'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
PRIVATE SECTOR WORKING CONDITIONS NOT FAIR
It’s not fair. I have been diagnosed with a case of P.S.S.D. and it is simply not fair. I demand compensation for my terrible condition.
If you’re not familiar with P.S.S.D., the term stands for “Private Sector Stress Disorder.” P.S.S.D. is a relatively new malady affecting those of us who work for private companies, which means we do not have the lavish benefits and pensions that government employees routinely receive nowadays.
My case of P.S.S.D. came on suddenly. A few months ago I read in the newspaper about a man who was the budget director for the City of Hartford. He had worked as a city employee for 20 years and at the age of 48, my exact age, he retired and immediately began collecting $50,000 per year in retirement benefits. At age 48!
This man, of course, did not “retire” in the traditional sense of the word. He did not move to a condo in Florida, pull his Bermuda shorts up to his armpits, and spend his days playing golf and going to dinner at 3:30 p.m. No, he went to work for another city in Connecticut at an annual salary of over $100,000. And even though his new job provides what most folks would call a darned good income, the City of Hartford will send this man 50 Grand each year (not counting cost of living increases) just because he worked there 20 years.
Then, in the same newspaper story, I read about a man who has worked for the Town of Manchester for almost 30 years. If he retires right now, the town will immediately start paying him $90,000 per year. This man is age 52.
When I read these reports I was stunned. I don’t know anyone in the private sector who has a deal like that. I was so upset I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat. I finally went to the doctor and he diagnosed my condition as P.S.S.D. After he explained what that meant, I replied, “Yeah Doc, I guess you could say I’m PSS’D off about this situation.”
It’s simply not fair. Back when I first got out of school I could’ve gone to work at a government job. I just didn’t know any better. It’s not my fault no one told me that working for the state or a local municipality is a lot like winning the lottery.
How was I to know back then that state employee unions were soon to become the most powerful force in the universe? How was I to know they would negotiate contracts that let government employees get paid for working a couple of decades, and then get paid for the next four or five decades after that for NOT working? It’s just not fair!
For making the tragic mistake of thinking that a private sector career was little different that a public sector career, my life is in ruins. After working steadily for over a quarter-century now, I still must work for at least another two decades before I can even think about retiring.
Luckily, the one thing our society is good at these days is helping oppressed groups that have been abused by “the system”—especially the groups that whine the loudest. (And trust me, my whine-o-meter is set to maximum volume.)
Therefore, I demand that the government immediately start paying me and every other victim of P.S.S.D. at least $50,000 per year for life. And don’t worry about the cost. We can fund this new program in the usual way: tax the evil rich. After all, it’s only fair.
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