Bob is smiling. Keep reading to find out why.
Bob has a job and a boss. He is required to work on Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after. If he refuses, he will lose his job.
When Bob works over 40 hours a week, he does not receive overtime pay. He’s exempt. Bob doesn’t receive overtime if he works over an eight-hour shift.
Even though he’s a full-time employee, Bob does not receive “benefits” from his employer like health insurance, pension, or 401(k).
Every year or so the stories briefly get featured on the evening news like a blip on a gloomy green radar screen then are as quickly forgotten. Until the next study is released or, worse, some human bodies are asploded. Now that’s news.
Think of a list of professions where you’d really like people to be fully rested and alert. Airline pilots? Air traffic control? Doctors? Truck drivers?
Nice list. Congratulations. You just came up with a list of people that we fuck the most. Logical, right?
This week, again, the issue of employee fatigue was in the news. The FAA commissioned a study on air traffic controller fatigue. The results are none too surprising. Then the government fought for four years to keep the findings secret.
“Psst. Hey dude. I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse. You pay top dollar for me to conduct a study about how I’m fucking you over. Then I keep the results secret from you. Sounds like fun, right?”
What could possibly be going on here? Luckily I got a good night’s sleep.
The boss asks for your opinion. “I need a recommendation for a new computer.”
You ask a few questions. Price range? Purpose? Anything special it needs to do?
You take the task seriously. You conduct research. You think outside of the box. You are creative and expend energy. You want to do a good job.
This isn’t your specialty but you try your best. After finding what you think is a pretty good answer, you pass it on.
The next day that boss says, “My spouse told me to buy something else. Something totally different than what you recommended. I’m going with that.”
In a few days the computer shows up. It’s neither. It turns out the boss went for a third option. The very thing you cautioned against way back at the beginning.
The boss now has a stupid piece of shit but it was worth it to put you in your place and make you spin your wheels. It sure can be funny how things work out.
There came a startling knocking sound…
“That’s odd,” I grumbled to myself. “What the hell is that?” I looked around and it seemed to be coming from a mysterious object I had once named, at random, a “door.” Found upon the door was a piece of spherically-shaped metal which I brilliantly intuited could be used to pry the bloody thing open.
Gazing through the gaping portal I saw a most hideous thing standing on the go-away mat. “What the hell are you?” I gasped.
With an eerily familiar voice it replied, “I’m you from the future.”
My mind reeled. “How far in the future?”
“Tomorrow, to be exact.” God, it sure was ugly. It looked irritated and menacing, too. “Are you going to invite me in?”
Once inside it looked around the living room as if with the eyes of a child. “You’ll have to forgive me,” it said. “This sure brings back memories.”
By now I was feeling pretty damn irritated. My normal routine had been severely disrupted. “I’m feeling damn irritated,” I said. “You’re severely disrupting my normal routine.”
For a second it lost it’s composure. “Don’t you think I know that?!” it snapped ferociously. It took a deep breath and slowly exhaled then seemed to go limp in resignation. After an awkward silence, it finally continued. “I’m here to help you,” it said softly. “To help both of us.”
“Go on,” I barked.
“A few minutes from now,” it said ominously, “something is going to happen. Something completely out of the normal. Something disastrous. I’m here to stop it.”
Suddenly I noticed a gun in it’s hand. That’s odd, I thought lamely to myself. We don’t own a gun. What the hell had happened to me?
Bang. The gun went off. I fell to the floor while clutching my stomach in pain. He had shot our most prized possession. He had just shot our LCD 42″ flat screen TV.
“You son of a bitch! You die!” I screamed as I felt my life oozing away. “Why??”
“Poor little idiot,” he said, literally looking down on me. I couldn’t help but notice he was starting to twinkle, almost as if he was slowly dissolving away. He smiled.
He looked at his dissolving hand in wonderment. “It worked, it worked,” he said, forgetting the question that was currently pending on the floor. Then an expression of fear gripped his hideous face. “At least this time.”
His expression changed to one of resolve then went soft as if he had reached some sort of climactic decision. “What I’m about to say may end the space-time continuum as we know it, everywhere, everything, but fuck it. It might be our only chance.”
“Shut up!” he hissed. “We have very little time.” By now he was about fifty percent translucent, much like the time I had tried to Photoshop a profile image using a real picture of my own face.
