Saturday, June 25, 2016


I've always had problems with authority, from the time Dad kicked out of the house for disappointing him in my first year of engineering college when I wasn't meant to be an engineer in the first place, and later went on to get BA and MS degrees in Geography.

What triggered this reaction was when I enlisted in the US Air Force March 7, 1969, after the University of Denver asked, but not prohibit, me not to return to enroll, and passing my Army physical and being classified 1-A, knowing the draft lottery would be too late to avoid the draft.

In preparation to starting basic training I went to the barber and got an "approved" military haircut, but after getting to basic training at Lackland, AFB, outside San Antonio, TX, they gave me another haircut which I had to pay.

Yeah, that's the rule, but something struck a dischord against the authoritarian manner how the rule was applied, and while I got through basic training just putting my head down and minding my own business to get through it, the feeling never went away.

I was not cut out for any organization that was so authoritarian. Later in my military service I went through the initial proceedings to determine if they should initiate the court-martial proceedure against me for making an off-hand comments to a senior NCO who was in another organization.

I won't comment on what I said, but a full colonel, the unit commander, who had 2 years in Vietnam, represented me, and they decided against the court-martial process, but imposed a 6 month ban for consideration for promotion, which I accepted because I didn't qualify for the cycle to be promoted.

The irony there was that I did make the next cycle for promotion, unfortunately I would be discharged before I could actually be promoted, but then the same people offered me the promotion and a $10,000 bonus to re-enlist because almost all the lower rank NCO's in the unit were leaving. Hey it was the early 1970's.

Anyway, I went on to get the degrees on the GI Bill and have a good, but could be better, career with USGS, but I never lost the "Question Authority" attitude I had, even when I retired, choosing my own date than being forced to accept one made by my boss.

You see my boss threatened to demote and reassign me for disagreeing with him over my job performance. I always had excellent evaluations and promoted as soon as I was eligible, but I got a boss who was 15 year younger and never worked in the part of the USGS I spent my career.

Yeah, old senior technical, often supervisory, manager with a new, inexperienced senior manager. Not a good fit for me, and we always disagreed over my job and work, which I had been doing and was respected by regional and headquarters, even being on national commitees and an organizational "resource" person.

The issue reached a head when I appealed the evaluation to the region, going over the head of the boss for the water resouces division in the agency in the state. That engaged the ire of our boss too, but the region personnel office reversed the evaluation, changing it to excellent and chastising my bos and our boss for their actions.

His boss had to accept the reversal and apologize for it, or face reprimands for their actions against me. It was a good feeling knowing I won, but it effectively ended my career for the last 2-3 years I had planned to work, but decided to retire earlier on my schedule than theirs.

Anway, after retiring, I joined a few messsage boards to stay connected to a variety of personal interests, and while message boards are often privately run, not Yahoo-type just administered under company rules, I often expressed views counter to the administrator or moderators. Yeah, deja vu all over again.

I'm not outspoken or extremist. I just believe members have the right to question the rules and the moderators and administrators. But they don't think so, and so I got ejected from one message board for proving the hypocrisy of the administrator for allowing some members more freedom of speech than others.

And now I've been effectively censored by another for questioning why a thread on guns and the shooting in Orlando where everyone was civil and respectful was closed shortly after it was started and many members didn't have the chance to post their view.

I posted a general statement against these types of arbitrary decision on the personal judgement of the administrators, which as promptly removed and was sent an e-mail, "this message forum is not a democracy..." And so I posted again with a note I'm taking a hiatus from the board.

And I did the old George Burns and Gracie Allen exit and left the board, but keeping my membership to come back sometime in the future, which is the second time I've left, the last for about 3 years only to find nothing changed when I returned.

And as the old adage goes, there's no third time, because you will almost always succeed, meaning leaving the board by removing my membership which I'm keeping in mind to do if/when return. I only visit it every few weeks so it's not that important to me.

And the exit? At the end of the show there was one short exchange:

George: "Say goodnight Gracie."
Gracie: "Goodnight Gracie."

Yeah, best ending there ever was by two of the best.

No comments:

Post a Comment