Topical Guide 120
Work: Working at Cross-Purposes
I made the decision in an instant. The way to be sure of winding up where Matthew wound up was to answer as Matthew would. I pulled a long face. “It would be nice if this story had a happy ending,” I said. Mr. Grundtvig began writing at once. “But it will not. I mean, in a way, we’re all like the man in the rowboat—tired, confused, miserable—” …
“I sat there, looking at Mr. Grundtvig,” said Matthew, … “and I said to myself, ‘This is it. Everything depends on this.’ … Grundtvig began tapping his pencil on his pad and he looked up at me. As soon as he looked at me, I knew what to do. I gave him the kind of story you would give him! …
I sat looking at Matthew, who went on with his story, filling in the details, laughing, and pounding the table with his hand. My heart sank. The more he elaborated on the story, the surer I became that we would be going our separate ways. I couldn’t bring myself to tell Matthew what I had done.
Little Follies, “The Fox and the Clam”
in a way that causes confusion or failure because people are working or talking with different goals or purposes
“You attend to your work, and I’ll attend to mine.”
Oliver Hardy to Stan Laurel in Dirty Work (1933)
[more to come on Friday, October 29, 2021]
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You’ll find an overview of the entire work in An Introduction to The Personal History, Adventures, Experiences & Observations of Peter Leroy. It’s a pdf document.