A Bridge Too Scar: Whitewashing History
TriMet is the public agency that provides transportation services (commuter rail, light rail, bus and streetcar) for most of the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area.
That opening line just screams excitement, right? Stay with me, intrepid reader. We are embarking on a torrid journey of governmental lunacy and polishing turds. Remember, it’s important for us lowly idiots to know how things really work.
This organization really got on my radar recently during the naming process for a new bridge spanning the mighty piranha-filled Willamette River that’s currently under construction. Because, as we all know, the most important characteristic about a bridge is its name. This is followed closely by how many years of neglect it takes before it fails with lots of people on it. Let’s face it. Maintenance is not exactly humanity’s strong suit.
The TriMet decided to enlist the public’s help in naming the bridge. And that’s where things decidedly jumped the rails. And I’m here to tell you about it because, amazingly, their own official website has whitewashed the whole thing from history. It’s almost like it never happened…
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Where The Green Grass Lies
If there’s one thing I hate, it’s fucking deceitful grass. Especially when it lies like a snake in the … well, fuck it. You get the idea!
Advertising lies to us all day. We get it. We expect it. Show me a person who actually believes the messages contained in advertising and I’ll show you a poster child for brain bullet enemas.
We also expect it from people right to our face. Like strangers. No one’s surprised any more. Right? Certainly not me.
Even so, somehow, after I’ve been spoon fed the line of bullshit right to my face, sometimes even I still have the temerity to feign chagrin.
“Of course you need the layer of protectant sealant for the undercarriage coating.” This, and other members of the coatings family, are what eventually makes your car look like it has a peeling sunburn. And you paid extra for it. Ha ha ha!
“It only costs $5 per month to add a second line to your cell phone plan.” When the bill arrives, though, it’s $10 and when you call to point out their error, they call you the liar. That’s known as the icing on the cake. “Did you get it in writing?” they demand. I vowed that day that U.S. Cellular would eat my ass when my two years of indentured servitude were up and they still had the temerity to say, “How can we keep you as a customer?” when I called to cancel. Those are (almost) the moments that make life worth living.
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Staff Infection Meeting
I once quit a job over a staff meeting. True story. I’m sure it’s documented here on the blog somewhere, but long story short, they made us on the 6am crew stick around for a 5pm meeting. I asked, “Is it important?” Our managers assured us it was. “You have to be there,” they said.
The meeting started and the first item of business was rolling out birthday cake for our safety director. At 5-fucking-o-clock. It’s not like most of us would be consuming dinner any time soon.
Then, for the icing on the cake, the rest of the hour was consumed by our managers reading memos to us. Line-by-line. Word-by-word. Like we were in kindergarten or something. Memos that had previously been delivered to our inboxes. Memos I had already read on my very own. It was worse than an insult to our intelligence. It was calling us babies.
After the meeting I opted to go back to my desk rather than heading straight home. I sat there and wrote out a memorandum of my own. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. It’s a classic piece of Americana called the letter of resignation. I plopped that puppy on my manager’s desk and then called it day.
In another place and another time there was another staff meeting. This one involved the quintessential management tool known as the employee survey.
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Little Ducky Komen
If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.
Source: Wikipedia – Duck test
File this post under “E” for Editorial. Or Enema. I can’t remember which.
That duck quote is an oldie but a goodie, but there’s another verse that I added which unfortunately usually gets omitted. “And if you find yourself covered in duck guano you probably took duck verification a bit too far.” (Achievement: poop tag!)
There is a fable in Abyss land that goes something like this:
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A breath of fresh despair
Another year has passed me by, still I look at myself and cry, “What kind of man have I become?”
Next week I’ll have been at my new job for a whole year. Anyone who’s read my blog will know that the change from Job #2 to Job #3 (as numbered in the Decade of Despair*) didn’t quite go as well as I’d hoped.
Ever curious, I had a eye-opening thought. “Hey, thanks to the blog, I can go back in time and find my first mention about the new job. I wonder how long it took for me to get my feet wet then turn to the blog to vent?”
By now my rails against Job #3 have become so frequent my wife had to order me to limit them to once a week. But what was it like back in the beginning. Sometimes I tend to forget.
October 22, 2010: My last day at the Job #2. I celebrated with a post entitled “So Long, and Thanks for All the Pish.” Good times, good times. And one of my favorite Photoshops, too. Just look at me back then. All glowing and full – dare I say it? – optimism for the future because I was getting out of something bad. Oh, the heady days of yesteryear!
Exactly how long did that feeling last?
If I remember correctly, October 25, 2010, was my first day on the new job. The first sign of trouble was a mere four days later, still my first week at Job #3. Wow!
Even I am impressed by the epic fail of such a short period of time.
By that very Friday I celebrated with a post entitled, “This post is IN STOCK.” This humble missive griped about the rampant dishonesty and unethical business practices I found myself dealing with during a week that consisted mostly of sitting in a chair and watching my boss work on his computer. (That’s what he generously called his “training program.”)
Yes, the Universe didn’t waste any time in letting me know that the small business I’d just hitched my wagon was remarkably similar to Job #1 and Job #2 – only worse.
It made a perfect bookend to my personal journey through the Decade of Despair, a decade that began with the presidency of George W. Bush and me literally staring at Job #1 on Sept. 11, 2001. That particular date was necessary so I’d never forget exactly when it all started. Or my place.
Next week I celebrate a year at Job #3. Those wishing to express condolences can send them to my attention at the local funeral home with the giant Las Vegas-style sign.
* Decade of Despair. This is a term I coined to refer to the ten years starting on Sept. 11, 2001 and ending on Sept. 11, 2011. During this period of time I worked a series of three different ecommerce jobs where I was ostensibly hired for my webmaster skills yet primarily worked as a whore.