June 30, 2006

Some Jobs Need A Woman's Touch

Category: Life — Cranky @

During the last couple of years there has been a shift in the hiring practices of grocery chains and Walmart stores in our city. The checkout counters, formerly the exclusive domain of women, are now staffed by both genders. I don’t know what drove this change. Is it a side-effect of our equality-obsessed culture? Did men complain that the jobs were given on the basis of gender rather than qualification? It doesn’t really matter to me, because there is only one inescapable conclusion that can be drawn from this change.

Men have no business on the checkout line.

Seriously, men are terrible at that job. They work at a lackadaisical pace, one just quick enough to avoid immediate firing. They have no determination, and it’s clear they don’t want to be there. Too many of them are “Chatty Chuckies”, talking with coworkers while sluggishly scanning the merchandise.

Now I know that nobody would pick checkout clerk as their occupation of choice. Fisher Price doesn’t make a “Little Cashier Activity Centre”, and for good reason. But women in general buckle down and do that work efficiently and well. And I think I know why.

Women are far, far better at examining the reality of the situation, and then doing “what needs to be done”. Men drag their asses if they are uninterested or unfulfilled, or if they feel the work is beneath them. I fit that description to a ‘T’. Take a man who happily works a 16 hour day in construction, put him at the till in a Safeway, and watch him work unhappily in slow motion. Women, on the other hand, will generally work the task at hand without letting their bias drag down their performance.

Fire the men, or put them in the warehouse stacking boxes. My time is important to me, and I don’t want to wait while some shmuck does half the work in twice the time as the woman in the next till over.

There are other “jobs” that need a woman’s touch, but… well… we’ll just leave it at that.


June 27, 2006

Strive to Be a Crack Shot

Category: Social — Cranky @

Many men are proud of the precision with which they do particular tasks. In fact, many of the competitions we enter are based on target shooting in one form or another. Darts, bowling, archery and firearms accuracy tournaments abound.

Men also love precision driving, whether it’s the piloting of a jet or a sports car. There’s just something about precise control of a craft that stimulates the male mind. Artists and musicians share this love of precision. So do craftsmen and engineers. It’s a built-in desire for perfection.

So why, then, do men piss all over the god-damned toilet in public restrooms?

I really want to know. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been unable to use a toilet because there’s just no way to touch the lid without also touching somebody else’s urine. It’s repulsive. And it can’t just be chalked up to drunken behaviour. Some men just seem to take delight in marking their territory in the manner of jungle cats. Why they choose to mark the toilet is beyond me. Seems the better choice would be to piss in a big circle around the girl you’ve been eyeing in the bar.

This behaviour is so prevalent that it doesn’t surprise me at all when a restroom is grotesque. What surprises me is going into the bathroom in a bar and finding it neat and tidy.

I think men should act like men, with all of the rowdiness and jack-assery that is implied… but there’s no reason to be disgusting. Grow up. Put on the big-boy pants, lift up the seat, aim for the water. It’s not hard.


June 21, 2006

Fates of the Famous IV

Category: Entertainment — Cranky @

Casey and Finnegan

For nearly thirty years, children enjoyed the magic of Mr. Dressup and his tickle trunk. Many grieved when Ernie Coombs passed away from a stroke in 2001. It was quality programming from the CBC – something that is a rare find in any era.

In the minds of many, Mr. Dressup cannot be separated from his inimitable sidekicks, Casey and Finnegan. They were a team – an indivisible unit. Children knew the team, and knew it well. It was surprising, then, when in the 1990’s the decision was made to phase out the lovable boy and his dog. Casey and Finnegan appeared less and less often, until one day they were simply gone.

The studio felt that a fresh look and new characters might boost sagging ratings. Instead, predictably, the children did not embrace the new and improved team. The show stumbled along, losing ground, and the last episode aired in 1996.

Casey and Finnegan, still together, struggled in the marketplace. With the loss of their television show, there was no market for their images, nor for their public appearances. Casey was too small to be hired for any labour positions, and he was nearly illiterate, so desk jobs were beyond his abilities. He worked infrequently as an advertising sandwich-board holder. He tried his hand as a creator of “upskirt” videos, surreptitiously filming the panties of passing women, but several beatings put an end to that career.

Finnegan tried training as an attack dog, but his efforts were completely unsuccessful. He lacked teeth, and his skin was a soft, pliable fabric. He could not even muster a menacing growl. He had a brief stint as a seeing eye dog, but proved to be unable to maintain adequate concentration. One spectacular mistake resulted in the meeting of blind man and Chevrolet, and he was returned to the streets.

As the time between meals became longer, Casey and Finnegan withdrew from each other. Hunger can turn the greatest of friends into enemies, and the tension mounted. Late one night, as Finnegan dreamed of Casey-flavoured steak, and Casey-flavoured jerky, Casey crept up and pressed a pillow into the face of his dog. After that, Casey fell into a deep, if well-fed, depression. He wrote a letter to Ernie Coombs, confessing his deed in broken english and misspelled words, and then he vanished.

Upon reading the letter, Mr. Dressup had this to say:

“Oh man. That ain’t right! What was he thinking? I’d have bought him, like, some ramen noodles or something. They’re like ninety cents for three. I mean, I’d thought of eating Finnegan during the leaner years, but, well… he’s a dog. Too much work, crappy flavour. Plus that cloth skin isn’t really digestible. It’s not even fiber. Who knows what that’d do? It’d be hard to move that, I’ll tell you! Metamucil might not even do it. Well, Casey was never really very bright, I suppose. Anybody hungry? It must be close to lunchtime.”