“Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?”
Image: Loose Parts
“We need more mechanics, not MBA’s.”
Paul Begala, former presidential advisor and current political commentator, on “Real Time With Bill Maher” 05/06/2022 (min. 38:20)
The panel was discussing the possibility President Joe Biden may cancel trillions in student debt.
“As we’ve warned, SCOTUS isn’t just coming for abortion — they’re coming for the right to privacy Roe rests on which includes gay marriage and civil rights.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, regarding the possibility the U.S. Supreme Court could overturn the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision
“As “Gilded Glamour and White Tie” pays homage to the period of rapid prosperity, industrialization and growth in the US from 1870 to 1890, some have called it ‘out of touch’.”
The event regularly attracts the wealthy and powerful, mostly from the entertainment community. While figures for the 2022 affair are unavailable, seats for the 2021 gala started at $35,000, although those on a highly selective guest list aren’t charged anything. Last year’s event raised more than $16 million. The MMA’s Costume Institute is the only department at the museum that is required to raise its own funds. A smattering of the night’s excess can be found here.
As The Chief continues his technical writing pursuits, I periodically encounter some odd elements.
In the email below, for example, the recruiter either wasn’t familiar with the English language or they tried to be inspirational. But yeah! There are few things more exciting than looking for a job! I mean what reasonable person doesn’t enjoy the rigor of composing a perfect correspondence to a potential employer – especially if they’re desperate to find a job.
Then there’s this beauty below. While applying for another tech writing job last December, I had to complete a section which asked a question I’d never seen before.
‘Do you identify as neurodivergent.’
Neurodivergent?! I actually had to look that up – and was offended they’d made such an inquiry.
For years companies have been taking people’s fingerprints and making copies of their driver’s licenses. I never had a problem with that and always acquiesced. It was just part of the hiring process.
I’ve also undergone drug screenings, which entail urinating into a plastic cup. I still find that more intrusive than anything and – after my last such screening a few years ago – vowed never to do it again. In that incident I inadvertently starting washing my hands after stepping out of the room, which I didn’t know was forbidden. I’d already handed the cup to the gloved associate who had been standing immediately outside. When she practically hollered at me for reaching towards the sink, one of her colleagues (they were both female) passed by and made some chicken-shit comment about men not being able to follow instructions. They began laughing to which I promptly responded, “Excuse you!” That seemed to upset them, but I will not be disrespected. Imagine if male associates had said something similar to a woman.
Now some employers are asking for proof of COVID vaccinations. And exactly what type of shot I received! And from where! That’s when I stop being conciliatory. I simply told one recruiter ‘NO’. I would not tell them exactly what type of anti-COVID vaccine I received, much less provide a copy of the card displaying my personal data. If it’s a remote position, who really cares if I’m vaccinated?! I received both shots, each of which made me ill.
Understand I’m not some right-wing extremist or a Canadian truck driver. I think the COVID hysteria has reached a crescendo.
But neurodivergent?! That’s a new one, which I find as intrusive as the cup thing.
Several years ago a human resources associate with the energy company where I worked asked if I’d had personality disputes with coworkers.
“Come on now,” I replied. “You’ve been around long enough to know, when you gather different people from different backgrounds in one location to work together, inevitably there’ll be some conflict.”
My elaborate answer seemed to surprise her. I surmise she was accustomed to hearing something like, ‘Oh never!’ Or, ‘Of course not. I get along with everybody. I’m a people person.’
But she had to concede I was right. A company never knows what they’re going to get when they hire someone new.
This moment came a few months after I’d had a heated text discussion with a long-time acquaintance who lives in California. He was involved with two younger men – a couple he’d met on a dating site. He described one of them as somewhat anti-social, adding that the guy’s mental aptitude fell along the autism spectrum. He went further, though, declaring that people who aren’t good in dealing with other people are borderline autistic.
It stunned me. I’ve never been good in dealing with other people. My parents could never understand why I had such a tough time making friends. But no one had ever deemed me autistic. To me autism is just one step above mental retardation. My California acquaintance tried to assure me he wasn’t insinuating I’m mentally retarded, but I remain unconvinced. He doesn’t really know me. We’ve never even met. So I found his cyber-assessment of me as autistic insulting.
