Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hail, Great Leader! Mop Faster!

© 2008 Stan Spire

A photo in the local (news)paper: two visiting students from China mopping a floor in a building owned by a community service organization, free of charge.

What was the occasion? These students and others were participating in “Leadership Day,” a special program sponsored by local colleges to give leadership skills and experience that the students could take back to their country.

So what does mopping floors as an unpaid volunteer have to do with leading others? Maybe someone got “leader” mixed up with “coolie.” With the economy being so bad, you gotta make do with what you’ve got. Calling janitor work a “leadership skill” fits the bill – a bill of goods, that is.

After all the years I worked as a janitor, I should be qualified to be US president. (But I’m probably disqualified because I was paid minimum wage.)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Grapes of Wreath

© 2009 Stan Spire

How sad. They removed the Xmas wreaths from the lampposts in downtown Plattsburgh.

About every other lamppost had been adorned with a green wreath with tiny white lights. You would think that with the city whining about its dire budget shortfall, it would’ve saved some time and money by not putting them up. A gas-guzzling utility truck with a cherry picker had to go from each designated lamppost to affix and later take down each wreath.

But to make money you have to spend money. The wreaths were a great success, drawing crowds away from the mall. People came downtown to walk around and greatly admire each wreath. They oohed and aahed. (Except the French Canadians: they went “ooh-la-la.”)

And while they were downtown, the crowds would spend money at many outstanding establishments in the area, such as the used bookstore and the bars and the coffeehouse and the bars and – well, the bars.

Unfortunately problems ensued. During the daytime wreathophiles couldn’t find a place to park. They kept driving in circles, waiting for a spot to open up. And since they were used to the free unlimited parking at the mall, they were shocked to find parking tickets on their vehicles after two short hours.

At nighttime when the wreaths were in their nocturnal glory, parents with their children had to explain why a shabbily dressed man reeking of alcohol was staggering around, shouting obscenities. They told their innocent young ones that the man had a “medical problem.”

But the crowds did generate some money, especially from the parking tickets.

And isn't that what the holiday$ are all about?