(Stinkin’ Badges Part Two)
The train is now hitting the west coast for a visit
with Dad and a day spent with Olympic hopefuls. A parenting lesson from Washington State.
Near Seattle. The Goodwill
We had been waiting our whole lives for
this opportunity, although we had not realized it. We had unknowingly
practiced, and rehearsed, but it was the surprise of when the moment presented itself
that made it work so perfectly in our favor.
I call it, "spontaneous choreography".
My Father Stephen taught my sister and I many great
lessons. Perhaps not the lessons your
father taught you, but important, life altering lessons none the less. On this day, the lesson was not “how to sneak into the goodwill games”, for sneaking would prove necessary. This was the goodwill games, and we were here with a good will to see Carl
Lewis, the best sprinter ever. Opportunities are presented everywhere and
lessons can be learned anywhere in Mesonoxia.
With this one, we’ll be washing-tons of stinkin’ badges.
The lesson here was about a
different kind of honesty, but it was also about discipline, confidence, and
conviction. People believe damn near anything you say if you believe it when you're saying it. For evidence of this watch the hidden camera magic TV show, "The Carbonaro Effect." You'll see people accept the most absurd explanations for how products work and many other scenarios, not so much because of Michael Carbonaro's magic, which is brilliant, but even more so because of his salesmanship and poker face.
When I was a youth, the line “Badges, we don’t
need no stinkin' badges”, from the
movie, “Blazing Saddles”, or Cheech & Chong was a family favorite. Its application
was nearly universal for us, albeit a bit altered for every day conversations. We could be heard frequently uttering slight
variations of this line in any number of random circumstances. For example...
did you bring your bathing suit?” my father
suit? We don’t need no stinkin’
would come the reply.
on your seat belt on Kyra.”
belt? We don’t need no…”
After awhile we don’t need to even complete the sentence.
“Sentence?” We don’t need to complete the thought. Us? Why we don’t
need none of it.
Your family has things like this as
well I am sure. Little phrases, only
spoken in front of one another, or perhaps only with the full umpf in them, when
you are alone with each other. At times
you may be embarrassed to repeat them in front of others. That is if you do it in front of others at
all, but I know what you do. We all do
Anyway, on this day, we just weren’t expecting it.
We thought surely someone might ask us for tickets, a pass, or
identification maybe, but badges?
I was walking along the fence outside the venue until I found a
great spot where I recall a ladybug in a child's imagination inviting me to enter. I was young and thin and slid through. My Sister and Father couldn’t very well let me wander off by myself so they had to jump
the fence and catch up to me. We didn’t steal anything.
We simply avoided an obstacle in our path. We walked a straight line from point A to
point B. Our intentions were now quite
simple as the bleachers were within our view, we should probably sit down, and
if there is a show to watch, we watch it.
It’s not so much a plan, as an unfolding dharma. We are honoring the path in front of us. No one on our path had yet to ask us for
anything and we hadn't asked
them either. It wasn't that we needed to sneak in; it was more like this
is where we are. If anyone comes to talk
to us, they’ll either be happy they did, or they’ll live to regret it, but either way, paying for badges or
entrance fees was not something we were avoiding, the idea simply hadn't occurred to us.
A frequently overlooked idea presented throughout this book, is that there is a big difference after all, between being against an something versus the absence of that something occurring to you. "With us or against us" is a commonly encountered false dichotomy fallacy. Should someone bring something up, it will be
considered at that time. Should it not
appeal to you, it doesn't mean you
are picketing against it. It doesn’t mean you hate the idea. You might hate it. Ordinarily for us however, ideas were denied
simply because they lacked whatever the ingredients were necessary to inspire
us to action. If someone were to come up
to us with a silver tray of hours de voirs, we may eat one, or we may
pass. On this day, I’d say we chose to pass, but in fact there was no
proposition yet to pass on.
