On Essential Personnel – Religion and Politics

I did something last night that I would pretty much never do by choice. I bought yet another television. Why? Suffice it to say I have progeny who do a fine job of destroying things.

After the grand unboxing of the cheap, relatively nondescript item in question, I set about making it function. It was (and is) a “smart device,” among other things.  That means it “mooches off” one or another existing Internet connection.

So I set about trying to get it to “see” a connection, only to find it would not navigate menus.

Like most folks, after a bit of messing about with the problem, I started to contact technical support for the product, but in the course of time, I realized what was happening and I was able to “fix the issue” and move on without their help.

People familiar with my “writing style” (such as it is), know that lots of times, they will find themselves wondering how my ramblings will ultimately align with the subject of the piece. This is no exception.

To throw yet another wrench into the works, allow me to explain that, when I tell people what I “do for a living,” I’m prone to tell them, “People pay me to be confused for them.”

This relates to my statement about my recent acquisition, because I’m well used to “being confused” and “working my way out of” that  confusion. That’s pretty much exactly what I did, figuring out my “navigation issue.”

My penchant for puzzles means that people are often willing to both hire me, and pay me relatively well for what I do. A part of that is also working in things about which (at least behind the scenes) they care enough to keep me working. Put another way, I tend to use my “conundrum unravelling skills” to do things people really want done. I have—as they say—a set of “relatively highly marketable skills.”

You might think that makes me “essential personnel.” The reality is though, the second budgets are tight, they start looking at who will be laid off, and believe it or not, I’m relatively high on the list.

So am I “essential?” You decide! Based on what I just said though, I would think most folks would come to the conclusion I’m not. I bring this up for one rather simple reason. I want folks to know that, when I deem others non-essential in my view, I’m not “throwing them into a camp” I don’t “live in” every bit as much as those folks I’m discussing.

Another “fun fact” about me, is that I’m definitely not “getting any younger.” Put simply, I’m getting old (I’m over fifty).

One of the benefits of living even a fairly long life (folks have lived to be twice my age, so I’m not considered all that old, but I’m surely getting there), is that you see things that your children, and even many younger adults have not seen.

I readily recall a time when one didn’t have to be so careful about cars on relatively-quiet streets as to constantly be “watching one’s back.”

I can also recollect a time when even television (much less, various forms of “on-demand streaming”) wasn’t really the center of most folks’ life. The horror! That I would even say such a thing!

I remember too, when there was less urban and even suburban “sprawl.” When the distinction between cities in even pretty major metropolitan areas was a good deal easier to see.

Finally, sight of the past allows me to harken back to a time when restaurants were much  fewer and farther between than in the modern day.

Oh, McDonald’s, for example, existed, but I didn’t actually sit in one that I recall, until I was eighteen or nineteen years old. Yes, you heard that correctly, I never really paid attention to McDonald’s until I was basically out of my teenage years or at least, very close thereto.

As is often the case, at this point, you may be questioning the relevance of this revelation.

The point here is, with a little over fifty years of life under my belt, so to speak, I can remember a time when dinnertime meant going home and someone cooking. And not just now and then, or even most of the time, but almost every night.

Armed with this knowledge, you may now be wondering just how “essential” workers at McDonald’s truly are. Yet, even in a time when “stay at home” is the present expectation, I can drive up to my local (or not-so-local) burger joint (or other fast food), yell my order into the little “speaker” and fly through and pick it up (if I don’t order online).

My point should be obvious. Using the fact that people are “at work” to indicate they are “essential” is just a bit far-fetched if Burger King employees are still at the job site.

The fact is, there are very few people who are actually “essential” where work is concerned. Street sweepers? Not so much! CEOs? Not really! Fast food workers? Nope. Department store employees? Again, no. Here’s where it gets painful for me personally. Software Developers? Absolutely not!

I could do this a while and if I held your feet to the fire, you would have to agree with me.

For the last few months, we have been talking about a “pandemic.” The fact is though, it’s not been serious enough to keep workers who cannot work from home, from going to their jobs—at least far from completely so.

The “cherry on top?” Even with these really pretty much non-essential people at work, and folks regularly using their services, the resultant spread of the virus in question is negligible. Obviously, no sensible human wants to see anyone else get ill much less die. The numbers though, speak for themselves.

Before you go crying about how these folks are “essential workers, you can tell because they’re at work in the present environment,” or how they’re “held hostage” (when they could quit their jobs or refuse to report to work if they chose to. You might want to consider what I’ve said here.

The reality is, they’re at work because people want them there, and frankly, because they want the paycheck.

One more thought, if things were so terrible, who on Earth would be willing to go to a job rather than stay out of the fray, paycheck aside? Is the paycheck worth your life?

Just because the news media, and maybe your friends and relatives, decry the current situation, doesn’t mean it’s what everyone is saying it is.

Okay, thanks for having read, and may your time be good.

2 responses to “On Essential Personnel – Religion and Politics”

  1. This was brilliantly written by an astute citizen of America. Thank you for being a great American.

    • I think you may be overstating the case. I would never pretend to be a great individual of any type. I know that’s not entirely my decision to make though.

      Having said that, as I said when we interacted on social media, I hope that I can start a conversation with what I write. In so doing, it is my fervent hope that either others, I, or both will learn something and come closer together as a result.

      That having been said, thanks again for your “vote of confidence.”

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