Saturday, August 6, 2011

Day 19

I can't tell if i'm conflicted, or ambivalent.

The viper left today, for good...well forever, i don't know if its good yet. I have suspicions as to why, but no real evidence, and I wouldn't discuss it in this format if i did. I'm open, but I'm still a professional. I've tried very hard to keep this space filled with info and insight but not with anything that could jeopordize myself legally or financially or anybody I work with. So...i'm not going forward with any conjecture either.

Suffice to say, he's gone, and i'm not sure how i feel about it.

On the one hand he was an incredibly difficult person to work with. He didn't listen to you, he didn't know anything about the book business, he didn't have any ideas...ever. He had no respect for the intellect or dignity of the staff. He constantly belittled people. He had no concept of the role he was playing in dismantling something...some place..we all clearly loved. He was ill prepared to deal with our unwillingness to be treated with no respect. I think he comes from a time or place or...mythical land, where he actually was more important than anybody else because he was the guy in charge. Nope, not gonna fly here, bucko. We are Borders...Look around you, do you see any transient teen workers or disengaged disrespected beat down by the system hangers on prepared to be brutalized by your passive aggressiveness and just be grateful all because you give them a job? NO you don't, because that is not how we roll.

On the other hand, he was the viper I knew, and I had finally worked out how to work with it. He had even mellowed out. This new woman, I don't KNOW anything about her, She seems very kind. She seems like she will treat us as professionals. She seems like...she could have worked for borders once before. And in fact she has closed other borders. But I don't care how soft the velvet is, i know whats under the glove. And i know at the end of the day, we're a paycheck to her. Nothing else. So now, i have to work this out.

See the funny thing about the viper is that, at least in my store where i'm not convinced anyone knows his actual name, the dual identity of his name(kindly old man from eastern europe in a GI JOE cartoon/ A cold hearted snake) had all but lost the GI Joe portion of his identity. It was an interesting evolution to observe. Initially people were ambivalent to him, as time went on people developed opinions on him, soon no one liked him, and eventually...poof...gone. That is natural selection if ever i've seen it.

Okay...i'm not ambivalent, i'm definitely conflicted. I am ever so glad to see him gone because of the atmosphere he poisoned. I'm happy, beyond happy. But i'm concerned about this new person, Now i have to come up with a new nick name.

While I have a minute, i'm going to take it to thank all of you for your support throughout this. I think keeping this blog has become a connection for me to the deeper, grander things, that make this process so difficult but also live as a resource of strength. Knowing that i'm not alone screaming into the wind takes the futility out of the effort. We are, all of us, caught up in the storm, and having a harbor...well you know. Ship metaphors aren't my strong suit.

Anyway, thank you. Thank you for your comments both on the blog, which i want to encourage more of, and thanks for the comments on facebook and for sharing this with over 12,000 people now.

I'm listening to Pandora and i have it set up to create a radio station based on my appreciation for the Indigo Girls (because my Marty Robbins, station was TOO depressing..ah well, mice and men you know how it goes) and The song "Rain King" by the Counting Crows came on. Its' one of my favorites, (so good job, Pandora),if a bit played out and trite by now. Also it's based on one of my favorite books ever. Obviously the chorus, although taken out of context, speaks the most clearly.

Don't try to bleed me,
because i've been here before,
and I deserve a Little more.
I belong in the service of the queen,
I belong anywhere but in-between.

Change the "I"s to "We"s and thats how I feel about all of the people I have had the honor to work with, and further those that this strange little dying company had the good sense to weave filaments of humor, intellect,curiousity and compassion through to connect us all. This process doesn't diminish us; We are mountainous and it stands in our shadow.


  1. "What we cannot speak about, we must pass over in silence." -- Wittgenstein

  2. Not having met the new boss (same as the old boss?), I for one can't believe this will be anything but a net positive.

    Any time you have someone like The Viper in a work situation, it depresses everyone around him/them because you suddenly feel so helpless, as if all the good work you put in is now null and void, subject to the whims of someone who has no f*cking clue about the situation they're walking into.

    As bad as he treated everyone, its apparent he treated the women on staff (which is almost everyone, our store is like Themyscira) worse, and I think its good for morale to see him gone, gone, gone. Don't say goodbye, just leave, "dollface."

  3. I feel a little bit like I missed out now. I heard all the bad Viper stories and I never actually met him.

  4. @Vagabond: I never met Mussolini, but I don't think I'm worse off for it...

  5. BTW, I left my first comment when this post was coming up with a title but no content (blogspot glitch?). Less meaningful now, or at least with a different meaning.

  6. Cory, I've been reading for a week or so now and just wanted to say hello and best wishes. I'm a writer also ( a small-town journalist) and I think your writing is incredible. I've been recommending your blog to everyone. Keep up the good work and, again, I wish you the best.

  7. I am glad that the viper is gone; I hope that this velvet glove might not be so destructive to you and your staff as she could be. I hope she respects the closing of the store, having gone through it before at another Borders.

    I brought my local store those munchkins, btw. Your blog inspired me to. I don't have a lot, but I wanted to let my local store know that some customers and ex-employees still see them as people who are going through a stressful, emotional time... and that sometimes you can forget for a moment by eating soft sweet treats brought by strangers. ^_^

    Keep writing! Keep fighting! And I'll keep reading and spreading the word too.

  8. They sound like the barons nephews from Dune, they sent you the beast and now they have sent you beautiful Fyed...