Why should you work to be productive when you can just act like you’re productive? Nobody will ever know for sure if you are or not. How the hell could they know what you’re doing unless they’re watching you 24 hours a day? I don’t think there are a lot of people who could stand watching someone else for more than an hour or so without losing interest or going to sleep. Either way, they won’t know for sure what you have been doing.
Take me, for instance. I’ve been helping out with the Putah Creek Restoration Project as a volunteer. I can go down to the creek and work for 10 minutes, pour a little water on my neck so it looks like I’m sweating, rub some dirt on my hands and face and anybody who sees me thinks I’ve been working my butt off. All I have to do is complain about how long I’ve been working and right away they think I’ve been working all day.
They give me little jobs that aren’t covered by the budget, but jobs that have to be done just the same. I mean, what organization could afford to pay someone to water like ten thousand trees? I mean, watering trees is not all that difficult – even I can do it. The way they have it set up, all I have to do is hook two hoses up to a water pump, start the pump and then pick it up when it runs out of gas. I mean, if I weren’t a volunteer working for free, they would have fired me a long time ago.
Yesterday there were about 30 workers changing a light bulb on the corner of Elliott Street and East Abbey Street. The way I understand, it there has to be at least 30 people standing around watching one guy work, because one of the other guys has the job of “Crowd Control.” I drove by them at about 8 a.m. on my way to the Creek Project. Later on, about 10 a.m., I drove by them again and they were still changing the same light bulb.
The guy doing all the work was named Terry and the crowd control guy was named Tony. Tony gave me a dirty look the first time I drove by and when I drove by again he pointed his finger at me and said, “You better not write about us again, Bunghollie!” A young guy named Chris chucked a dirt clod at me, so I guess that makes him the enforcer guy. Someday I think those guys are gonna beat the hell out of me and they will undoubtedly do it while they are on the clock.
Even at home, I can work for an hour and when my wife walks in the door, she thinks I’ve been working too hard. I just can’t seem to force myself to tell her anything different. As long as I turn off the games on the Xbox before she gets home, she has no doubt about my laboring all day, getting ready to install new kitchen cabinets. If she points out something that didn’t get done, I just tell her, “That’s next on my list.”
I think it must be the same with our government officials out there in Washington D.C. How can you check a Congressman’s or a Senator’s production if there is no actual pile of completed work? Sure there are watchdog groups doing just that (watchdogging), but we never pay attention to them and they have their own agenda. I think there must be easier ways to judge what our lawmakers are up to.
Take money, for instance. If someone never leaves his office because he is on the phone all day working at fundraising, how can he have time for what he is supposed to be doing? It’s public record and supposedly easy to access (I don’t know for sure) just how much a government official is worth when he comes into office. If what I read is correct, a lawmaker in our nation’s capital can expect his worth to increase by tenfold during his first year in office plus, once out of office he can still expect his salary for the rest of his life. Pretty sweet deal, if you ask me.
I don’t like to talk about cops, but I feel it’s warranted. I’ve had my problems with them in the past and I have to assume responsibility for that, but it’s not the point I want to make. There are a lot of angry cops out there. They’re frustrated because they’re prevented from doing the jobs they were meant to do. In many cities, our police officers have become fundraisers. They pull over car after car, writing ticket after ticket, all day long. There are so many little laws that, in almost every instance, a ticket is warranted. Each ticket is income for a multitude of public centers and a small percentage goes to the city of origin.
It’s no wonder that our cops are a little short with you should you complain. Many are wound up tight and ready to spring involuntarily. It has been almost two decades since the cops had to deal with me and they still tell me that they have heard I am getting “the good stuff now.” I laugh it off, but if you think about it, I have just been insulted in a general way in front of the public. I think most cops feel they are in a “no win” situation, surrounded by thousands upon thousands of people, any one of whom can be a threat. A tough job for sure, but they have to know I am no threat and if I break the law, I’m ready to pay the penalty.
I guess if I really think about it, production is really not that important with me – I just don’t think that way. I just want to stay off the couch, turn off the TV, get outside and be part of what we call life. After all, if I water just one tree every day, it is a tree that will have a better chance of surviving through the summer. It’s the same on a higher level. If the city and the county have to write traffic tickets to fund the greater welfare of this city, I will run a red light at least once a month.