Monday, January 04, 2010

I read this * with mixed feelings.

First, I empathize with the folks who were stuck because some old fart fell asleep on the job. I mean, even though my age qualifies me for the position (fighting terror with a two-way radio while the cops threaten to tow double-parkers), I've been there: asleep on an airport floor waiting for shit to get right. It's less than ideal. So I'm there: I understand. I will not apply for the job.

But I've also done other things, and the most apt of those in this case may well be that I've bounced dice across the green felt in Las Vegas. Here's the letter I sent north-east a minute ago:

Secretary Janet Napolitano
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528

Re: “Glass-eye” syndrome at Newark Airport

Madame Secretary:

I'm increasingly frustrated by people who don't know things that seem to me as obvious as my own nose, and I'm sure you are, too. But then, I'm wary of so-called common sense, as well, so maybe I'm getting ready to contradict myself...

If you haven't had a personal chance yet, send a staffer to watch the dealers at a craps table in 'Vegas: none of them stays in a single position more than 20 minutes. And none of them is actually at the table more than an hour.

See, the casino czars figured out decades ago that no matter how much money a dealer made, or how hard that dealer tried to stay focused, s/he'd go catatonic eventually, and miss something subtle. And the easiest way to avoid that was to rotate staff (my brother-in-law could name the positions at the table; he dealt the game to pay his way through college. I can't – but the point remains the same).

It's easy to see the (potential? No one is actually in line long enough to know) rotation at security scanners: ID checker, X-ray-watcher, wand-waver, bag opener-and-messer-upper.

But the poor hired hands that guard the periphery? It seems such a simple job: don't let anyone go the wrong way (Do they actually even get paid?), I can't imagine how mind-numbing that job would be, other than to compare it to watching dice bounce across a felt table.

And honestly? After about two minutes watching dice bounce I'd be looking forward to my next break. Unless I had chips on the pass line.

God bless you with strength, with wisdom, with patience and perserverance.







*Yeah, I know. It's a FOX link. But there's a sweet irony in that, given that FOX has spent so much of the last decade inflating the value of screw-the-little-guy. I say screw Murdoch.


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