I spent the bulk of today tinkering around the pre-start up necessities for a project that not even the second year of the Great Plague has managed to kill off. It will be my 7th time attempting to herd the cats towards this effort. It’s entirely beloved by the powers high atop Olympus, but has been, is, and apparently ever will be the absolute bane of my professional existence.
It’s safe to say that whatever restive effects of taking the last half of December off are well and truly used up now. I’m shocked they lasted into the second day, really. That’s almost twice as long as I usually manage to not be completely agitated by the unique joys of the bureaucracy.
The only perk of having done the same thing for seven years in a row is I have an awfully deep bench of templates to draw from. It’s virtual acres of ground filled with slide decks, Excel files, and narrative documents that help limit the amount of original thought that needs to be applied. The biggest hurdle is sorting through it all to craft a package that looks new and interesting enough that the great overlords won’t realize that it’s a great batch of recycled ideas.
The fact that this year, once again, will be in the format of a “virtual meeting” helps out a lot there. There are only so many ways to doctor up a Zoom meeting to make it look new and original. There will be allowances for that. Probably.
Still, today has been like meeting an old friend. The kind of friend who wrecked your car, slept with your girl, stole your wallet, and kicked your dog.
1. Poor resource allocation. In the last three jobs I’ve had, my chosen line of work somehow manage to evolve into being an event planner. That’s not an intrinsically bad thing to be, but it does seem like a bad match to put the person with virtually no interest in talk to people into the role of setting up an event the point of which is to talk to as many people as possible. It’s just a bad fit. It may not be classified as torture, but if given the choice between life as a “wedding planner” and a good waterboarding session, just let me know where to lie down.
2. Highway robbery. According to the lady on the television news, ATM fees are “highway robbery” and having money “ripped away” just because she uses out-of-network machines is unfair. Uhhh. No. You’re paying for the convenience of the service, lady. If you think the fees are too high, maybe just go to your own bank to get money instead of just sticking your card in the closest slot. Even now when I don’t travel very often, I keep a small account at a bank in the area where I grew up so I can withdraw cash without paying $5 a pop for the privilege. Once I withdraw it, I replenish that account with an electronic transfer from my primary bank. I’m just going to assume what the TV lady really meant that she was pissed that she was being charged a fee for being lazy, not really for the fee itself.
3. The Republican Party. OK gang, listen up. How exactly are we expecting the American people to trust us to put up a presidential candidate if we can’t manage to get our own House in order? We’re the majority party. The election of a Speaker should be a foregone conclusion long before it ever gets talked about in the press. We’ve got the chance to put one of our own into what’s arguably the most powerful chair in legislative politics, but instead we’re showing the real life version of Dumb and Dumber. Do you imagine for a moment that Sam Rayburn or Tip O’Neill would have tolerated this level of jackassery from their members?