No Sick Days for You! | Street Jazz

Sunday, February 8, 2009

No Sick Days for You!

Posted By on Sun, Feb 8, 2009 at 10:00 AM

A friend of mine was talking to someone last week about missing days at work due to the ice storm, and she said to him, “I guess you had to use up some of your sick days, didn’t you?”

At which point he responded, “Excuse me? I work in a factory. We don’t get sick days!”

No, gentle reader (what a stupid phrase!), most factory workers don’t get the fabled “sick days” that are we hear bandied about so much on the news. If you work in a factory - and in most places where you punch a time clock - you are expected to come to work when sick.

Yes, even though that means that not only will you get sicker, when you should be home resting, but you’ll be exposing others to whatever germs you may be spreading about.

Ah, sweet Solidarity!

There are exceptions to this, of course. Oftentimes if you can drag yourself out of bed and make a visit to the doctor, and bring a slip from the doctor (because we like to make you feel like you’re in seventh grade) your absence won’t be held against you.

Except, of course, that you will be out two days of work, essentially. One day off the clock, and another making a visit to the doctor,  and getting whatever wonder drugs you may need.

As if that weren’t enough, we sort of like to add insult to injury, with the addition of what is known as the “Point System,” in which points are tallied up when a worker is tardy (even by so much as a few minutes - road conditions be damned!) absent altogether, or when you have to leave early.

When enough points are built up, out the door, buddy!

You can, of course, work off your points - I’m sorry, but that just sounds so demeaning - by achieving perfect attendance for a certain period of time.

This is a system that treats grown men and women like children. Even worse is when grown men and women actually defend the system, talking about if a company, oh, I don’t know, did something professional like actually offer sick days to hourly employees, that some employees would “abuse” the system.

Well, hey, it’s their sick days, right? Or they would be, if there really were a level playing field in this country.

******

Quote of the Day

>"When you put your hand in a flowing stream, you touch the last that has gone before and the first of what is still to come. --Leonardo da Vinci

*****

On the Air - The Battle of Fayetteville

This week the Civil War battle of Fayetteville will be the subject of my show.  Originally produced in the mid-1990s, the program features re-enactment footage, dramatic readings, and an interview with Kim Scott, an expert on the battle of Fayetteville.

Show days and times

Monday (7pm)
Tuesday (noon)
Saturday (6pm)

C.A.T. is shown on Channel 18 of the Cox Channel line-up in Fayetteville.

Those outside the Fayetteville viewing area can see the program online at:
www.catfayetteville.org/

Programs online are shown in "real time," meaning that they are shown at the same time as they are shown on C.A.T.

****

The City on the Edge of Forever

Gene Roddenberry is honored for creating Star Trek, an SF series which has inspired many people the world over.

And thanks to a well-oiled publicity machine, Roddenberry has become known as "The Great Bird of the Galaxy," a wise and benevolent being who fought heartless studio executives, network censors and other small minds to bring his vision to television viewers.

But in the years following his death, some revisionist history has emerged, from the people who worked closest with him - actors, producers, and writers.

His harshest critic is the noted author Harlan Ellison, who penned what would become one of Star Trek's most popular episodes, “The City on the Edge of Forever,” in which James T. Kirk must allow the woman he loves to die on 1930s Earth, so that history can remain unchanged.

“Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever” chronicles  Ellison's experiences with the “Great Bird” and  reveals a Roddenberry consumed with his own fame - a man who continually tried to grab the credit rightfully due others, and wasn't above lying to do so.

To bolster his argument that Roddenberry was at most a pedestrian producer who shamelessly robbed from others, there is a sizable afterward, in which others speak both of Ellison and Roddenberry, and their experiences with both.

The difference between the two men arose from a script which Ellison was commissioned to write, but was rewritten repeatedly, at times by Ellison himself.

The reasons why it was rewritten so many times are too numerous to go into here, but the end result was a script - though a fan favorite - which the writer felt was gutted and rewritten beyond all recognition. And for almost 30 years, Ellison found himself lied about by Roddenberry at conventions and in print interviews. The most famous canard uttered by Roddenberry was that the character of Scotty was dealing drugs in the original story. When confronted, Roddenberry would always apologize, and use the same story at yet another convention.

The reader can judge for themselves which script was the finer one. The original (which won the Writer’s   Guild Award) or the version which finally aired, since the shooting script are included here, with notes from Ellison.

My vote goes to the original, and not simply because Harlan Ellison is among the group of writers I admire tremendously. There is a great deal of magic and emotional poetry missing from the version which finally aired. After 30 years, it is difficult to figure out why so many changes had to be made.

Harlan Ellison was hardly alone in his troubles with Gene Roddenberry. For whatever reasons, very few of the original Trek writers followed him to Star Trek: The Next Generation when it went into production in 1987.

Ultimately, it is a sad story; while eventually Ellison’s bile (no matter how justified) wears down the reader, one is left with a terrible sense of sadness for Gene Roddenberry. His pettiness and grasping for credit (on more than one occasion he was successfully sued by those he stole writing credits from) detract from his many accomplishments.

rsdrake@nwark.com


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