"I wish I was a neutron bomb,
For once I could go off
I wish I was a sacrifice
But somehow still lived on"
~ Pearl Jam ~
Saints and sinners, the word of the week is "progress." Can we all say "progress?" I knew we could.
I happen to be a big proponent of progress. Progression is good. In my opinion, when you make progress, you're moving onward to bigger and better things. There isn't going backwards - only forwards.
So far this past week, I've seen very little progress going on, and quite a bit of backstepping. Let me reiterate - this week, I've lost an estimated total of three years, four hours and 30 minutes that I'll never get back. To me, that isn't progress.
The three years stems back to last Saturday, when I stopped at the office to write the "You Can Prevent Crime" story. My computer here at The Phoenix decided to freeze like my high school prom date and proceeded to lose three years worth of e-mails and addresses that I had saved. Every e-mail that was sent to me up to and including last Sunday evening - gone. Finito. Yeppers, quite a few story ideas and contact names gone up in virtual smoke. All of Norton Anti-Virus' horses and men couldn't retrieve all of my information again. (Note: for those who e-mailed me last week or beyond, please re-send me your e-mails at your convenience.)
I had to spend the weekend working on other people's computers, which my obsessive compulsive disorder couldn't handle. It's not fun working out of your particular comfort zone. My work area is specifically set up so I can receive and retrieve information at my fingertips. That wasn't to be. I had to work elsewhere until our resident computer guru came to work on Monday to do his voodoo.
While he was working his magic on my computer Monday, I lost two hours that afternoon when I was sent on a wild goose chase tracking down a story. If you are the particular someone who sent me an e-mail, telling me that I had an interview with someone that wasn't meant to be, well, it didn't work. Thank you for wasting my time. Those two hours could've gone towards covering something that others in the community missed out on.
So far, the scorecard reads three years and two hours. Let's fast forward to Monday evening, when I covered the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) meeting at Borough Hall.
Needless to say, it has to be something fairly unique for me to make an appearance at Borough Hall. That's not my scene. That's the blue blazer-wearing Bill Rettew's area of expertise. He thrives on rubbing elbows with the folks of Borough Council. Myself, I'd prefer a wave and a smile, from a distance. I shared that same sentiment with several of them that evening.
When Council President Jim Lolli got the festivities started at 7 p.m., he advised everyone that he'd like to have the meeting wrapped up by 9:30 p.m. With close to 20 people exchanging in access of 1,000 words during this time period, all of the MOU issues were discussed, debated and degraded to the point where 9:30 p.m. rolled around and guess what? Nothing was resolved. Nothing. Na-da. Not only did two and a half hours go by so quickly, they were also lost to yours truly. In fact, I actually left that meeting feeling stupider than when I arrived there. I'm sure I could've yelled out "Yahtzee" and it may've improved things.
However, it isn't like I didn't learned something from this meeting. In fact, I'd love to share with everyone what I did learn.
One, when someone is of Portuguese descent, they aren't considered a minority to some in Phoenixville. Second, when Attorney Lee F. Mauger of the Phoenixville Civil Service Commission informed everyone that it's a requirement for anyone applying for a patrolman position in Phoenixville to be Act 120 qualified, it was still a subject to debate for another hour. Regardless of the fact that the qualification was waived "back in the day," this day is now, and the qualification is a requirement. Should've been "end of subject, now let's move on," but it went towards "let's take that year-old horse and beat it some more."
Third, and I said this to several people that night, you can bring in an army of candidates, even with Act 120 qualifications, and line them up outside Borough Hall to be a part of the police force. Guess what? One catch - they have to fill out an application. Small detail, but that's how people get hired. Take one, fill it out, wait for a phone call. Check on it occasionally.
Last but not least, I had to chuckle when I heard references that people could be "purple green," as long as they get the job done. Let me say that not only would I welcome the sight of a purple green patrolperson in Phoenixville, then it certainly would put an end to all of these discussions about diversity. Trust me, a purple green person - how diverse is that?
In fact, now that's what I call progress!
Until then, some final words of wisdom to "write-off" to - this weekend is Mother's Day, and it is one holiday I certainly wish I could celebrate with my mother. However, the best thing I can do is to cherish the memories we shared together. There isn't a day that goes by when I don't think of her, or wish that I could make her laugh just one more time.
Dennis J. Wright can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.