The Occasional Joke

Nurse: Patient's name?

Centurion: Marcus Licinius Crassus

Nurse: And his date of birth?

Centurion: 115 BC.

Nurse: All right. And what is he here for?

Centurion: Cataphract surgery.

Friday, August 2, 2013

As if wage disputes weren't bad enough

While fast food workers across the country agitate for higher pay and for working conditions that are not modeled on sodium chloride mining operations in Siberia, smaller groups are also demanding recognition and, unusually, better lexical treatment. Here are three stories from recent news coverage.

Spain is a major source of wine corks, and the industry provides substantial employment for agrarian workers. However, some specialists in the work force object to the dismissive manner in which management addresses them. Specifically, the teams of skilled technicians (many of whom suffer from severe speech disorders) who gather the shaped final product and bulk-package it are asking for a more dignified term for their profession. They object strongly to being listed in personnel rosters as "that bunch of dumb cork sackers."

Closer to home, US obstetric facilities are experiencing periodic spikes in demand, days when large numbers of women simultaneously go into labor (usually during full moons or nine months after widespread power outages). When this happens, normal ambulance service can be overwhelmed, and other vehicles are pressed into service, including delivery vans and even semi trucks. In order to regularize the employment status of the temporary personnel who operate this ad hoc patient transportation, a study was done and the age, sex, income, ethnic background, and other attributes of the operators were collected and analyzed. One individual, a man in New Jersey, was identified as having all the average characteristics, and there were plans to use him as a spokesman, but he refused to participate after an NIH administrator referred to him as "a mean mother trucker."

Finally, concerns over semantics are not limited to the human species. Here in Ann Arbor, a quadrupedally-advantaged person of fur is involved in a close primary race for a city council seat. After his opponent made what would, under other taxonomic circumstances, have been a derogatory reference, Mr. Hamilton "Ham" Mudd stated for the record, "Yes! I admit it! I'm a son of a bitch. So is he. And that guy over there. We're all sons of bitches! Now, can we get on with it?"

Management at Wood-Charles regrets that it finds itself unable to find better material than the above, but it promises to try.

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