I recall there were always good
reasons on deck, in the event someone did ask us for something. “The
sunglasses? What sunglasses? The ones on my head? Oh would you look at that, I must have… Sure you
can have them, take them. In fact, I
hadn‘t been attached to them at all. In fact I didn't even know I had them really. I just kind of tried them on in the store and,
oh ho-gollygee willickers whaty’a know? I must have just walked out the store. How absent minded of me!” My father even had this character, Tommy Twit-head
who distracted us children and made us laugh each time he/we pulled a maneuver
that was somewhat suspect. “Ut oh, Tommy Twit-head is here, oh no - don’t know what I’m
doing, drive thru the exit oh oh oh”.
People asking us for things, or pestering us as we called it, didn’t happen very all that often. Thieves we were not, and don’t you dare impugn our integrity. Sometimes we simply felt charitable. Other times, like this day, we simply had not considered what others had not considered not considering.
On this day, if pressed, I’m sure we just had a hard time finding the
entrance, what with all this commotion, and my needing to use a restroom
immediately. When the young man came
over however, with his shorts, visor, and badge along with belief in it's importance, he
was expecting us to consider what was important only to him. He didn't know who we were.
me, excuse me Sir? Sir...” he
Mister. With the two kids, black cap... Pardon
Jogging now, “Sir, Sir. 'Scuse me Sir do you have your badges?”
“WHAT... in the holy fuck hell did he just say?” hit my
Dad, Sister and I all at the same moment. We turn to him; look at him for just a moment
before we all burst out laughing uncontrollably.
father exclaimed in a much higher than normal tone of voice, delighted and
exasperated. We all then laughed even
harder. We stood just bawling at the man
for a good 8-10 seconds before my sister finally composed herself enough to
be the one to say it.
DON’EED NO... ET ET AH AH AH…STINKIN' BADGES!” she
forced through a most demented cackle with an exhausted relief.
The man looked on, a bit dazed, bewildered,
and all he could muster in response was, “Well, I…”
two of them looked at each other again, started cackling once more and then walked off. It was the first time I’d seen two people stumbling confidently, and all while still cracking up but not for a moment, a
stride, at any point giving off any indication other than we must
have really been someone important.
that’s good”, my
father’s voice could be heard saying lightly under the
winding down hysterics.
You see for us, it was the fact that
he said the word “badges” of course. For him
however, it was our genuine and simultaneous laughter that blew his
mind. There was no way for him to discern a difference. There was no
distinction. To him, because of the
place from which he asked the question, it was obvious that we were laughing at
the proposition of our needing badges.
The word became the flesh. The
look of authentic shock and surprise on our faces, along with the genuine glee of our
laughter, at that moment became identical to our really, truthfully, honestly not
needing any stinking badges.
I being the youngest, around 10
years old, remember feeling just a bit of pity for the man, but not enough to
prevent me from closing the show. I
looked back at him, trailing behind my sister and Father who were both in full
stride and steam ahead, still chuckling.
I took off my over-sized Oakley brand sunglasses, and looked up at him shaking my
head. Squinting out of one eye with the sun in my face, as I muttered the word, “idiot”
under my breath but just loud enough for him to hear me and stressing the
id like “Idiot,
don’t you even know who we are?”
Don’t need any
And neither do you.
What the heck kind of question is that?
I just frickin' told you.
WE DON’T NEED
NO STINKIN’ BADGES
(Also sung to the tune of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”
- Doon anoot doont doont)
Fast forward a decade and a half or so later. A prospective employer needs
to fill a mid level management position. The position calls for someone
trustworthy and reliable to manage the appointments and medical needs of
several dozen people in a homelike health care setting. The position comes with
good deal of responsibility as the new manager will be hiring and training entry
level $8-10/hour employees to dispense controlled medication to the mentally ill.
The new manager will have complete
unsupervised access to several facilities, the keys to all the controlled
medication cabinets, and oversight over all the records. The employer needs to
minimize the risk of abuse and/or neglect and foster a healthy, homelike
environment characterized by stability and efficiency. We have (at least) two candidates for
year old with a Master's degree in Behavioral Psychology from a good school.
year old with a G.E.D. and two felony convictions for drug trafficking.
Who should get the job?
