“Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?”
Image: Loose Parts
As all my followers well know, The Chief is always asking the tough questions about our world. For example, how do sexual harassment policies work in adult film production companies? I realize that’s a hard one to think about, but just try. You never know what you’ll come up with!
I will now refrain from posting anything for the rest of the weekend.
“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!’
Foreign Born Job Recruiter: I need you to clitify something on your resume.
The Chief: Um…excuse me?
JR: I need you to clitify the period since 2015.
TC: I still don’t understand. What is it about 2015?
JR: Your work history since 2015 needs to be clitified.
TC (thinking salaciously without breathing hard; after all, I’m talking to a woman): Okay, I still don’t…um…I still don’t understand what you’re trying to tell me. Um…clitify? What…what do you mean?
JR: Since 2015 – your work experience needs to be clitified. What were you doing?
TC (beginning to breathe hard – er – heavily): Since 2015? I was working freelance – contract – temporary. I often consulted on writing projects.
JR: Ah! Okay, that’s what I wanted to know. You were a consultant, right?
TC (pausing, breathing slows): Well…yes. (Now I get it!) I consulted on various writing projects. (Brain functioning more thoroughly now; as in 2+2=4.)
JR: It’s just not clitified on your resume.
TC (getting juicy again, but maintaining composure – long pause): Clitified?
TC (still maintaining composure but damn it’s hard! I mean, difficult!): Okay…(brain synapses finally engage). Oh! Clarify!
TC (uttering derogatory comments about trying to communicate with foreign-language speakers): Okay, I see what you’re saying now.
JR: Yes, you need to add that – consultant.
TC (lightheartedly and still annoyed): Okay, I will.
TC (reworking resume to CLARIFY work experience since 2015): Why the fuck can’t they outsource job recruiting to somewhere relatively close to the U.S.?! Like, say, Montana.
NOTE: Yes, I’m usually shirtless when working from home (unless I’m on a video call), but I do make it a point to wear (clean) underwear, which is size extra medium. Not that you needed to know, but my writer’s intuition tells me your filthy mind was curious. Look, people, this is a family blog! Get your minds out of the fucking gutter!
Last month I had to buy a new clothes washer. I came home from work one Friday and dropped my casual dress shirts into the washer, as I did at the end of every work week. After a few minutes I realized the washer had stopped. In fact, after it filled with water, it had grown surprisingly silent. The thing banged a lot when in action. But when I checked on it, I was stunned to find it still filled with water. No amount of manipulation – which, for the mechanically-challenged such as myself – meant yanking on the knob (as if I was in the midst of a raucous masturbatory session) and smacking it (again, as if in the midst of a raucous masturbatory session). Aren’t you glad you decided to read something today?!
All of that was to no avail. So I removed the shirts and squeezed out the water and searched online for a repair place. I found one, but they couldn’t fix it. I paid their fee – and never heard from them again. I filed a fraud complaint with my bank, which gave me provisional credit. But they ultimately decided I was hysterical and reversed the credit.
I was forced to get a new washer – and change banks. I realized the obvious: my 10-year-old clothes washer had decided to give up on me (at the financially worst time!) and I had to get a new one. My long-time good friend, Raymond*, came in from out of town shortly after that. He was here when I bought a new washer through Overstock and here at the house when it arrived. It turned out to be much smaller than anticipated – suitable more for a dorm room or efficiency apartment than a hyper-clean single man living alone in a 3-bedroom house – so I was forced to return it.
I then purchased a fuller-size washer and had it delivered. Before Raymond returned home, he helped me disconnect and move the deceased appliance into the garage. I had to empty out the bulk of the water by hand. We both laughed afterwards, as I championed the fact two 50-something fuckers like us could move a massive appliance across several feet and through two doorways. Personally, it was the most exercise I’d had in months!
Not long afterwards, Raymond encountered his own appliance-related fiasco. His aging refrigerator had started causing him problems. He was able to get it repaired, but it was still an unsettling prospect for him. His health problems seriously impact his personal finances, and in the wealthiest country on Earth, people in his condition have to budget tightly.
The image at top is from a series of text messages between Raymond and me as he lamented his refrigerator ordeal. I couldn’t help but laugh loudly and told as many people as possible; people who are roughly our age.
At 15, my truck is showing its age. The engine light keeps illuminating, and a headlight recently went out. But it’s still operating relatively well! Other things in and around my house are also becoming problematic. My father had a fetish for scented candles, until I finally convinced him they were damaging the walls and ceilings with soot. The kitchen sink had been causing trouble years ago – long before either of my parents passed away. The water heater is leaking slowly. My iron (my mother’s iron actually) committed suicide a few months ago in mid-session. The roof has a number of openings, which allow squirrels and other small invasive varmints to enter and hide. Their rumblings in the attic make me recall the mythical rat problem in “The Exorcist”.
Years ago my mother would tell me that life begins at 40; a rather common saying at the time. She had just turned 40 when we moved into this suburban house in December of 1972. Shortly after I turned 40 in 2003, I came down with the flu for the first time in my entire life. The following April, I severely sprained my left ankle while walking my dog. It had rotated as far as it could go without breaking. I ended up on crutches and taking time off from work. About 5 months before I turned 50 in 2013, I had a freak accident here at the house that severely damaged my right arm and landed me in the hospital for a few days. If I had been alone, I probably would have bled to death.
It seems the start of every decade of my life coincides with something bad. In the two months before I turned 30 in 1993, one of my closest friends died, and I contracted Hepatitis A that culminated in a hospital stay and nearly two months off from work. Therefore, I’m not eager to see what awaits me come my 60th birthday – if I’m fortunate enough to make it that far.
A couple of months ago I was looking into one of my eyes in the mirror when I noticed a bruise on the outside of my left forearm, close to the elbow. It immediately drew my attention for one simple reason – I have no idea how the damn thing got there! And I grew alarmed. Occasionally my parents would end up with miscellaneous bruises; marks with an unknown cause. It made me recall an even more unsettling incident from more than two decades ago.
I worked for a bank in Dallas, dealing with high-dollar clientele. Many of my customers were elderly. I was on the phone with a gentleman one afternoon when he halted the conversation and began mumbling. I asked if he was alright. He then noted rather casually – almost too casually – that he was bleeding and didn’t know from where. A colleague passing by my desk at that moment noticed my eyebrows pop upward in shock. I asked the man if I needed to call someone for him, as in 911. He said no, that he’d be alright.
Of course, a bruise is nowhere as serious as blood. But I’m still wondering if I’m now at that point in time – the age where my body is subtly telling me it wants to lead a life of its own. I’m not ready to let the bastard go yet! Yes, I’m a writer, but I don’t want to melt down into a fat, grouchy curmudgeon surrounded by books and bottles of wine and vodka! If you knew my present lifestyle, it may seem that way, but no one asked you!
Raymond turned 59 last month, and I told him I’m actually looking forward to turning 60 in two years. I also told him something even more significant – we will age and mature, indeed, but we will never get “old”. I certainly don’t intend to let myself reach that point. Raymond has been through a lot in his life. Just half the crap he’s endured would send most people into therapy or a talk show. And I’m still here for a reason, too.
Broken clothes washers or not, I’ll go on until my power system decides it’s had enough. In the meantime, I’m still on the lookout for anymore rogue bruises.
“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.