Just Like on Marty Stauffer's Wild America

Jan 6, 2011

Dear Dave,

I’m concerned about a guy I work with. For decades he’s shared an office and had lot’s of interaction with coworkers, faculty, and students. He’s well liked and a fun person to be around. However, recently he decided he’s moving into an office all by himself. The office has no windows and it has a large storage room in the back. My concern is I hope this new change in his workspace isn’t mirroring a withdrawal in his life. I hope he doesn’t set up his office in the back storage room and close the door, keeping his main office as an anteroom where people will find no one if they happen to drop by. I could envision the storage room having very low light and a caveman-like decor.

If he goes down that path, I suspect that over time people will forget he’s there and spider webs may form in the anteroom. And what if something happens to him? We may not realize it until weeks later. Perhaps a little odor will waft out into the hall and someone will call FacMan for an exterminator. He’ll come in with his Husqvarna WGE-5814 two-cycle fogger poised and ready; but he’ll stumble upon a skeleton at the computer with a bony hand on the mouse. The display will probably have a browser trained on http://www.flagstafffrenzy.org.

Well I’m getting ahead of myself. The move hasn’t even happened yet. But still I’m a little concerned about this guy. Do you have any advice for how I can reach out to him to keep him integrated into his community of madcap cyclists and satirical auteurs; and away from a spiraling path into seclusion?

Signed,

Fretting in Folsom


Dear Fretting in Folsom,

I know this is worrisome, but what you’re seeing here is called composting. It may be sad, initially, to witness something like this, but this is how nature works, and on a deeper level this is a beautiful thing to see firsthand. You’re lucky to be a part of it.

Now please hit the lights and be careful not to trip over that case of Ramen on the way out.

Dave