Ollie, the night guard in my office building, has always bid a cheery "goodnight!" to the workers as we left for home, and many of us would wish him a "goodnight, Ollie" as well. On Fridays it really became a lovefest - "Have a good one!", "Ollie, enjoy it!" "Thank God It's Friday, right?" "You know it, Ollie!" "See you Monday!"
After a while Ollie started adding a little sobriquet to his farewells, like "Goodnight, boss" or "Have a good one, chief." This was a nice parting gift, and for a few minutes it made those of us workers in the drone category feel special. It added a little spring to our step. We walked the walk of "boss". We walked the walk of "chief".
One night I was leaving a little later than usual after an extended struggle with a database that wouldn't behave. "Goodnight, Ollie", I said with a sigh of fatigue.
"Goodnight, Doctor", perked Ollie.
Doctor? Where did that come from? I suppose he was just going for a little variety, but I must admit it was rather flattering. I spent my trip home weighing the value of "Doctor" versus "Chief".
The next night I gave Ollie a jolly wave on my way out and he sang out "Goodnight, Your Honor." I almost floated out the door until I was brought back to earth by the stinking, humid morass that is Manhattan in August. But I didn't care. The world of the mundane has little effect on someone known as "Your Honor".
Last Monday as I was leaving for home there was a new guard on duty, a polite boy, but rather young to be in charge of security. "Where's Ollie?" I asked.
"Promoted. He's going to be working days. He made Captain."
Just then I saw Ollie step out of the elevator, dressed in a spiffy new uniform. "Goodnight, Jordan", he said to the new guard, then nodded in my direction and said, "Goodnight."
"Goodnight", I said. Then I added, "Captain."