Saturday, February 08, 2003

It was an exhausting week. I sometimes think my life is being played out as a variation on The Blithedale Romance in which I play all the characters. I'm not having much fun.

The point in my Stand Down post this week was not, as one idiot commented, about conspiracy but something simpler and obvious.
I have a habit of showing up for work 5 to 10 minutes late. I also rarely leave the job quickly at the end of the day. I deduct the time I miss but rarely add the time I stay (unless it's over 30 minutes). I'm responsible, and am one of the most versatile members of any crew I work on. I think and plan ahead. I take on more responsibility than I need to, and when I do a job I try to do it better, more quickly and cleanly, this time than the last. I try to get better at everything I do. All of this keeps me from getting sick of the whole thing, or from just being bored. Economically, if my employer wants good work- and that's a big 'if'- I'm a good investment, but I come in 10 minutes late.

I've been fired a few times for this. I once showed up 5 minutes late for a job that was only going to last a few weeks, but which would have been a good connection for the future. A cabinetmaker who usually worked alone, a friend of a friend, needed an assistant for one job. I showed up at 9:05; my employer was not pleased. It's only 5 minutes, I said. And I'll work till 5:05. "That's not the point" he said.  I said I didn't know what difference it would make. He said if I work for him I should show up on time. I shrugged. My indifference made him more annoyed, and the rest of the morning was a contest between the two of us: him waiting for me to make a mistake -I made none- and me being as fast and precise as I could and finishing each assignment well before he expected it, and then waiting for him to figure out the next project. By lunchtime it had become ridiculous. I called up a cabinetmaker I knew who had offered me a few weeks work, she came by on her motorcycle, and I left.

"That's not the point" I heard that phrase again this week from the guy I've been working with for the past few months. Though in every other way I'm practically the only man he can rely on my lateness annoys him more than others' mistakes. That is precisely the point. There are people who need to be bosses more than they need money. It's their revenge.
I wasn't always as responsible as I am now; that was my laziness.

George Bush is not interested in defeating Saddam Hussein; he's interested in making Hussein admit it. It doesn't matter to Bush whether or not Iraq has been rendered incapable of military aggression. As long as Hussein is capable of putting on a show, Bush will want to go in. Handcuffed and on the ground, as long as Hussein can still mouth the words "Fuck You" George Bush will still call him a dangerous criminal. He needs not only to win but to humiliate the beaten foe for the crime of cursing him. This is about the shadows our president sees with anyone who disses him. And he's willing to kill hundreds of thousands of people, and risk the lives of millions more, solely for the purpose of beating back those shadows. Conspiracy has nothing to do with it. It's nothing but insipid mediocrity.
The banality of evil.

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