This, is a
Meaning, if you don’t use your brain, the conclusion is
predetermined. But let’s see what happens when we take a hit of the
Mesonoxia. As the gnoxious fumes begin
breaking down , the environment, composite parts begin separating. You see, it was pre-2012. We didn’t
yet, though we may soon, live in a world where numerical values, and the labels
they are assigned to, completely write the outcomes of our existence. You
understand I am sure, like extending or declining a line of credit or a
mortgage based solely on numbers and the labels that accompany them, rather than a
human touch, an aware ingredient and judgment.
Humans are prone to errors, but robots are better right? Robots don’t
get tired, or emotional. They aren't vulnerable to a look in the eye. A robot wouldn’t
have allowed us to just laugh our way into the park. With robots, you don’t need an expert, a whole thinker, an alive
process, the antithesis of a robot. We
are talking about the opposite of “psy.c.h.o.-score” and the massive amount of collateral damage, sin,
suffering, this and things like this have created.
Our society is clinging to life. The eclectic, complex, randomly unfolding,
variant, intuitive, and alive part of this grand experiment is rapidly deteriorating.
In this real life scenario however,
Candidate B cracks open the Mez and the vapors reach their target. Candidate B,
the felon is hired as the obvious choice, which ends up being the
right choice for the employer on many levels.
Well hang on now...
Candidate B, the
"un"certified Mesonoxious Operator, had mighty unfair
advantages over candidate A. You see the
blemishes and detriments to Candidate B, when sprinkled with or dipped in the
true Mesonoxia become his greatest strengths. The delivery method was irrelevant, so a
felon could administer it to a doctor.
Just imagine what you could do with it.
is how it worked.
"It's a peculiar kind of memory
that only works backwards"
- Lewis Carroll
Through the Looking Glass and what Alice Found There.
Candidate B was several moves ahead
of both Candidate A and the prospective employer in this real life chess game. Candidate B had already held
similar positions twice prior. He had
letters of recommendation and awards for performance from two previous
employers. The previous employers had similarly selected this candidate over
other qualified applicants despite his criminal convictions. The previous employers must
have known something to put their own jobs on the line. There must have
been absolutely zero questions in their mind pertaining to Candidate B's
trustworthiness. But don’t just take their word for it, Candidate B, has his
M.O. from a knocked out school. And he
better. I mean, he would have to have
had something super effective in the arsenal to get the nod, especially in
a poor economy with loads of competition for the job.
B was able to poignantly and persuasively make the following argument,
1. The two previous employers would've had a much riskier proposition than any new
prospective employer of this applicant as today we are much further removedchronologically
from the blemishes.
2. Who is more likely to use the new position as a
"stepping stone"? Candidate A
and others like him who have advanced degrees and will be perpetually exploring
other options? Or B, the one grateful to
get the job?
Well that‘s true I suppose but…
3. Who would have to work harder and be more
efficient, effective and productive to warrant their salary or increases, the one
with the Masters Degree or the G.E.D.?
big puzzler there. Rubix cube!
4. Who is actually less likely to abuse their
authority do you think? The one who is squeaky clean
or the one who everyone would look to first as the obvious abuser?
That’s actually kind of a tough one I'd reckon.
5. Who would actually have more to lose from abuse or
neglect (stealing the medication for example) - the Master’s level who has never had a run in with the law and
still the possibility for leniency if ever in trouble? (nothing wrong with that).
The one who already has two strikes, has gone that
trip and rebounded from it - to the tune of a near decade of impeccable service
via 80+/hour weeks, while being “Employee of the Year” at
competing agencies simultaneously?
Well, at first glance Alice wasn’t
sure that proved it at all
but when really thinking about it, definitely wasn‘t as
certain as before...
6. Who is more likely to be able to spot abuse,
detect and weed out miscreant employees? Is it the person who has had no experience
with such people, or the one who was once one of them and has successfully
recovered from it?
Hadn’t even consider that but, we gotta give candidate A
of them, right?
Maybe, but that one ain't it.
7. Who is likely to be a better manager and motivator
of lower paid employees?
out of time...