I answered no to the “neurodivergent” inquiry, but I wished there had been another option: ‘Who gives a shit!’
“Holy crap. Perhaps a U.S. Senator shouldn’t suggest that the Russian military is better than the American military that protected him from an insurrection he helped foment?”
“We can’t even imagine the thinking behind Gov. Abbott’s callous decision to strip the remaining federal unemployment insurance benefits out of the pockets of Texas working families. If he took the time or had any interest in understanding the challenges working people face, Gov. Abbott would see clearly that folks across Texas desperately need these funds as they try to navigate their way through the economic carnage of the pandemic.”
Rick Levy, president of the Texas AFL-CIO, reacting to Gov. Abbott’s decision to opt out of federal unemployment benefits extensions
“The Big Pharma fairy tale is one of groundbreaking R&D that justifies astronomical prices. But the pharma reality is that you spend most of your company’s money making money for yourself and your shareholders.”
During the U.S. House Oversight Committee hearing, Porter also declared, “You lie to patients when you charge them twice as much for an unimproved drug, and then you lie to policymakers when you tell us that R&D justifies those price increases.”
Gonzalez’s 2020 total compensation topped USD 24 million.
“You are not listening to what the director of the CDC said. If you believe that 22% is herd immunity, I believe you’re alone in that.”
– Dr. Anthony Fauci, to Sen. Rand Paul during a Senate hearing on COVID-19
“There’s absolutely no evidence that having a cold from a coronavirus in the past does anything to protect us. If it did, we wouldn’t have the epidemic we’re having right now.”
“I hope that you and the President don’t dislocate your shoulders patting yourselves on the back saying good job. We are 4% of the world’s population. We’re 22% of the world’s deaths. You bragged about the economy growing so fast – your words. Our unemployment is significantly higher than Germany’s; significantly higher than France’s; twice what Taiwan’s is; almost 3x what South Korea and Japan’s is; much higher than Australia; twice what Britain’s rate is; twice what New Zealand’s rate is. I mean I know you think the economy is doing well. But, if you’re talking to your wealthy friends on Wall Street…but things are pretty bad for most working Americans. They’re going to get worse unless you come up with a real package.”
Mnuchin had said, “I think we’ve made tremendous progress on testing.”
“When you have a president without shame, backed by a party without spine, amplified by a network without integrity, and by social networks that are marinated in conspiracy theories, behind whom are a lot of armed people — if you are not frightened by this, you are not paying attention.”
Friedman also stated the U.S. is on the verge of a “potential second civil war” if Trump’s insinuations aren’t taken seriously.
This COVID-19 pandemic has taken so much from the average person – no matter where in the world they live. Here in the U.S. we’re trapped in a nightmarish scenario with a disoriented leader heralding recent gains in the stock market, while millions remain unemployed. I’m sure those struggling to pay utilities are thrilled to know Fortune 1000 companies are enjoying record stock prices.
One of the most severe – and underrated – effects is the impact the scourge has had on people’s psyches. Emotional, mental and physical health always become subconscious victims of any national crisis. People are just trying to survive.
Personally, I’m in a vortex of angst and frustration. My freelance writing enterprise – as meager as it was – has pretty much collapsed. I’m fortunate I have some money saved from previous work, but I know that won’t last forever. Or even much longer. After my mother’s death this past June, though, I began to feel sick. Friends and relatives thought I was in a state of grief, which I was for the most part. But I thought I’d contracted that dreaded novel coronavirus. I had many of the symptoms. I had hoped my seasonal allergies had started to hit me early. Then again, perhaps it was the stress of dealing with my mother’s health. One friend suggested I was suffering from a lack of iron and Vitamin D. Still, I finally reconciled, it may be all of the above. Fighting so many battles at once takes a toll on the body. And mind.
Because of the pandemic, health clubs were among those businesses shuttered across the nation in an effort to contain the spread. I last visited my gym in mid-May; shortly before the rehabilitation center where my mother had been staying shoved her out because her Medicare benefits had been exhausted. (That’s another story!)
