Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Saturday Morning Cartoon Waiting to Happen

Last week I was walking to a meeting. It has been rainy out here, so everything was wet. I was walking up a hill and saw a banana peel right in the middle of the sidewalk. I thought to myself, "Well, there's a cliche if I ever saw one. I can just see someone stepping on that and, zip, right down the hill they go."

While walking back from a very frustrating meeting, I stepped on something slippery. ZIP! I almost went down the hill. I had stepped right on that banana peel, and somehow I avoided disaster. (I think my incredible good looks saved me. Or was it my massive intellect? Maybe my humility.)

If my back is bad now, can you imagine how bad it would have been if I had hit the deck?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Wedgie Is Coming Your Way, Pal

You would think that in a county of 10 million people, there would be one or two that are competent. Apparently not.

Granny and I live in Los Angeles County. More than one-quarter of the residents of the State of California live here with us. Most of those 10 million spend a considerable amount of time thinking up ways to annoy me, but the ones I am particularly upset with at the moment are the ones who are County employees. I am not a conservative “reduce the size of the government” disciple, but I am at the point where I would like to give wedgies to every single County executive as well as the idiots who helped them develop their employment policies.

Nearly a year ago, Granny was switching jobs from one airline to another. She would have been working in the same airport with roughly the same duties, but with better pay. She even had a two-week break between quitting the first job and beginning the second. But then, of course, the world decided to get crazy.

Just after Granny quit her first airline job, fuel prices were peaking and the economy was down on one knee. Most airlines, including the one that offered Granny her new job, established hiring freezes. Suddenly, she had no old job and no new job. But having no job means that you can stop paying bills, right? Wrong.

Granny started up a job search. She looked into every possibility. She sent out resumes by the truckload. She sat through more interviews than Barbara Walters. No luck.

Along the way, she discovered that Los Angeles County had a number of job openings. The County, however, because it enjoys messing with you, has a long, convoluted process to go through before they will even consider you. It included a series of skills tests. Granny dutifully took these tests and did very well. She was in the top rank. The entire process took at least a month, but the County said they would now forward their list of qualified applicants to departments who were hiring.

Another month or so passed. Eventually, Granny got a great job at a private company with excellent benefits and a wonderful working environment. Even more time passed. Finally, someone from the County left a message on our answering machine. “Granny, we’d like you to interview for a position.” That first call came at least three months after Granny began her job search. And that was just the beginning.

In the six months since that first call, Granny has received about four to eight calls and letters every single week from one County agency or another asking her to interview. I do not exaggerate. She has received more than 100 interview requests from Los Angeles County after she found a new job somewhere else.

The County’s long process guarantees they will get the bottom-of-the-barrel employees because the best candidates will find jobs well before the 2-month-long testing process is complete. The only people still available for a County job will be the ones who couldn’t already find work. Arrrgh!

Every evening when I come home and listen to the answering machine or sort the mail, I curse the idiots who run the Los Angeles County bureaucracy. I curse their children. I curse their pets. And someday, when they least expect it, they are all going to get really big wedgies.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Interview with the Granddaughter

As a special service to our readers, Old Before Our Time is pleased to present the Granddaughter’s first ever interview. The Granddaughter sat down in her favorite swing with a warm bottle and spoke with one of our senior editors, Gramps. She shared her perspective on life at 13 weeks, the inconveniences that come with being frickin’ adorable, and diapers.

OLDBOT: Thank you for taking the time to visit with me. I know you have a very busy schedule.

GD: You’re welcome. The pleasure is all mine.

OLDBOT: I’m sure you won’t be surprised at the number one question on everybody’s’ minds. How in the world did you get to be so frickin’ adorable?

GD: That’s an easy one. I just tell everybody that I take after my grandpa. [Gramps and the Granddaughter laugh.] Seriously, though, I think it’s in my genes. I haven’t really done anything to earn this level of cuteness.

OLDBOT: I’m sure that everyone wants to be cute, but is it really everything it’s cracked up to be?

GD: I’ve seen more than my share of ugly babies, and given the choice, I’d rather be cute. But you always have to watch out for the fans. People always want to pinch my cheeks or hold me or talk baby talk to me. Frankly, that’s the worst. If one more person says “cootchie, cootchie, coo” to me, I’m going to puke.

OLDBOT: How do you deal with it when it is just too much?

GD: Ironically, I’ve found that spitting up a little bit of curdled milk usually does the trick. If that fails, I’ll wail my head off. Sometimes the stench of a really messy diaper can drive people away. There are times, though, when I just have to take it. I don’t have the strength yet to fight anybody off.

OLDBOT: Is it true that your cheeks are delicious and they grow back at night after I eat them off?

GD: Yes, that is true. I have the most delicious cheeks, and I live for Gramps to nibble them off before bedtime.

OLDBOT: What’s the biggest surprise about life outside the womb?

GD: While I was inside, I really thought it would be the colors. I imagined that the world would have a striking array of visual stimuli…and it does…but the biggest surprise has been the food. We don’t really get to eat on the inside—you know, the umbilical cord and all—but out here, the food is great. It’s all warm and tasty in my mouth. That totally blew my mind.

OLDBOT: What do you enjoy when you have a little free time, when you’re not schmoozing with your fans?

GD: On any given day, I like to sleep. I sleep as much as I can. I’m trying to save all my energy for when I get a job and can pay back Granny and Gramps for all the great things they’ve done for me. I also like to eat, as I said.

Then there’s crying. Sometimes a good cry will satisfy me for hours. Don’t tell my mom, but sometimes I just cry to mess with her. I’m not hungry or tired or anything. I just want to see what she’ll do to get me to stop crying.

Oh yes, there’s also the pooping. God how I enjoy that. Just got to keep the bowels moving, eh?

OLDBOT: Speaking of pooping, how are you adjusting to diapers?

GD: As you know, Gramps, I didn’t have any on the inside. Didn’t need ‘em. I find they chafe a little at the end of a long day. I’d rather not have them at all, but I can’t seem to get Mom to agree to that. I just can’t wait for the day when I can take them off all by myself and leave long trails of poop down the hall.

OLDBOT: You may want to wait until you and your mom move out, don’t you think?

GD: Of course not. [Laughs.] Don’t want you to miss out on all the fun.

OLDBOT: Tell us, what else are you looking forward to as you grow up?

GD: It’s definitely the beer. If you’ve taught me anything, it’s that it is all about the beer.

OLDBOT: I’m impressed. You’re learning fast! Again, thank you for spending this time with me. It’s been one of the highlights of my career as a journalist.

GD: You’re not a journalist, Gramps.

OLDBOT: Oh, yes. Well, thank you anyway.