ICE ICE Baby

No, not Vanilla!

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Well, it happened. I knew it was just a matter of time. What with the renewed spike in the spittle-flying phobia in this country about those “others”, it was bound to happen. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement hit squad finally picked off someone in my little world.

Friday, I’m talking to one of the nicest people in the company. Hell, one of the nicest people on the planet! Always cheerful, always helpful, there for everyone, volunteering to help others, highly competent, one of the best workers in the building. Actually, a far better human being than most of the natural-born citizens in the building.

Monday, I come in, go down to the mail room to say “Hi”, and she’s not at her desk. I track down her good friend and ask what’s up, and her friend confides in me that, even though she had been in the country for many years, she never had the proper immigration status, and that she was deported over the weekend. Boom! Just like that. She gets disappeared!

If you’re one of those “serves her right for breaking the law” types, or maybe you think “she’s just here to steal our jobs”, I’ve got something to ask you. If you were in her shoes, and not one of the big winners in the genetic lottery, and the conditions in your home country were so bad that breaking the law in the most powerful country on Earth seemed like the safer alternative, what would you do?

If you said “I’d stay in my home country”, you don’t know yourself very well. I’d suggest some real deep soul-searching. In fact, I think we all need some!

Post Post-a-Day

Or, After My Failed Attempt at 365 Posts in 2016

Hello again, dear reader(s). Or, rather, “Hi Mom.”

As you may (not) have noticed, I have been absent from these digs for well over a week. Quiet. Silent. Mute. Voiceless. And although I did not issue an Official Proclamation as to my intentions of trying to publish a post every day for a year, I did at least announce said intentions to the voices in my head.

“Hah! A post a day for a year! That’s rich.”

“Shut up!”

“No! You can’t make me!”

“Shut up, I’m trying to talk to my dear reader(s)!”

“You know, rudyblues, if you didn’t proofread this dreck you wouldn’t even have ‘reader’, much less readers! Loser.”

Sorry, I digress. As I was saying, I have failed in my attempt to publish at least once a day for a year. I fought the good fight. Well, I fought. All right, I gave it a shot, how’s that? Probably not my best shot, but a shot none the less. It was a good run. Yes, I suppose you’re right, it was more like a short, fast walk.

I find it amazing how badly the human psyche wants to be right and to what extremes it will go to rationalize a perceived failure. Back in the waning days of 2015 I optimistically said to myself, “Self, we’re gonna publish 365 blog posts next year.” And at that point most of the voices in my head gave a kind of muffled harrumph, with a few “attaboy’s” and “you go’s” from the back of the room. Fast forward to the present and it’s not quite as supportive in there. Rationalizations run rampant.

I’ve spent nearly every waking hour for the past week or more on keeping my day job. As some (one?) of you may have read in this previous post, the heartless, multinational mega-corporation I work for is going through a self-induced, self-inflicted restructuring to please the financier class. This restructuring, which at times seems more like throwing everything out and starting over, is being implemented with a spreadsheet and a battle axe, with the precision of a carpet bombing run.

And what self-respecting restructuring expert would keep someone 50+ years old, who knows how the business works and how the organization operates, when he could keep two 20-somethings and brag about the reduction in overhead (read payroll)? That’s Business School 101, dear reader(s). Elementary school math. If you subtract the biggest numbers first you don’t have to work as hard.

So the layoffs have been coming hard and fast in the first quarter, in order to meet the arbitrary deadline that was foolishly announced so that the stock price would rebound. And it has, and the munchkin twit with the Napoleon complex has had his contract renewed. Most of the layoffs have been from middle management, people nearing the end of their working careers, nearer the upper end of the pay scale. Just a smidge older than me. I’m losing my cover.

And although your humble author is neither middle management nor at the top of the pay scale, he is at that vulnerable age, 50+, that seems to be the target of most of the cuts. Ergo, the recent spate of late nights and long days workin’ for the man. Trying to make myself indispensable at a job that’s ill-defined and unnoticed by those in the seats of the corporate threshing machines. I’m sure my number will come up soon.

