April 1st, 2002


Life in the Looney Bin

My co-workers are going insane.

I think I've mentioned previously the two who are now out on various criminal and/or quasi-criminal charges.

Today a guy was called into the office to discuss a minor infraction. The discussion was handled in a manner violating our union contract, so the guy didn't really have anything to worry about.

But he's a "sensitive" type. That is, prone to panic attacks. Overly prone, some might say. Of course, he had one. So somebody called his wife, who came to the office to help him get home.

This was the first time I'd directly witnessed one of his panic attacks. The poor guy looked like a mental patient in the movies, AFTER a round of electro-shock. He was bent over, staring vacantly, shuffling his feet like a stroke victim; I swear he was practically drooling. He was drenched in sweat, and mumbling to himself. His wife led him by one hand out the door, and he felt his way along with the other hand like a blind person.

His wife, quite appropriately and eloquently, asked our supervisors, "what the f**k**g h**l do you DO to people around here?"

I was asking that myself, silently, when I found out today that the "Big Boss" has ordered the "Lesser Bosses" to schedule NO DAYS OFF for us. Other than the Sundays we are closed. They will call us at home in the mornings to let us know if we DON'T have to come in.

This too is a violation of the union contract. Sometimes unions are a good thing.

By the way, this IS a Federal Government job -- and no, it's not the Army! Your Tax Dollars At Work!


You'd think there'd be something to be said for, when life's problems and annoyances, crummy jobs and crummy people and no money and hay fever and nine months of gray skies a year and all that fun stuff get to be too much, just chucking all that, and all our junk in our houses and apartments, and our junk cars; just chucking it all and moving to Hawaii and finding some way to scrape by while hanging out on the beach, getting a tan, and learning to surf, and completely leaving the Old You behind... you'd think there'd be something to be said for that. And there would be if it worked. Instead, you end up fatter and paler than you were on the mainland, 'cuz you work six days a week to scrape by, and it rains on your day off, and you have to sleep, shop, and do laundry on that day anyway. So you live in your head a lot, and if you're in there too much, you end up sinking down to the bottom where all that old stuff that you tried to leave behind is still rotting away.

And so you still think about it. Every day.



There's an open-air Denny's in Waikiki. You can sit there with your Omelette and your Chocolate Milk Shake and watch the surfer girlz go by. And if the waitress likes you she brings the Big Tin Cup which has more Chocolate Milk Shake left in it than is actually in the first glass!