In the big bureaucracy where I work, people who are on rotational assignments are well-advised to go back to visit their home offices occasionally, so that they aren't forgotten when annual promotion/evaluation time rolls around. This ritual appearance is commonly called "Touching the Flagpole". While reading Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina I laughed aloud to discover that the identical practice existed in Czarist Russia a century and a half ago:

Oblonsky had gone to Petersburg to fulfil a very necessary duty—which to officials seems most natural and familiar, though to laymen it is incomprehensible—that of reminding the Ministry of his existence, without the performance of which rite continuance in Government service is impossible.

(from the Maude translation, Book I, Part III, Chapter VII; cf. CozyZone (9 May 2005), ...)

TopicLiterature - TopicLanguage - TopicHumor - 2005-05-30

(correlates: StylishTatters, CozyZone, DarkGlory, ...)