Thursday, May 17, 2012

Poisonous Personnel Postures

A few days ago, I encountered an article that stated that roughly
one-third of all the occupations Americans are known to practice now
require a government license. Licensure, as most conservatives and
libertarians are aware, privileges those already inside a particular
occupation at the expense of those outside it who'd like to practice it.
It's the equivalent of a labor union, except for being directly
administered by a government.

(Note that "government workers" -- a highly ironic phrase -- aren't
licensed; once they've passed a Civil Service entrance test and have
been admitted to the mysteries, they're locked in for life. More, they
out-earn private-sector workers by about 2 to 1. Something about this
strikes me as wrong. What might it be, I wonder?)

There's only one thing to do, of course: CREATE MORE OCCUPATIONS! In
witness whereof, I submit the following fictional dialogue.

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"What is it you do, Mr. Smith?"
"I'm a consulting psychophagist."
"Excuse me? A 'psychophagist?'"
"Yes, exactly. It's an absorbing trade."
"But what does a psychophagist do, exactly?"
"Well, I can't speak for all psychophagists -- we have quite an array of
specialties, you know -- but for myself, I treat persons afflicted with
noxious polyvalent sub-memes that interfere with their concentration,
reduce their productivity, and contribute to their tinnitus."
"Er, yes, I see. And what is a sub-meme, please?"
"Hm! Obviously, it's a meme that functions somewhere below the threshold
of consciousness."
"Ah, yes, of course. And what makes a sub-meme...polyvalent?"
"Oh, that's a matter of some controversy. The current consensus -- not a
strong one -- is that the polyvalent sub-meme differs from the univalent
sort in that it bonds to two or more memetotropic loci."
"Ah...what's a memetotropic loci?"
"Memetotropic locus, actually. Loci is the plural."
"Well, what is it?"
"It's a subconscious maintenance function that assists in the perception
and recognition of patterns and the automatic production of the
appropriate response. Have you ever found it difficult to get a catchy
tune out of your head?"
"Yes, of course, we all have that problem now and then."
"The tune is a sub-meme that's bonded to the rhythm-sensing function of
the afflicted person's subconscious. Until he presents the proper
response, it will remain there, slowly driving him to distraction. It's
an excellent illustration, but there are many other kinds. They can be
particularly nasty when aromas are involved."
"So the poor guy find the proper response, then?"
"Sometimes. Not always. Psychophagy doesn't have all the answers yet.
It's a developing field."
"Well, what do you do when you can't determine the patient's proper
"I tell him to eat something. It might not dispel the sub-meme, but it
will make him feel better."
"Fascinating. Is psychophagy a very remunerative field?"
"Not really. I'm usually paid with leftovers."

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How long do you think it would take Washington to come up with licensing
criteria for that trade?

1 comment:

Kirk said...

Fran, you missed your calling in life -- that reads like a Monty Python sketch!