Monday, 15 November 2010

Sickies, scams, standards, and soup

Today the teaching staff are all in bed with the Principal. I realise this sounds cramped, but when you remember we have a teaching staff of one, and that our Principal here at Fruitcake Miniature College is a cat, the visuals may settle down a bit. Also, though I am actually in bed, and Fruitcake is here too, he is merely on the bed. We do have some standards.

When I was at Hardacre Collage, where I taught before being made redundant, we had standards too. True these were often double standards: teaching and other college staff worked like lunatics to provide a place for people to learn in, while some other people in the college made that difficult. These other people saw their mission as the service of bureaucracy in the name of funding. While they were mostly not very good at that, they are mostly still there. Sadly, they couldn’t generate quite enough funding to justify the continued employment of some of us earning less than themselves.

You might think it sounds like a scam. Not a bit of it. A scam, should you be unfamiliar with the term, is a deception by which you mislead people to your own advantage, for instance to part with money. There were of course other people outside the college who were indeed parting with money - broadly speaking, the Government (the whole complicated nest of agencies involved being too tedious to mention), which ultimately is us again, the public.

Those agencies too tedious to mention also had standards - the sort of that require endlessly recording in a madly permutating pseudo-scientific manner everything you do or plan to do, so you have no time to do anything properly. When added to double standards and spiralling inefficiencies, it was enough to make you want to throw a sicky, which is when you can’t face work so you ring up and say feebly that you have dengue fever, volcanic eruptions, or whatever, and which is not quite a scam.

Yes, yes, but what are you doing in bed instead of out looking for work? Because I’m sick, and the Principal has curled up alongside. A few moments ago, I was calculating how many days I had off  in twenty years. Maybe twenty, and no sickies, not through virtue but because the catching up later meant a day in bed wasn't worth it. As I contemplated this the phone rang. It was Jason, speaking American English not as his first language. He wanted to take me to my Temporary Internet files and persuade me these were all viruses. Fixing them would entail downloading something tasty. Luckily, I know what 'Jason' was doing is truly a scam, so I taught him a two-syllable intransitive phrasal verb. Unluckily I’ve got a horrible cold, but the Head of Animal Care is making chicken soup.

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