Thursday, January 04, 2007

I'd Love To Have A Beer With This Guy

I wish I wrote this. I remember the last table I bussed. I remember the last dish I washed. I remember lunch duty this afternoon. Teaching is the hardest kind of sales job that anyone will ever do. Students are the only consumer group that demand less for their money (ok... their parents tax money.) It pays less then picking up garbage. I know what it's like to work for a living and even though I think teaching is more politics and show business then education it still beats working for a living. Staying up until 4AM desperately trying to rewrite poorly written curriculum so that my students pay attention to me instead of turn my classroom into Lord of the Flies when they get bored is far more personally rewarding then any measly paycheck and that includes the .4% raise they're giving us for aught seven. The reward comes during that faint moment a week later when I see it in a students eyes that the knowledge I tried to give them in lecture just clicked in their minds during lab.

Lisa and I talked frequently about my dropping out of gradschool. We talked about what would come next. I didn't know where I would land or what I would do. The only thing I really wanted when I returned to New England was to drive to work in a warm car and never have to wait for a bus or the T in February. I've had a lifetimes worth of cold predawn mornings standing in driving sleet, waiting for public transportation that despite the trememdous draft and lack of heat still smells of tinkle and despair.

In America the trains never run on time. Mussolini may have been a fascist but dammit, his trains ran on time. So what does that say about a fascist who wants to shut the train service down? That he's not even as good of a scumbag that Mussolini was? I don't know so much about that. What I do know is what it's like to stand 20 minutes in the cold for a bus that's late, waiting for it to take me to a job I hate.

Instead of baking cookies for the camera or asking state gubernetorial candidates how they'll stop global warming we need to ask our potential leaders serious job interview questions so we can see how they think. We don't need to know not how well scripted their handlers can make them appear to be.

Here are the 3 questions I'd love to hear the ruling class answer unscripted. My answers follow in red.

When was the last time you walked out your front door 5 minutes late for work and discovered you had to scrape the ice off your windshield? This morning.

What was the name of the last grocery clerk that rang up your groceries? Katie.

How many keys are in your pocket right now? Nine keys and 8 supermarket cards.

Unfortunately for America the average response from our ruling class is:
"My garage is heated."

"I've never bought my own groceries" or "I haven't bought my own groceries since college why the hell would I remember the clerks name?"

"None, my driver carries the car keys and some black guy opens my door when I get home."

Then the black guy serves the potatos.

As for wacky job interview questions, my favorite is:
Youre in a boat with a rock, on a fresh-water lake. You throw the rock into the lake. With respect to the land, what happens to the level of the water in the lake goes up, goes down, stays the same?
The answer is goes down. Why is due to bouyancy. The mass of water displaced by the craft is the same as the mass of the boat and every thing in it. The rock goes out, the boat gets lighter and floats up which causes the water to lower in relation to the shoreline. Do not confuse the mass of the rock with the volume of the rock. Density and bouyancy are not unrelated concepts but they're not the same. I'd like to see George Bush try to answer that question.


Anonymous Adorable Girlfriend said...

Sadly, AG doesn't know the name of her grocery clerk either. AG does know Fay the bitch at Northwest Airlines is going to get in trouble for telling AG lies.

Great post! I too considered dropping out of graduate school. Glad I finished and I am onto my next degree.

Jan 4, 2007, 9:04:00 AM  
Blogger Bry said...

If I ever hit the lottery big, the first thing I will do after I realize it says $4Mil on my scratch ticket will be turn on my video camera. And begin my documentary on the rich, the poor, and the money in between.

My co-workers get paid shit and work either six or seven days a week. I will never respect any person more than I do my co-workers at my current job. I have learned a great deal from them. Most people wander through the store and never even notice them, unless there is something to complain about.

Mussolini sure as hell made the trains run on time. My Fiancee found letters from her Step-grandfather's trip around Europe and the Middle East in 1930 and one of the most impressive things they saw was Mussolini's Italy. They were amazed at what a tight ship he ran.

Wonderful link to a wonderful post, and a wonderful post yourself. I can't wait to see what happens when I teach.

I will never forget the kids that my Fiancee tutored in the skills of life, kids who had grandmothers working night shifts and older brothers in prison. When they went to her with questions they could ask no other adult, THAT was the most satisfying job she has ever experienced. Even if the pay sucked and her boss was an asshole. They see her on the street three years later and still swarm up to her with fresh questions: "Is it okay that I smoke pot every day? I feel kind of depressed" "I dropped out of high school but I think I want to fly helicopters, how should I do it?" These kids know how hard life is, and they have the will to keep trying.

The reason that The Game with Michael Douglas was so good was because it was about a rich guy losing all his security and being forced to face reality. I would love to have Bush & Co. play the Game.

Jan 5, 2007, 2:18:00 PM  
Blogger RicketyFunk said...

1. Bush (I'm not so sure about company) would shit his pants and then defer to someone else to bail his ass out.

2. I don't know the grocery store clerk's name either but that's because I don't generally look people in the eye (I've been called on this way too many times) and I'm sure as hell not going to take the time to notice thier nametag that corporate is forcing them to wear.

3. The ruling class? I don't know what it's like to live in New England but there ain't much of the "Jeeves buys the groceries for me. The Negro opens the door." round here. Whitefish Bay, maybe. The "wealthy" people I know aren't Wealthy. I live in the flyover zone.

4. I'm glad you understand the value of teaching. Imparting access (did I spell that right?) knowledge is the most important thing one can do.

Jan 7, 2007, 3:53:00 AM  
Blogger Dean ASC said...

No it's not the wealthy that keep house negros its those wealthy enough to go into politics who seem to enjoy such splendor.

Jan 11, 2007, 5:23:00 PM  

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