Oh, by the way, if you’re a Millennial or a Gen-Xer or even a younger Boomer, please don’t jack with Social Security in the U.S. It works, in spite of what you hear. I’m one of those that the Great Recession of 2007 wiped out. I’m working until I drop. Unless my number comes up. Then I’m taking Social Security and living under a bridge.

Though I’m not religious, what better day than today, the Christian holiday of Easter Sunday, with its promise of redemption, to ask you, my dear reader(s), to forgive my sins and continue reading. Maybe just not as often. I can’t afford to lose my day job.

Them’s Fightin’ Words!

Rantin’ about parentin’

Do you know someone who encourages their children to solve disputes with violence? You know the type. Their child tells them about a dispute with another child, perhaps with a schoolmate or a neighborhood kid, and their response is, “When that kid says that you just knock him right in the snot box!”

I’ve heard parents talk like this before. I imagine their parents said the same thing to them. Makes me want to knock them right in the snot box! But if you’re like me, you just bite your tongue, smile, and feel sorry for the kid. No sense provoking someone like that into punching you in the nose by insulting their parenting skills. Or lack thereof. I hope that doesn’t make me a bad person. Or an accomplice.

{/end rant}

Fight

All Those Connections but Still Disconnected

The human touch in the connected age

If you’re reading this, I’ll bet it’s not on a printed page. I know I didn’t print it for you. You’re reading it on your Internet connection. Many people, though not all people, have Internet connections. Some have more than one. An Internet connection has become so pervasive that many people feel you’re at a disadvantage if you don’t have one.

Friedrich_Friedländer_Die_DorfpolitikerYou and I can’t make this connection save for the Internet. It’s doubtful that this piece I’m writing will ever make it to print, much less find its way to you, wherever you are. So the only way that you can read it is through your Internet connection. We connected on our connections.

Read more ruminating

I Just Want to Tell You How Proud I Am of You

Kudos!

One of the responsibilities of my job is to create and conduct technical training courses. The subject matter covers a range of products and technologies that the company sells. Some of the products are simple, requiring little more than a few minutes to master. Some are quite complex, requiring a lot of hands-on and situational training to grasp.

My students, dealer technicians and some company employees, come from a very diverse background. Many of the dealer technicians have little more than a rural public high school education. Most can read, but perhaps not comprehend, and write, with rudimentary math and science skills. The company employees often have college degrees, but usually not in technical fields, so in some respects they’re not much further along than the dealer technicians.

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One Love

Don’t miss the chance

I heard she died recently. I had a good cry, the next time I was alone. I wonder what life would have been had I chosen differently, had I chosen to go with her? That was a watershed time. As I think back, I’m not sure my reasoning was sound. Maybe it wasn’t reasoning at all. May she rest in peace.

FlowerOfSwirlsShe was the real love of my life. I didn’t know it then, because I didn’t know what it was, I hadn’t experienced it before. The closest was during an overnight school trip to a Thespian competition. We stayed at a hotel with groups from other schools. I met a girl that night and we stayed up all night sharing our deepest secrets. I experienced an unfamiliar feeling the next morning, when we exchanged our goodbyes. I didn’t know what it was. But the experience faded when I was back in school.

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The Old Woman

Every village needs a mother

The old woman had raised most of the children in the village. Every Sunday she would go to the little restaurant on First Street, sit at the same table, and hold court. A stream of young people would enter the restaurant, stop by the table, and submit to her review. Some came by themselves, some in groups, but all came to see the old woman.

Harper's_New_Monthly_Magazine_Volume_104_December_1901_to_May_1902_(1902)_(14781045774)She knew all their names. She’d helped raise some of them from infancy. She remembered all their birthdays, all their hopes and dreams, and all their past mistakes, better than they remembered them. And though some of them were well into raising children of their own, they still came, they still presented themselves for inspection, and they still listened to the old woman.

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