I’m going to propose a new standard performance metric called “The Dead Hooker Metric”.
This is especially for management agents of properties for let and specifically for those that manage group properties like apartment estates and so on.
It’s as simple as this:
If you fail to notice, in a reasonable time, a dead hooker* lying somewhere about the property you manage then you are not, in fact, managing the property but instead performing some other indeterminate function for which you were not hired.
* It doesn’t have to be a dead hooker (despite the occupation’s higher than average mortality rate) – it could be any other out-of-the-ordinary event such as several broken bottles scattered in a perfect tire-puncturing array precisely emulating police stop-sticks.
“lewk, am okaay even zo I poot an onion on mai eye”
Let’s travel together back in time a couple of weeks…
So, then, in a flash of official paperwork and the tired eyes of a government official at the edge of a compulsory furlough I became a US Citizen. A tortuous path of stacks and stacks of forms requiring me to repeatedly detail every country I’ve ever visited since before cable TV and expound on intricacies like marriage dates of wives long since divorced.
It was slightly unnerving to hand over my precious ten year Green Card in exchange for a rather pedestrian sticky label in which my allocated seat number for the Citizenship Ceremony had been written in black Sharpie. We filed in, the ‘guy’ pronounced my middle name, “Paul” wrongly no less than twice before getting it right, a feat I didn’t think possible, had some speeches and then we all stood and took the solemn oath and pledged allegiance to our new national flag and the republic for which it stands. It was, as they say here, freaking awesome.
It was the culmination of a day of remaining calm after my morning appointment for the compulsory immigration interview and US Civics test. I had about a twenty minute wait after I arrived, glowing and inwardly panicking before my name was called. With barely one foot inside the tiny office I was told not to sit and remain standing whilst I swore to tell the truth. Thankfully that was the last time anyone from the USCIS or State Department have ever given me that kind of penetrating glare. Oath of Truth done, we reviewed the information on the official forms, seemingly corrected some minor date issues (they got the chronology of my first and second wives reversed) and then after a few subtle conversational questions to make sure I was on the level we went on to the Civics test. Which I aced.
After a bit of computer prodding I was told that I would be recommended for citizenship but reminded that I would not be a citizen until I had a chance to complete the Oath Ceremony. “There’s an Oath Ceremony being held here this afternoon if you’re able to attend”.
So I did. What’s more my wife and my daughter were able to be there with me too as I became an American.
Now, a few weeks later, my US passport has arrived and my voter registration has been enabled so I get to have my say next week, for the first time in the US, on some key things like mayors and propositions and other such ephemera. Just like everyone else…
We were out delivering Thanksgiving meals as part of this: We went last year and, as this year, it is such a humbling experience and yet so fantastic to say “Happy Thanksgiving” to someone and hand them a huge turkey, a case of water and a box full of ‘fixings’ (accompaniments like stuffing and gravy) – all for free.One area had a whole bunch of people with the hoods of their cars propped up and wires going from the batteries through their windows – and this is how they get their electricity; several houses powering their homes by their car batteries – not in an emergency or because of power failures, floods or storms but as an *everyday thing*. Not one, not all – but many. I didn’t see any satellite dishes, air conditioning or pools but then the area actually barely had more than a clearing in the grit amongst the houses to call a road. I have no idea how they make it through the frigid beating they must get from your average Nebraskan winter.Shame on me for closing my eyes to the fact that this happens. Walking up to several houses where it was difficult to find the house because it looked like no house was there in amongst debris, was made from the debris, was patched together from a multitude of planks and offcuts. People who would hobble to the door. People who were clearly on their own and really needed not to be. Other people who apparently lived in abject poverty amongst huge houses with a fleet of cars parked here and there in front against the ramshackle backdrop of an unkempt driveway of the person who rushed outside after putting his turkey inside and shouted to us “have a blessed day, thank you, thank you” as we tucked ourselves back into our car.
When you see this and more, as we did today, you realize that real life can be a very unequal existence even in a city full of joie de vivre and that you are (and should be), indeed, very thankful for small mercies.
The Kooks are out in the streets….
Cast thine light mysteriously,
cast thine light mysteriously
tiny celestial body
One doth verily ponder what manner of body
Yonder in the nether reaches of ye heav’ns
mightily thither at height beyond mine grasp
where thou rests, a glassy jewel
abed in a nocturne’s clasp.
