Have you noticed that ever since 9-11, we lemming-like Americans are desperate for something to worry about? We worry about security, the housing market, Britney Spears and the weather. That doesn't mean we really take any action to make these things better, but we sure do a dandy job of being vexed about them.
The weatherman is a fine case in point. I suppose ever since Katrina and Rita we've been hyper-aware that Mother Nature can kick our collective keister whenever she so chooses. But instead of granting her the respect that such power deserves, we cower and fret. Evisceration of the weatherguys is one of the favorite sports played at Spooky R Ranch. Is it just me, or have weatherpeople technologized themselves into a completely fabricated psuedo-frenzy of anguish and apprehension over the slightest bobble in the jet stream? They weren't this bad before.
Yesterday the news broadcast dire diatribes about the Red Flag Warning. I had an 80's flashback and thought maybe the Soviets were attacking. It seemed a vague possibility, what with there being a new Rambo movie headed for theaters. Turns out I was wrong. Evidently the weather service has been issuing those warnings for decades whenever the humidity falls below parched and the winds rise above about 25 miles an hour. Which means we've lived under Red Flag Warnings for practically 2 days out of 3 for the entirity of my young life. We never worried about it before.
But now? Color us Concerned.
And what about security? I think I've mentioned before that we have a somewhat lackadasical attitude about security around here. Maybe we will regret that some day. Probably not, though. I'd much rather work in our current office environment than in one where we are hustling people through metal detectors and worrying about concealed weapons. As long as they stay concealed, I'm ok with 'em.
Last week Rose was in court waiting on a hearing with the Judge and the court reporter. For some reason, the reporter started asking Rose about how dangerous our job is.
"Don't you ever get scared of these people?" she asked. "'Cause some of them scare me just sitting in the courtroom with them."
"Well, sure, some of them are freaking crazy, but most of them are just stupid," Rose told her. "Besides, I make it real clear that if they go to prison, it was their fault, not mine. And only the Judge can revoke their probation." The Judge grinned at that.
"Y'all have panic buttons in your offices, right?" she asked.
Rose and the Judge both snickered at that. "Yeah, we have them, but I never remember where mine is," Rose said.
"You know what I think panic buttons are good for?" the Judge asked. "They're good for marking the spot where they need to draw the chalk outline."
"So, what security DO you have?" the reporter asked.
"Well, we're pretty loud. We're all screamers," Rose said solemly. (Many, many eyebrows disappeared up into hairlines at that, as she was telling us this story that afternoon in the Grand Ballroom.) "And we know about the zig zag run. That's pretty much it."
The reporter just looked confused and the Judge howled with laughter. The truth is, that pretty much is the extent of our security plan. When we hear yelling coming from someone's office, we tend to gather outside the door to eavesdrop and giggle. When it gets really heated, one of us will usually burst through the door and assist with throwing the poor sap out of the office. That's always fun! And in the 14 and a half years that I've been here, we've never had a sap that we couldn't escort off the premises. Maybe someday we will. Maybe we won't. Either way, it doesn't really matter.
What matters is that we aren't worried about it. Worry only gets in the way.