(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

“He’s at the Office” is the story of an aging man forced from his job because of his increasingly common memory lapses and of his wife and son, who try to care for him. The father has severe trouble dealing with retirement, for reasons that stretch back more than fifty years, to the 1940’s.

Before his forced retirement, Dick Markham was a devoted employee of Integrity Office Supplier, a manufacturer of high-quality office goods. The company did a thriving business from the 1940’s into the 1970’s, when it was bought by a German firm. With the onset of computers, the steadfastly conservative nature of the business spelled its slow decline. Markham seemed intent on making up for the slowing business by increasing his efforts. Always a hard worker, he spent more time in the office than before.

Markham had not always been so heavily devoted to the working world. As fun-loving as any other young man before World War II, his experience in that conflict had turned him into a sober-minded man of business. Something about his entry to the working world, moreover, deeply affected him. This was apparent in his daily apparel. He never abandoned the styles of the 1940’s, affecting them to his last day.

Dick Markham, Jr., narrates his father’s story. He relates that four years earlier, he received a phone call from someone in his father’s office building. His father, he learned, had become disoriented and was banging on the door of the office a floor above his own, demanding that they let him in and also that they release his secretary, Miss Green, who he...

(The entire section is 652 words.)