8. Who is more likely to inspire those employees to
optimistic efforts, where aspirations of management for themselves, and in
turn, better results, derive from?
the best one, ready for this?
9. As the employer or manager doing the hiring; which candidate Is less likely
to steal your job in the future? (Oh it matters.)
And of course,
Last one, multiple choice:
Why have the others...
all? …with much more to lose
new prospective employer
made the decision for ‘B’
all, and rave about him?
How could you possibly go wrong?
Yeah, both make sense, didn’t think I’d be
saying it but
I think I’d go
with Choice B.
PROVE THE CASE,
The blemishes are B’s
best attributes when articulated correctly because he has started from a
negative, traveled a further road. Let’s say you are a football coach picking from two options to be
your running back. One put up 2,000 yards last year in college, while another ran 2,000 yards in the pros.
One has pro experience, and is younger, but just skipped college. The pro, had also ran those yards that year
on an injured leg. Let’s even grant the idea that college and pro
experience is wash, and the 2,000 yards makes them even.
But say the one with the injured leg, now has the leg back, who would you
bet on? If he could do it with the
setback, certainly now, the fact of the setback is the greatest indicator you
have for who is most likely to perform better. Duh.
Candidate A is supposedto
have done all this already. He has the accolades
after all. He had two good legs to stand
on. But he’s
not prepared. In fact, he’s eight years behind knowing how to actually do anything. He hasn’t been in any real pro games. “B” we know has to be exceptional to even be given the
shot if playing injured, never mind proving exceptional later.
Now as we expand the idea, imagine if the risks are further removed. Like if the position being applied for was
actually much less pertinently related to the crimes. Suppose it had been a kicker with an injured
arm. Also throw in
the fact that Candidate B actually interviews better, has a clearer command of
what is requiredand can articulate it.
Reduce it to the absurd.
You can be a person with a setback. Or…
You can be the person who has already
made that setback irrelevant in places where it should be much more important
or related to whatever the situation is you are currently attempting to grace
with your presence. If you are
the truth, you don't have to "pull it off".
You command it.
But why only two candidates, or three, or even four?
In reality, that is often all the
prospective employer had time for that day. Three or four.
There were actually dozens of candidates, but they weren't invited in. Why? They
didn't command attention. Candidate B
did. Candidate B was the Meson Orator.
Well versed in many a subject, he had a firm command of copywriting, (not to be
confused with copyrighting) and used it to put together a unique, captivating,
hypnotic cover letter. He sent several
of them. Some offended people. Some sparked curiosity. Instead of trying to do things incrementally,
just a smidge better than everyone else in a sea of millions, why not stand out
as someone wildly different? The thing
is, even if you offend nine out of ten, you don’t
need nine out of ten, you need one job, that you’ll eventually use to get a better one job. After you’ve
had a couple good ones, you’re in. No one cares anymore.
You may say appropriately however, that this doesn't explain how he got the first job, which is what this whole argument is based upon. That was accomplished with hard work, doing a job for less money. You use what you have to your advantage. You scout out places with high turnover, prospect weak or frequently changing management positions and get underneath those even if it means less pay now. As discussed in Part A, "Mez-Un-Certified", it costs a whole lot less than six years of tuition, room and board as well as all the income lost from the hours, I promise you that. You may have to take a position in an agency that pays less just to get the notch on your resume. You need strategy.
Sometimes you need to climb your way in. Many people however, just never try because they think one job is beneath them or the one above it they will never get. But there is always a way. At one point I purposefully went and worked for a competing agency who was stealing many of our employees, just to make the first one want to return the favor, and each time, climb a little bit. You have to be competent, hard working, produce results, and then sly and crafty on top of it. But if you are, and many people who have blemishes to their record are, never accept that these prerequisites are set in stone. They aren't. Half the time the employer doesn't even know what they need or are looking for. Half the time, they are hiring you because the last guy couldn't do the job. It is your job to sell them on why your background, whatever it may be is the perfect fit. If it can be done with a GED and a criminal record while riding the bus between four towns, it can most certainly be done with a High School diploma, an Associates degree, or "some college" and a D.U.I.