But even after my gym reopened in June, I still haven’t visited. Again it was that awful sickness. I didn’t know what was wrong. I’ve taken to doing basic calisthenics and walking along an exercise trail behind my home in recent weeks in the middle of the day. I used to go running, but I don’t have the strength right now. Key words: right now. Once you take off a long time without doing any kind of exercise besides laundry and loading and unloading the dishwasher, it’s a tad bit difficult to get back to normal. But even that little bit still makes me feel good.
Seven years ago I wrote about my tendency to visit my local gym on Saturday nights, when hardly anyone was present. I commented that only lonely fools like me did such a thing. At the turn of the century, working out on a Saturday night was unmanageable. But the gym I had at the time was open 24 hours. It was a perfect time to jog on a treadmill and lift weights, I realized, with such a sparse crowd. No one was there to be “seen”. That quiet time – with various types of music blaring from the myriad speakers lingering overhead – allowed me to think of every aspect of my life.
I left that gym in 2017 to join another local gym that closed unexpectedly a year later. After a lengthy hiatus, I joined my current gym last year. This is an old-school gym with no fancy juice bars or chic workout gear. Loud rock and rap music bounces around the concrete walls. It boasts an outside area with non-traditional workout gear, like tractor tires and tree stumps. Men can go shirtless. People there sweat – they don’t perspire! It’s not for suburban soccer moms or GQ cover models. (No offense to soccer moms!) I feel more than comfortable in such an environment.
I know it’s tough to take one’s mental and physical health into consideration if you’re unemployed or underemployed. But I also know you don’t have to belong to any kind of health club to care for your own health. Mental health experts are concerned about the severity this pandemic is having on people’s well-being. Quarantines are literally driving people crazy. And to drink too much alcohol and/or consume illegal drugs. Or contemplate hurting themselves. A bad economy helps none of that. I can identify with all of that. I really do feel that kind of pain.
Just walking the other day, carrying a water bottle and letting the sun emblazon my bare torso, helped me mentally. It didn’t make everything magically disappear once I returned home. I knew it wouldn’t. But maintaining one’s health – as best as possible, even in the worst of times – is vital. It can’t be overemphasized.
“Nothing ever comes to one that is worth having except as a result of hard work.”
– Booker T. Washington
“Dare to be honest and fear no labour.”
– Robert Burns
“Nothing will work unless you do.”
– Maya Angelou
“No human masterpiece has been created without great labour.”
– Andre Gide
“If all the cars in the United States were placed end-to-end, it would probably be Labor Day weekend.”
– Doug Larson
“Genius begins great works; labor alone finishes them.”
– Joseph Joubert
“It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Labor Day is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race or nation.”
– Samuel Gompers
“I believe that summer is our time, a time for the people, and no politician should be allowed to speak to us during the summer. They can start again after Labor Day.”
– Lewis Black
“Before the reward, there must be labor. You plant before harvest. You sow in tears before you reap joy.”
– Ralph Ransom
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
“A hundred times every day, I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.”
– Albert Einstein
“Work is no disgrace; the disgrace is idleness.”
– Greek Proverb
“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
“A man is not paid for having a head and hands, but for using them.”
– Elbert Hubbard
“The supreme accomplishment is to blur the lines between work and play.”
– Arnold J. Toynbee
“It is labor indeed that puts the difference on everything.”
– John Locke
“As we celebrate Labor Day, we honor the men and women who fought tirelessly for workers’ rights, which are so critical to our strong and successful labor force.”
– Elizabeth Esty
“I’ve heard of nothing coming from nothing, but I’ve never heard of absolutely nothing coming from hard work.”
– Uzo Aduba
“Just try new things. Don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar, all right?”
– Michelle Obama
“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”
– Vince Lombardi
“Though you can love what you do not master, you cannot master what you do not love.”
– Mokokoma Mokhonoana
“Work isn’t to make money; you work to justify life.”
– Marc Chagall
“Follow your passion, be prepared to work hard and sacrifice, and – above all – don’t let anyone limit your dreams.”
– Donovan Bailey