I ‘met’ someone recently who used to work in retail and I did my share of that too so I was reminiscing about my years ‘working with the public.’ I told him that I did my best. That’s all anyone can do. I found lots of expired merchandise in my “Health and Beauty Aids” department, which had to be brought to the office, written up in some way, and then carted to the stock room and disposed of. Amazing quantities of pain relievers and all sorts of products were on those shelves past their due dates. I cost the store money, yes. But there was some sort of message on the cornball name tags we all had to wear on our red smocks about customers being our main priority, so…wasn’t I doing my job? I also took longer to put prices on items than most people with my pricing gun, because as soon as the ink went dry I would rush to remedy that.
I’d been stuck at the register before, with barely legible SKU numbers (this was before checkouts had scanners for the UPC codes. I had to manually punch in every SKU number) so I wanted every number to be crisp and clean. Also, I took time putting those price tags on the products because I absolutely refused to place price stickers OVER important text. I would be instructed to price, let’s say fifty Tylenol bottles or twenty boxes with cough syrup in them… I would carefully check for a place on the item where I could place the price sticker, without concealing the name of the product or any pertinent information regarding how to administer it. Oh I wasn’t a perfect employee. I always got passed up for raises! My deficits fell short in other areas…but I would strive to do MY best, which looks different to some people.
Thank goodness I wasn’t a baker in days of olde Egypt. First of all, I should not be trusted anywhere near knives. Just the day before Easter (two days ago as of this writing) I lopped off the tip of my thumb but I digress but if I were alive way back then…when it was difficult getting loaves of bread a uniform weight, bakers often got caught selling loaves that just didn’t measure up. When that pissed off someone too many times, they’d actually nail the baker’s ear to the door for selling short loaves. Bakers feared this punishment so much and yet they just consistently turned out inconsistent loaves of bread, some long, some short. Perhaps their means of measuring and their crude Egyptian kitchens just prevented a better outcome. Anyway, the bakers ended up throwing in a free 13th loaf in every order to stave off the ear-cutting and appease the buyers who back then, ordered a dozen at a time. Thus the term ‘baker’s dozen,’ which has an eerie origin as it turns out.
(The threat of ) cutting off someone’s ear is an unscrupulous way to entice better service out of an entrepeneur. But people have always been unscrupulous and always will be. I have hope for people of course, blind weary hope that people will evolve past this type of behavior that pervades our race but it seems bleak. I recall reading about how corrupt the English courts were 100s of years ago. (Many might jest, ‘are they not still?’ 🙂 ) These men had no conscience. They were trying to attract the attention of lawyers and willing to give any false testimony whatsoever for the right amount of money. They hung around outside the courts with a piece of straw in their shoe, to indicate they’d be willing to do this; and sadly, many lawyers were more than happy to hire them when they saw that telltale straw in the “Strawman’s” shoe, and to feed them stories that probably implicated many an innocent man.
“Oh Diamond, Diamond, thou little knowest the damage thou hast done!”
These were the words of Sir Isaac Newton, after his dog Diamond tipped over a candle which started a fire that burned out of control and destroyed records…years of documents and scientific research.
The dog can be excused. Even Isaac knew that when he said, “Thou little knowest…” But people are supposed to know right from wrong. But they don’t. No matter their lot in life, their task, job, career, shouldn’t they be doing their best? The human machine backfires and hiccups so much. There is Bathos, and then there is Pathos. And all that is between. I am often walking on a tightrope in the middle.
There is no Panacea for ignorance although I do hope there is encoded in the DNA helix the anti-ignorance gene. And also the “be kind to others” gene. They’ll click on anytime now for future generations and we’ll all have hope for future generations; for this race in general. It could happen. So I think it is the brain’s unique and saving grace to be balancing there on the tightrope as I said between the Pathos and Bathos when too many horrific news items are in the face and reminding us how base people have always been and how in many ways have never evolved from that.
So from the tightrope I imagine today that if I were a tree I would be a loblolly pine which is southern and grows in mineral rich soil because I like the way the word sounds in my head when I say it to myself. LOBLOLLY. But I like Redwoods too…
bang! buzz! whizz! ker-plunk! bing! Onomotopeia is a luscious Greek word meaning to “make up a word that indicates a sound.” You know, like they did in early Batman TV episodes. It’s fun, try it today. If you are driving down the street and a huge semi truck whizzes by, make up a sound for the noise it makes.
“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” -Dr. Suess
Depression isn’t anything funny, I know that. People do blog about that, and they say “Don’t tell me to snap out of it.” I’m not minimizing clinical depression here. That should be taken seriously. I do believe people have always had it… Some early words (according to my research) for depression have turned up these weird ones that people used in everyday speech (because “depression,” as a word just wasn’t in the vocabulary):
Use one of those in a sentence! “Sally cannot attend Sunday service this morning, sir as she is at home attending to a severe case of the mulligrubs.”