While Candidate A was paying to study
the functions of the job, Candidate B was being paid to do it. While candidate
A was being told what employers look for, candidate B was familiarizing himself
with eclectic interests so that during the interview, was able to glance at
familiar books on the employer's shelves, notice pictures on the employer's
desk taken in places he'd been. He
struck at emotional chords. He had been
a salesman and platform speaker. He knew
what actually sells. He knew what was
actually important to the employer and choreographed the effects he wished to
create. He does a different type of research
for the position. He/she/you will have
better tools, tactics and strategies.
You are becoming a meson operator.
You don't climb ladders.
You leap frog. You don't need to
get a lot coming in. You'll get what you
are worth before you’re
gone. You are confident. You don't apologize for short comings; just
make them irrelevant, or better, an asset.
So we are clear, this is not a
story of the wrong man getting the job after all. This isn’t a
“But how?” you
may ask. “How
could a felon actually be much better prepared to be the Project Director than
other candidates who worked in the field, and also had a solid education to
only a stretch when you haven’t examined
the totality of the situation. Operating
a criminal enterprise, albeit a small one (12-20 people at a time) for a number
of years, by itself, doesn't look real good on a resume. No one is suggesting you do so. Added to an impressive
list of noble and noteworthy achievements later however, when critically analyzed,
encompasses all of the qualities that the work world seeks. Chutzpah.
Being able to think on your feet.
Life or death decisions made on the spot, if not literally, than of near
equal weight and gravity. Think for a moment about a
person, who has to be on call, and on point, 24/7, 365, 3,650, ad infinity
dealing with unscrupulous, often incompetent and untrustworthy accomplices and associates under
the detection of the full time, fully armed and resourced, local, county, state
and federal authorities. Moving across
state lines, having to pitch a no-hitter every day, forever. His competition and nemeses are all incessantly
gunning for him. They need to get lucky
with a mere bunt anywhere during the year to throw off his whole world. And if they hit a homer, or a grand slam,
life is over.
If you really think about the job description, it
is pretty easy to see why someone like that would later make a great
Coordinator, Project Director, and Crisis Management Trainer. It’s
a lot of the same skill set without a tenth of the stakes, but entails the often
similar drama and needed collectedness, or poise.
A skill to function under extreme pressure while keeping it all moving
must be present. Damage control,
authority, creative thinking, resource management, and a poker face, inspiring
confidence upward, downward, and laterally, are all skills you’d need for both.
I understand, sometimes thinking outside the box is pretty outside your
normal box. But get used to it, the more we learn to trust our reasoning skills and dividing to infinity, the
better world we create for everyone.
I wouldn't have spoken or written like this a year after my convictions. I certainly do not want to belabor the past. It isn't like I think about these things frequently as I have moved on. It is just a part of this book and I am not in a place currently where this poses me much professional risk. I do want to inspire others if in similar circumstance. With enough time in between, and the
older you get, you start to understand that all experience is valuable that has
impact and pertinent relevance to a situation.
Automatically discarding a piece of your biography or renouncing it as
worthless is basically discarding the equity of your experience, because
others say it isn't government certified. It gives the
certifiers an unfair and unwarranted leg up in the marketplace. It gives your competition a monopoly on how
to frame the argument. The truth
is quite often however, that they have ZERO experience that can hold a candle to what you
have, or have been through.
Given the right platform, we will know who is the
most competent. But if some aren't allowed up to the plate, it stands to reason
their numbers won’t look nearly
as good. We have a society that is real
good at moving the rebels and renegades into an arena of impotence. Don’t
think this isn't intentional.
When we watch crime shows we often
lament, “Gee, for how complicated, risky, and demanding the
whole operation was, and for how much skill, discipline, and ingenuity was
required to operate at a high level for a long period of time, you’d think these criminals would understand that they
have what it takes to function in the legal world and prosper.” Candidate B
came to that realization before it was too late. And he has diligent and intelligent
authorities to thank for it, which he does, with genuine, non-sarcastic
Christmas cards, and anniversary dates, to this day.
