Kris an’ Murphy: Channels

Murphy: “Ah, there you are, Kris! It’s almost 5:30. I was beginning to think you weren’t going to make it to the faculty club tonight. And since classes aren’t in session, so I didn’t think that students would be barricading you in your office demanding what was going to be on the next test, I was getting ready to send out a search party.”

Kris: “Well, Murphy, you were half right. I got barricaded, but not by students. It was Hank, the groundskeeper. And man, was he hot! I thought he was going to freak out and run me over with the riding mower!”

Murphy: What? This the Hank I know? The one who wouldn’t hurt a mosquito that gave him malaria? Why?”

Kris: “Yeah, I made the mistake of asking him that. My ears have paid the price.”

Murphy: “And …?”

Kris: “You know that their maintenance shed is falling apart, right?”

Murphy: “You mean, like the dilapidated, dysfunctional cesspit they call the Classics building?”

Kris: “Worse. Far worse. We joke about how we’d make more money flipping hamburgers. They lose staff to the burger joints on a daily basis, on account of their miserable working conditions. Hank is practically on speed dial to his superiors, reporting the problems with their facilities and staffing.”

Murphy: “To no effect, of course.”

Kris: “He should have been so lucky. Today, he got written up for insubordination!

Murphy: “He flipped somebody off?”

Kris: “He didn’t do a thing! Somebody else went up the chain and bitched about the facilities crisis to some university toady. Who bitched down to Hank’s immediate supervisor, who whacked Hank for not controlling his people!

Murphy: “One of his gardeners had finally had enough …?”

Kris: “It wasn’t even any member of his crew! Apparently he’s supposed to have the power to make sure anybody who knows anything about the situation with the maintenance facilities reports any issues strictly through channels! Or else. One more such report, Hank yelled at me, and he loses his job! I don’t think he’s a gun nut …”

Murphy:Bite your tongue!”

Kris: “Well?? You know as well as I do how to spell ‘channels’.”

Murphy: “Only too well. S – T – O – N – E – W – A – L – L – I – N -G.”

Kris: “And if you can’t go through channels to get stuff done, and you can’t go around, what else have you got but to be a slave, or go postal?”

Murphy: “And what choice have the people who are charged with managing the channels got?”

Kris: “… huh?

Murphy: “You been following the telescope crap on Hawai‘i Island?”

Kris: “Kinda sorta.”

Murphy: “Pay attention. You and Hank both. Scientists and business interests are trying to get a big telescope built on one of the best places in the world for doing so. People who think women should stop eating coconuts because they look a little bit like testicles, according to the tenets of the Hawaiian kapu system, are trying to stop the telescope from being built. Don’t get me started on the social damage done by any religious system, of any type, anywhere.

“The combatants agreed to go through channels. The channels were duly followed. Compromises were proposed. Endless hours, and ridiculous piles of money, were spent. The decisions were finally taken. They didn’t go the kapu people’s way. And the telescope isn’t being built. The only, the only thing that those people will accept is for the telescope people to pack up and go home. They will disrupt until they get their way. Or until they are destroyed, Battle of Kuamo‘o fans.

“I talked with Dan in Genetics about this, and asked why scientists didn’t threaten to disrupt things the same way, by demanding that they get the telescope built, or leave Hawai‘i and blacklist it. He laughed in my face. ‘Scientists threaten any such thing, they’ll be told to get the hell out, and don’t let the swinging door bash your ass. Not even we scientists live by the scientific method except when we absolutely have to. Most of the time we play politics just like everybody else. And that politics tells us that it’d take too long for people to realize the damage they’ve done to themselves by booting the scientists off the rock. Meanwhile, we starve. So, there’s no point.’ Yeah. And it’s not as if scientists have never been arrogant fools, have never done anything to bring this down on themselves. Hah!

Channels has nothing to do with order, and sure as hell has nothing to do with service. It’s all about power. You have it, or you don’t. Eventually, those with power will abuse it; those who depend on that power for their livelihoods will insist on nothing less. Those without power can suck it up, leave, or fight. Sooner or later, the mass of people without power will find that they have no choice but to fight, or be eliminated. This is why I spit in the faces of the so-called ‘peace’ people. Their very ‘peace’ actions make war inevitable, and they either cannot see this, or they do and willfully ignore it – of course, in the pursuit of their own power.”

Kris: “I suppose you have a way to fix this, Oh Most Knowledgeable One.”

Murphy: “I wish. The only thing I can suggest is to knock everything down and start over, with everyone agreeing to keep their quest for power in check and work together for the good of the whole. It’s been tried countless times through history. When it works at all, it works only so long as those who fought and died to trash the old and bring in the new remember what the ‘old’ ways were, and how they’ve improved on them. Meanwhile, they’ve achieved power, and their descendants will put maintaining that power, increasingly, over all other objectives. Including that service to others that will keep those others in the system. The wheel turns. The same spoke keeps showing up. I don’t know what else to do.”

Kris: “I do.”

Murphy: “You do? Spill!”

Kris: “Do I look like Eric Burdon? While you were yammering away, paying attention to nobody and nothing but yourself, I opened the wine bottle. Which I purpose to pour from, and not spill.”

Murphy: “Do that. And when the glasses are full, I’ll propose a toast.”

Kris: “To …?”

Murphy: “To the Thirty Meter Telescope protestors.”

Kris: “The ones you’ve just spent the past half hour slamming?

Murphy: “The very same. Because more of them have gone to jail protesting a useful telescope than have gone to jail protesting the most toxic President and Legislature in the history of these Untied States of America. These Hawaiians can teach the rest of us in this country a few things about honor, integrity, commitment, and gumption. We can only hope we adopt the lessons before it’s too late – and then, if we survive, learn how to identify just causes to which to apply them, and so apply them.”

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3 Responses to Kris an’ Murphy: Channels

  1. Nathalie Hoke says:

    LOL. That was a long way to Tipperary.

    But as always, you made your point well, if not concisely.

    • Amoeba says:

      I was just channeling Charles Dickens, Nathalie … what was that? they don’t pay authors by the word any more?

      “Riiight, OC. Now tell her when ya wrote tha post. An’ where!

      No, dude. Just no.

      “Wuss.”

      You betcha.

  2. Nathalie Hoke says:

    I’m laughing now. You always make me smile. Even though in truth the subjects you write about are mostly depressing true.

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