(Incidentally, I meant this as a little joke – my ‘real’ poetry can be found at www.omahapoet.com)
Sometimes it’s just about doing it for the sake of it; because you can. Money is irrelevant once you have enough to eat and pay the bills. I never forget what it felt like when I could do neither – or either. I hope I never do.
Do one good thing, every day, just because you can. Tell no-one you did it.
- We all listen to a litany of things about how you did / didn’t do it.
- Twenty-four hour news hacks (the kind we would not invite to watch our dogs) give the accused emotive nicknames and spout undiluted vitriol in great gushing splashes against our screens.
- All the circumstantial evidence means we just know you did it.
- We bay and crow in true lynch-mob style.
- The jury go away and look at the actual proof of guilt versus innocence.
- They come back and say, based on the evidence you’re innocent.
- We do not have an alternative verdict in the USA of “not proven”.
- So, quite rightly, you are free.
You see, this is how justice works. We do not kill people just because we’re ‘fairly certain they did it and besides, they totally acted like they did it’. We condemn people when there is proof that is so compelling that there is no doubt at all that they did it.
And then we kill them…after a suitable number of double-checks to make sure we got the decision right the first time. Even then we sometimes kill people for crimes they did not commit or let them out just in the nick of time after their life has rotted almost from view.
This is the crux of the problem. You can’t give that life back.
We no longer storm the courthouse and string a screaming unfortunate from a tree limb or streetlamp. We realize that mob justice is no justice at all, not even if it piques a sense of revenge that must be avenged. We defer to a proxy of twelve people whom we have determined are good enough to make a fair decision based on what they have seen and heard unsullied by the quality of TV graphics and dramatic on-the-hour soundbites. When they decide, we allow them to decide for us all.
This is…civility. This is…how things must be.
Even a man rent on a rack and broken by the spasms of electricity and beatings will not always tell you the truth. Find the facts. Show them to our diligent dozen. Allow perspectives of guilt and innocence to be ascribed. Even allow lies – as long as we allow the lies to be shown as such.
Short dresses and inexplicable hot body contests make you seem weird, cold, callous or bizarre but they do not prove you a killer. A knife, a gun, bullet wounds, ligature marks, broken bones, photographic evidence: these work. But when there is no proof…then the case is not proved, even if it makes you want to scream MURDERER or write letters of protest and when the case is not proved then you are innocent and you are free to slither or crawl or trot on high-heels in a go-go skirt because that is what freedom means.
The victim is still a victim…however she died, she did.
So today Skype have announced that they will start putting adverts out to all customers, even those who pay. I can see the point, after all it’s all about the money honey. Isn’t it?
Wait – I have a *paid* account. In fact – I pay quite a lot for my Skype account. Not just a few cents here or there – over a $100 a year plus extra if I call UK-based cell phones or ridiculous ‘easy-to-remember’ numbers for people like the bank or the tax office.
I pay. I pay a lot.
I do like Skype – really, it’s an awesome service and without it I can pretty much say that it would have been difficult, if not impossible for my wife and I to have met and formed a decent relationship. We used to use over 2500 minutes a month talking to each other on Skype. Hours and hours talking to each other made it so we knew each other like we’d gone to school together – despite at that point never having met in person and a physical separation of two continents and 4000 miles. Skype helped us fall in love. Skype helped us stay together through tricky traumatic reams of government paperwork and visas. It played a big part in the arrangements of our first nervous meetings. It allowed us to cry together, laugh together and grow one year older together. Skype was there, drenched in tears of happiness the day I called a sleepy future wife to tell her my interview at the US Embassy had gone well and we had the necessary permission for me to fly over permanently and for us to be allowed to marry.
That day was one of the most heart-burstingly happy moments I have ever had. I know Lisa felt the same way.
Nowadays Skype helps me work. In fact, without Skype my work would be a quiet message-filled experience snowed under a pile of time-shifted emails. It means I can hear my mother’s voice, even though she has no computer and it plays a critical part in letting me wave at my sister, my nephew, my Dad and his future wife and pull silly faces at them in a range of strange hats. Soon Skype might be there as I perform poetry to a foggy rain-damp UK audience whilst I stand, sun-brushed on the balcony of my apartment in the USA.
Skype…you are a good friend. Please don’t become a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal who drops adverts in my lap and screams sound-bytes in my ears. I *pay* for you to sit in the audience with me – if you invite along adverts who yell out at the wrong time and ruin the moment I’ll buy a new friend, one who values our friendship and the color of my money…
Calling Vonage and Google Voice – are you listening?