I, Candidate B do not break the law today. But likewise, I’m not
seeking an expungement. I enjoy being
the example. I wear it proudly. With an expungement, you may be inclined to mistake
me for candidate A. We would then be
adding to the collateral inefficiency.
No, all experience can be valuable. Also, that value often extends beyond the tired cliché of “learning
your lesson”. Candidate
B’s can and have excelled where others have failed
when, if and because they aren’t satisfied
to give up those years of their life, twice.
I later worked myself out of the
job. Like any good therapist,
consultant, spiritual guru or practice, it extinguishes itself. Candidate B was a kindling stick that stirred
up the fire, and when it blazed the stick went in to the fire. I systematized the operation and trained others to work the system. The company saved money. Not just in an efficient operation, but also
in my salary, which later they were no longer paying. They could afford to give the other employees
raises. The organization, the clients,
and the employees were all better off. Everyone won.
In an example you will read later in this book
titled “Political Con-Coctions”, I knew of a guy in a similar situation where one company who wouldn’t
hire him because of his felony convictions and was a large corporation which had at the time a bad rating with the
Better Business Bureau. Another outfit that gave him a shot was a smaller company with an “A+” rating. The
organization who denied him, wound up folding their sales operations up
that year, while the smaller one had a banner year. I’m
not suggesting that having the top salesman from the competition would have explicitly
or directly prevented the one company from shutting down that facility. It was undoubtedly however, one more losing condition
in a very impersonal, losing recipe. The
corporation with the “F” was probably conscious of it. So like (as Dan Kennedy calls them) “Big dumb companies” do,
they implemented a blanket policy to deal with it that actually made things
When paying attention, you start to see this
self-fulfilling misery everywhere. There
is nothing meta-physical about it, but simply a nervousness in the mind which manifests
itself in the flesh.
We may go ahead, and do what the
paper tells us to do. But sooner or
later the agency will send over my old pal Tom (if reading online, see part A).
Poor guy always needs a job. But
when we shit-can Tom later, his unemployment equals collateral damage in the
society. The under employment of the
candidate B’s of the world is now a massive collateral damage. Inefficient management is collateral
damage. When letting numbers do our
bidding, laziness and ignorance is what we sow.
Collateral damage is what we reap.
Sin. Suffering. Collateral inefficiency. All three are synonymous, and act as a
monstrous tax on our robotic, dead, high tech fads and solutions that are not
saving us. They are not saving us time,
nor making us more efficient. The zero
sum game prevails. We borrow and borrow,
scatter and scatter, pass the buck on down the line but, the debt is always
There is no bailout coming, just
more borrowing from Peter Ponzi to pay Paul and Bernie Madoff. The hole in the boat is getting bigger and
they can’t see where the water is coming in from. They are simply noticing it getting deeper as
Is awash. Evening
A straight 50/50 split
A Wash. Even
Stephen. A Flood. A Cleansing.
Digging one deep well may get you a Masters degree.
Thinking in degrees makes you a master.
Digging one deep well may get you to water, may
May get you the job, may not.
Digging a myriad shallow holes makes you a master
of the dig.
Familiar with more terrain, the eclectic becomes
your niche. You learn quicker the causes and conditions to every effect. You
deconstruct the composition expediently, diagnose appropriately, build and
create ergonomically, position wisely.
Common is the man with the
expensive, loud, high tech laser scope gun but with which he shoots wildly in the
windy night. The M.O. has nothing fancy.
He doesn't need to shoot at every target. The eyes are open and s/he knows what s/he’s looking for.
He observes patterns. She
positions himself well. The target doesn't see him. It walks right up to her,
and sits down.
Click. Easy. Done.
The latest technology is…
In the middle
Just not mandatory.
There is no prerequisite for this position
This qualification not bought with tuition
From any address runs a road to success
As less can be more and more can be less
Like hitting the toll road to find the traffic a mess
And bumper to bumper frustration and stress
Through the trees watch a back street breeze past the Express
What they all get for trusting that damn GPS
You see whether or not the best man is hired
Midnight Train Conductors shall not be retired.
When the rules leave you beaten and
Gadgets not needed
No Badges Required