Friday, July 08, 2005

Rule #11 (?)

In my fleshy, non-technologically mediated existence, I don't usually strike people as being a Bureaucrat. I suppose they're assuming that Bureaucrats have beady little eyes, grubby little hands, and cloven hooves. People mostly, instead, tend to regard me as an unruly drunk with a penchant for pyromania, and not as a petty minded Bureaucrat. I'm honestly not sure how I'm supposed to take this.

In those brief times where I can both put together a coherent sentence and resist picking up a book of matches, I often find myself drawn into discussions with random strangers about the nature of local/state/federal government. Inevitably, there's a lot of misinformation that gets spread around the conversation, so I try to resist telling people that I work for The Bureaucracy, by tap dancing around the issue, muttering something about the weather, and lighting their shoes on fire.

Once on fire, people tend to forget whatever it was they were talking about, and choose, instead, to stop, drop and roll. The upshot of this is that I don't have to explain their misunderstandings on the role of The Bureaucracy, what it does, and what it does not do. It's hard to explain to people that the solutions to the problems they are looking at are often much harder than they realize and that there are, in fact, some more important things to do.

I'm not a fan of discussions that begin, "The City should...", "We need to...", or other such rhetorical nonsense. The City should provide water taxis, one such discussion began, blithely ignoring that funding for such an endeavor would be more suited to paying down interest on the City's Pension fund or that the City isn't the one that does the water taxi service anyway. These discussions are rarely productive, descending more quickly into rants and navel gazing than positive actions, such as writing a member of Congress, lobbying City Council, or shaving the dog of a Borough Manager.

But I digress.

My point is this: There's always a mysterious, vague, faceless person out there screwing over the public. This is a the person that doesn't pave the street at PennDot, doesn't shovel the roads at Public Works, won't approve your building permit at zoning, and drove the City deficit higher than Phish concert goer. He (or she) is narrowminded, petty, stubborn, incompetent, and should be fired for gross negligence. In sum:

A Bureaucrat is always an asshole to someone.

Or, as a corollary, as Sir Michael Phillip Jagger said,

You can't always get what you want.

Or, more colorfully put,

Public service often involves waking up in the morning, opening up the newspaper, and discovering that someone, somewhere out there thinks that you're a dickhead.

And yes, I'm that dickhead.

One of those is Rule #11, although I can't decide which. This might be Rules 11-13, but I'm not sure right now. I'm open to suggestions.

Now go away, or I'll set you on fire.

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