Sunday, February 26, 2006

It was like a scene from American Grafitti

There's a photo drifting Speedbump around the Internet [at right] epitomizing the division of labor in local, state, and federal jobs: the roadkill crew had not been down this stretch of road, the stripe painters' job description does not say they have to move dead animals, and the result is a dead 'possum in the middle of the road with a yellow stripe across its body. The other day I was driving to work and I saw something rather similar, happily not involving sailcats but the 'right hand not consulting the left hand' element was there:

A fencing crew came down State Route 167 a couple months ago to put this low cable barrier down the left side of the road, and at one point there's an open spot about fifteen feet long. There's nothing special about this particular spot, it's just median (a couple foot drop into grass and picked-up-yearly litter). A mile up the road from that is one of those asphalted strips that connect the two directions of traffic, where police cruisers sit and wait for prey, with the standard sign near it saying "No U-Turn, Emergency Vehicles Only." The fence goes across it on this same side, rendering it useless for emergency vehicles (and cops can only lay in wait in one direction). Speculation is that whomever wrote the plans for this project didn't measure or print the distance to the cop-swap correctly, and the crew – cable stringers, pole planters, asphalt borers, cement backfillers, shovel-leaning foremen, bumper-car drivers – was going to follow them exactly as they were written lest they get The Wrath© for using Common Sense™. Your My state government and tax dollars at work, kids!

I'm jotting this from work, which as usual is slow on a Sunday, and the thing that the guys here keep talking about is the fact that the men's room smells like gasoline. What makes us even more nervous is that no one in charge seems concerned. It wouldn't be such a bad thing if the can blew up (other than having a 4 story building come down on top of us, we're in the basement floor), since as the employment service ad says "I work with chimps"... with the key difference being that real chimps only fling poo as a defensive mechanism, not for fun like my coworkers, and I've never heard of simians picking their noses and wiping the crust on the wall in front of a toilet/urinal for all to admire. Anyhow. The graphics below don't have anything to do with the tale above, they're just two things I had on my desktop... click to see them in their 671x350 glory if you want. The squirrel is a resident of my back yard, and the picture was taken from inside the house(!) with a Konica-Minolta DiMAGE Z6. I made it to the Eatonville library last Friday and got copies of every Haynes Hardware ad, so work is underway to make a big ol' update to the Pimpin' Life of Bill Ding subsite on my other webpage. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll hurl.
Foamy and Bill are your lord and master

The squirrell is very cute. He looks like he's doing the pledge of allegiance with his little hand to his heart.

Many people don't feel the need to use common sense anymore. Why strain themselves?
Yes, this would be better to do than that, but that is not in the job description, so I will only do this.
That possum pic is funny.
I think the phrase "no good deed goes unpunished" comes to mind. Yes, anyone with any sense would know that the break was to be THERE not HERE, but since it does involve government there's no sense in play... maybe they intended it that way. It's easier for the highway dept to get a crew to move the hole and gloss over the mistake than for the contractor to get chewed out for not following directions (mistaken as they were).

And I am one that often uses the "it's not in my job description" bit so I don't have to support anything I don't feel comfortable with. Best effort when I do know the stuff, not gonna stick my neck out if I don't have to. :)
I think everyone has taken the "it's not my job" attitude at some time or another, but some people go too far.
Also, some people have the "it's THEIR job" attitude. Like the lady I saw in the store whose kid was making a mess scattering stuff here & there. She actually said, "I'm glad it's their job to clean up after you."
That attitude really pisses off my wife, because she works in a library (a popular place for people to take leave of personal responsibility) and her job description says she is to help patrons find data -- not chase babies back into the building when their parents are too busy playing on the Internet to pay attention to their whereabouts, or clean up after deliberately messy people of any age.
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