lent me a copy of Un Chien Andalou, which I had never seen before. I think I read more poetry at that job than I have at any time before or after, and looking back, even years later, the whole thing makes me smile.

One of my personal failings is that I tend to assume nobody else is interested in the things that I love, and I don't offer things up as often as I should, whether they're poems or stories or comic books or bits of trivia or anecdotes. So sometimes it's nice to think back on times when I've done it, and it's worked out beautifully. 

1 comment:

  1. That is awesome. I need to remember that next time I have to send out regular workplace emails.