Saturday, December 26, 2009

Fighting useless battles is a waste of time

effort and resources.

Many battles do not even have to be fought because things change, and change fast.

I liked watching the Battle of the TWIC cards.

After 9-11, the authorities, in their infinite wisdom, decided that nothing would do but that all transportation workers were issued a special ID card identifying them as transportation workers. Truth be know, it's just another government crock of shit. The only people that think it's important are the people who make the TWIC cards because it created a payday for them.

As a seaman, I am already required to have various forms if ID, the mosst commonly known one is a Merchant Mariner's Document, often called a Z-Card. These are issued by the Coast Guard.

I got mine so I could sail on Noah's Ark.

These Z-Cards generally require an FBI background check, and so do the TWIC cards, making them a doubly needless item, but the Feds insisted. The rules were made, the price set at $135. The rules were made and immediately cut into stone.

It became an absolute. carved deeply into stone. It simply became an 'If/Then' equation.

IF you don't hava a TWIC by this date, THEN you can't work.

Now, let's get this straight. The day was carved in stone, the company told ALL of its employees that the card was required under Federal law, no exceptions. Fair enough, the company isn't in the business of making laws, they simply obey them and require employees to do likewise.

On top of that, the company also generously told all employees to save their reciepts, as they would be reimbursed. In effect, these TWIC cards became a freebie. The only out of pocket expenses for the damned things would be a little gas, wear and tear on the employees vehicle and maybe a buck's worth of postage. Hooah!

Of course, there were a stalwart few that held out, protesting the entire time. Most of these guys caved in, but there were a few holdouts.

When the big day arrived, it was duly noted that these scant few holdouts were not permitted to come back to work until they had their cards.

Their look of astonishment was a sight to behold. They moaned, wailed and gnashed their teeth.

I listened to some of it, and when a management type shook his head and said something to me, I got a dirty look coupled with a smirk for suggesting to him that the company buy them tickets to the Old City of Jerusalem so they could be facing the Wailing Wall.

The truth is, one of these guys tried griping to me and I flat out told him that the company was being generous by letting them return to work after they got their cards. I told one that I would have out and out fired him. He gave me an astonished look and asked me if I thought that not having the card should really be a firing offense.

That's when I told him that I wouldn't can him for not having a TWIC card, I'd fire him for being stupid. He howled at the injustice and stomped off.

This is a pretty good job. A guy working out here can afford a decent place to live in a decent neighborhood, own a decent vehicle, raise a couple, three kids and have Mom stay home at least until the youngest is in school and still have enough to put away for at least a good portion of the kids education.

And some idiot is willing to flush it down the crapper because he is either too lazy or too stupid to get off his ass for a couple of hours to go and fill out a form?

I don't get it. It simply does not make sense.

I could see not getting one if there was some type of a bona fide, organized protest of some sort that would actually accomplish something, although I can't say that I would (or would not) be a part of it, at least there would be some sort of point to that.

On the other hand, there was no real outcry, just a bunch of whiny bellyaching on an individual basis.

I, of course, saw the writing on the wall and simply got the card and shut up about it because I knew the outcome beforehand. Besides, I look stupid in a pencil-thin moustache, I can't find my sword anymore and at 58 I am too old to be swinging across a room on a chandelier gracefully, although I still can.

It simply was a battle I was unwilling to fight. I had little to win, and too damned much to lose.

Yes, it was an aggravation. Yes, I had to get off my ass and drive an automobile for 10 miles and yes I had to fill out a form and wait a couple of weeks and go back another 10 miles to pick up the card and yes, it was 10 miles, uphill both ways, and yes, I was carrying a goddamned tuba.

Last but not least, yes, it was more damned idiotic government meddling.

So what did I do?

I simply got the damned thing and shut up about it.

There was no use in wasting time, effort and resources fighting a useless battle.

I'm simply saving my energy for the next election and going to try and vote the bums out.

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