'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)
FRENCH WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE
If an employer refuses to hire a potential job applicant because of race, sex, age, or weight, that employer is guilty of racism, sexism, ageism, or girthism. Each of these prejudices is against the law, and if it’s proven that an employer engaged in one of these forbidden “-isms,” the employer is in big trouble. (Know in law enforcement circles as “troublism.”)
But what about other forms of job discrimination? What about the unfair and prevalent discriminatory practices of jerkism and sluggardism? Far too many job applicants are being denied gainful employment simply because they happen to be jerks or because they happen to be extremely lazy.
Not everybody was born with a friendly disposition—or at least the ability to act friendly during a job interview. Some people simply are hard-wired to be rude and obnoxious every waking hour of the day. I usually find myself right behind these folks in line at the grocery store. It’s an interesting experience to spend time near these people—unless, of course, you happen to be the brow-beaten, shell-shocked teenage cashier—but is this any reason to deny them employment?
And not everybody was born with the discipline to get out of bed before noon. Should these people be shunned by greedy corporations just because they cannot work for more than ten minutes at a time without needing a snack and a nap?
What kind of a cruel society are we when we allow mean-spirited employers to deny these unfortunate people a steady paycheck? I’ll tell you what kind of society we are: an unenlightened, non-French society, that’s what. And I for one am très embarrassé to call myself an Americain.
In France the labor laws are much more compassionate and fair. They also are very simple: companies must hire everyone and they cannot fire anyone. Over there les jerkes and les sluggardes are not treated like les citizens du seconde classe. (Literal translation: “second class postage.”)
A few months ago the French government tried to implement a nasty new law which would have allowed employers to fire unproductive workers within the first two years of employment. Sacré bleu! (Literal translation: “Ach der lieber!”)
Thankfully, thousands of French youth (l’enfants terrible) protested the new law by taking to the streets and rioting. It was mostly les jerkes who smashed windows and set cars on fire, as les sluggardes just couldn’t get out of bed in time to join the destructive festivities.
The French government quickly caved in to the protesters’ demands, in keeping with the nation’s proud motto: Je surrendez! (Literal translation: “Here, take my country, just don’t shoot!”) French President Jacques Chirac (literal translation: “spineless, yet arrogant”) announced on national TV that the government was “just kidding” (literal translation: Excusez moi) and of course French workers would continue to enjoy basic human rights in the workplace.
These basic human rights include: (1) guaranteed lifetime employment no matter how incompetent a worker might be; (2) guaranteed paychecks if an employee is too tired to come to work—even for months or years at a time; and (3) guaranteed full medical benefits and pension even if a worker has such a disruptive and disagreeable personality that even by French standards he is considered rude.
Anyway, discrimination is a bad thing, and insisting that workers engage in productive work is also a bad thing. I’m going to march into my boss’ office today and demand that he stop abusing me. I’m sure he’ll say, “OK, Bill, whatever you say.” (Literal translation: “Don’t let la door hit vous in le derrière on la way out.”)
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