I recently had occasion to overhear someone referring to our state’s governor, Christine Gregoire, as “the scarecrow”. As it happens, it’s not the first time she’s been mistaken for a famous film character. Any resemblance? Well, you make up your own mind.
In this case, however, the context of the reference was as a description of a friend’s unemployment status. Collecting unemployment benefits, it seems, constituted “working for The Scarecrow”. Yeah, sort of funny.
But, now and again, humor just happens to reveal some deeper truths.
I’ll tell you a true story. I’ve worked for “The Scarecrow” once or twice myself. No, not Ms. Gregoire, but close enough for our purposes here.
Once, while still a college student, I was hired as part of three-man crew that was in charge of General’s furniture at the Air Force Logistics Command Headquarters. Our crew had a “deuce and a half”, a warehouse bay, a forklift, and a pristine set of refinished general’s office furniture: mahogany desk, leather executive swivel chair, credenza, leather couch, leather club chairs, etc. The whole swag.
Our mission: whenever a new general was assigned to HQ, we would instantly spring into action, picking up the out-going general’s furniture and replacing it with the spare set. In the meantime, we sat around on the spare set in the otherwise empty warehouse.
Truthfully, I just couldn’t take that job for long, though to my shame, I stayed nine months. Although I was being paid three times the minimum wage, I actually had a hard time justifying getting up out of bed to go to some warehouse and go back to sleep on a leather couch. So, eventually, I moved on to more honest labor. There were, of course, others that couldn’t see the problem.
I don’t mean to besmirch all of what government does or even the many fine, dedicated public servants that work for us. (The one’s who remember that particular nuance, at least.) It’s just that this sort of idiocy usually doesn’t usually last all that long in the private sector. In government, on the other hand, it often leads to a $100,000 salary and benefits that never, ever end.
More frightening (and to the point): as often as not, it leads to someone with a “head full of stuffin'” sitting at some desk “busy hatchin'” new ways to “help me”. Since this “help” usually ends up costing me increasing amounts of money, time, liberty, and peace of mind, this, I suspect is really, the essence of “working for The Scarecrow”.
I could wile away the hours
Conferrin’ with the flowers
Consultin’ with the rain
And my head I’d be scratchin’
While my thoughts were busy hatchin’
If I only had a brain
I’d unravel any riddle
For any individ’le
In trouble or in pain
With the thoughts you’d be thinkin’
You could be another Lincoln
If you only had a brain
Oh, I would tell you why
The ocean’s near the shore
I could think of things I never thunk before
And then I’d sit and think some more
I would not be just a nuffin’
My head all full of stuffin’
My heart all full of pain
I would dance and be merry
Life would be a ding-a-derry
If I only had a brain