“I don’t know what I was thinking,” he said to himself, ignoring me completely. “I never watch broadcast TV. I never even turn it on. I hate the commercials. I avoid it like the plague. But I was supposed to be working. So, yeah, I guess that might be how it happened.”
He turned and looked me in the eye. “I turned on the TV,” he said. He was starting to scare me. “I did it on purpose. It was showing the CBS morning show. God help me, I don’t know why, but I watched.” I was stunned to see tears streaming down his face. “They called it ‘Note to Self.’ Oh God, why did I watch?”
He was almost gone now. He sparkled like a glinty trick of light and I had to lean and strain to hear what he had to say.
“Don’t do what I did. Don’t ever, EVER,” he hissed, “make the mistake of watching Note to Self. It’ll be the death of you.”
And with that, he was gone.
Dazed, I slowly got to my feet and swayed. Wow. What a trip. And what an idiot. How the hell was I going to watch anything with a bullet in my TV? And how the hell was I supposed to avoid doing real actual work?
More importantly, who was going to clean up that mess of ectoplasm where the bastard had been standing?
Mister Thompson calls the waiter, orders steak and baked potato
(Then) he leaves the bone and gristle and he never eats the skin
The busboy comes and takes it, with a cough contaminates it
(And he) puts it in a can with coffee grounds and sardine tins
And the truck comes by on Friday and carts it all away
A thousand trucks just like it are converging on the Bay
Oh, Garbage, garbage, garbage, garbage
We’re filling up the seas with garbage
What will we do when there’s no place left
To put all the garbage
And now, from our ongoing series Tales Of The Justice…
Who says that justice is dead? Finally, a punishment that fits the crime.
Meet garbage man Kevin McGill, 48, resident of Atlanta, Georgia, husband, and father of two children. His crime? Reporting to work too early. The punishment? Thirty (30) days in jail.
For once the justice system finally seems to be working. Really, shouldn’t reporting too early to work always result in jail time? I think so!
I humbly suggest we make this a constitutional amendment. I sustain the motion!
For those OCD nitwits out there who demand more detail I’ll reluctantly say this. His job is picking up the garbage. A city ordinance says that garbage shall not be picked up earlier than 7 a.m. McGill, obviously a true go-getter in the refuse collection industry, started his shift early. This naturally startled residents in an affluent neighborhood of Sandy Springs, a suburb located north of Atlanta.
Naturally the startled residents, hearing the terrifying sounds of a garbage truck around 5 a.m., responded to the situation by calling 9-1-1.
I hate to even think what I would have done in similar circumstances. Of course you call 9-1-1. That’s what you do. That’s what public service ads on television have been telling us for years. 9-1-1 is reserved for the important stuff. I probably would have gone further and voided my bladder and bowels. That feels like the Sandy Springs thing to do.
Residents of the wealthy neighborhood reportedly include Herman Cain and “professional athletes and executives for Delta Air Lines.” We now pause for these commercial messages while I cancel my subscription to ESPN and make new travel arrangements.
Thankfully the culprit was apprehended and the garbage in his truck was (presumably) seized into state’s evidence. Finally a task worthy of Atlanta CSI.
“One thing’s for sure,” said the star du jour while removing his super-sparkly sunglasses. “Something about this case stinks.” He then made some comment about keeping a “lid” on news coverage.
Justice was quickly served. The prosecutor (chief solicitor) wanted 30 days in jail. It was McGill’s first offense. McGill voluntarily agreed to the “plea deal” without a lawyer present and only accompanied by a representative of Waste Management, Inc., who was expecting nothing more than a routine $1,000 fine.
The prosecutor stood by the outcome saying it was right to go after McGill personally rather than his employer. “Fines don’t seem to work,” he said. “The only thing that seems to stop the activity is actually going to jail.” Yes, these are real verbatim quotes.
Fortunately, by press time and despite the fact that the story had been picked up internationally, the city and the judge had a miraculous change of heart and the charges were dropped. Yeah, just like that. That’s how they roll in Sandy Springs. Bag it and tag it. This case is done.
Suddenly the solicitor was saying whacky shit like 30 days in jail for violation of a noise ordinance was “disproportionate to a first-time offense.”
They sure do keep things classy in those ritzy neighborhoods.