8. March, 2005 - not so fast, bucko

I thought I was nearly healthy again yesterday. I felt pretty good first thing in the morning, and got some work (both administrative and paying) done. Then lunch hit, and I crashed. My sore-throat, which is usually the last step on the way to feeling good again, came back with a vengeance, and I was flat out of energy. A nap helped, in that I remembered I was supposed to be getting a completed proposal out before the day was done, and managed to send an email saying Sorry. Sick. Maybe tomorrow. before calling it a day, but I was running at half-speed at best. That’s up from the weekend, but my immune system apparently needs some more time before declaring the foreign invaders vanquished. It’s a quagmire, I tell ya.

That article on Fake IDs reminded me of something I often forget. I live near a large University for a number of reasons, but one that I often end up taking for granted is that there are a lot of smart people around here.

When I stop to think about it, I remember that even a large University like the U of M has admissions standards, and filters out some percentage of people. While not everyone attending the U is a rocket scientist, I like to think the bell curve is a little higher in my neighborhood, even among the folks who are more “blue collar”.

Which leads me to an amusing story. There’s a new waitress at a bar I frequent. She had zero experience in any sort of food-service or customer-service industry before starting there. She seems reasonably smart, but everything about the job is new to her. Even more debilitating than her ignorance (which is curable), is her attitude that she’s smarter than everyone else (which means maybe it’s not curable). She’s forgotten what neighborhood she’s in. One night she was giving a friend of mine a hard time about something or other. He’s a bright guy who works with computers, but he doesn’t necessarily dress or act the part when hanging out at the local watering hole. When he asked her what she thought he did for a living, she figured he was a plumber, and she obviously didn’t think sticking pipes together was a “noble” profession. When she found out he was a “professional”, she did some backpedalling, but he’s not the only customer she’s alienated, and her tips have been reflecting that.

I generally try to treat people with respect, at least until they’ve proven they don’t deserve it. You never know, you might just be dealing with someone smarter than you expect. And that leads me to one of the reasons I oppose most of the top-down solutions to perceived problems like Real I.D. That kind of solution doesn’t respect either the citizens, who are going to have to live with it, or the terrorists, who might just have a smart cookie or two capable of making a good fake. In fact, I find myself wondering whether the whole law of unintended consequences is due to such a lack of respect. That article points out the five sources of unintended consequences are: ignorance, error, ignoring unintended effects, basic values, and self-defeating predictions. I’d say that at least three of those stem from a lack of respect for the governed. We can’t stiff our legislators on their tips (they’ve seen to that), but I hope that we can at least throw a few of the more arrogant out on their, umm, ears.

Copyright 2009, Dave Polaschek. Last updated on Mon, 15 Feb 2010 13:58:32.