Finding My Way In.

When I moved all my stuff out of my cubicle the one thing I was most worried about, most protective of, the one thing that made me beg my boss–who’d offered to clear out everything and box it up and leave it in the hall to save me the trouble–to let me do all the packing myself was a simple small glass bowl. It doesn’t look like much but I painted it myself during my second round of chemotherapy, at the Nashville Gilda’s Club, which offered, among other things, a weekly art therapy class. I was really lucky to meet people there who’d had cancer, in some cases decades earlier, and who were doing fine. It was nice to get together and make stuff.

So the bowl has a lot of personal significance for me, and it also became significant at work a couple of years later. A new person had just been hired and she came to my cubicle for some training. She saw the bowl on the shelf next to my monitor and asked what it was.

“It’s a goldfish bowl,” I said.

“You’re really into dad jokes, aren’t you?”

I’m not sure if that was a compliment but it helped break some of the tension that’s always present when work brings strangers together.

So this week I was involved in training another new person. We all went around introducing ourselves and talking about what we do. I’ve held a lot of different jobs in the library but I explained that what we’d be focusing on was something that I’d been doing almost from the beginning and that I kept coming back to in spite of my efforts to move on to something else. And then it hit me that I had a perfect opportunity, so I did my best to deliver a classic line.

Source: giphy

It was a great way to break some of the tension, although I worry that I might have sounded more like George Costanza than Al Pacino, which could be a little too much insight into my personality.  

Source: Yarn

Facebook Comments


  1. M.L. James

    Creative souls always find a way to let their inner goldfish swim — or something like that. 🙂 Sorry, that’s the best I got. I haven’t written in a while, so I’m rusty. Also, it sounded better in my head than as it’s written here. Mona
    M.L. James recently posted…Blind as a Bat but without Radar: An UpdateMy Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Mona, don’t put it down–“Creative souls always find a way to let their inner goldfish swim” is a line I want to add to my fish bowl now. Or maybe I could paint another fish bowl and add that line to it.


    You pull us back in every time, Chris, and we’re glad to be here. Beautiful bowl, too.
    ANN J KOPLOW recently posted…Day 3736: EmptyMy Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you, Ann, and I’m so glad that’s not all from you and that you’re not out of here!

  3. mydangblog

    When I finally cleaned out my office after working from home for a year and a half, I was amazed at all the cool stuff I’d forgotten I had. I love that bowl and I can see why you’re so attached to it!

  4. mydangblog

    I commented on this post and the one previous earlier this morning and they haven’t shown up! At any rate, I said that when I finally packed up my office after working from home for a year and a half, I’d almost forgotten what cool stuff I had, especially some paintings done by my nephew. I love your bowl, and the story behind it!

  5. Allison

    I love a good movie quote – although with my colleagues getting younger and younger – some of my quotes don’t land. Oh well. Glad your bowl is safe. I had forgotten all about Gilda’s Club – that’s such a great org!

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Gilda’s Club really is great and it’s nice that the Nashville one is just a few blocks away from where I work. I’ve always thought I could go there if I needed to get away, although so far I haven’t. Anyway I try to stay hip as far as movie quotes go although the other night I was talking to some friends with kids and I said something to one of the kids about the Fine Young Cannibals. My friend said her daughter had no idea who they are so I turned back to the daughter and said, “Okay, in that case let me tell you a great story about Milton Berle…”


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