Have you ever made a decision that was clearly the wrong course of action in the given circumstance so that you might avoid confrontation and conform to an immediate social expectation? Like, say, attended a Dave Matthews Band performance with your fraternity brothers? Bowed to your parents and taken monastic vows as a member of a small Catholic order living a flagellant existence on a parched Ligurian hillside? Acceded to a freezing homeless person’s request that he take a nap in the trunk of your car while you run into New Seasons?
Have you ever made a decision that was clearly the wrong course of action in the given circumstance so that you might avoid confrontation and conform to an immediate social expectation?
Like, say, attended a Dave Matthews Band performance with your fraternity brothers? Bowed to your parents and taken monastic vows as a member of a small Catholic order living a flagellant existence on a parched Ligurian hillside? Acceded to a freezing homeless person’s request that he take a nap in the trunk of your car while you run into New Seasons?
Or showed up for your fancy-pants restaurant prep-cook job fresh from the clinic with your diagnosis of hepatitis B?
Well, we’ve all been there. In a previous position as a greeter at a Walmart retail location in High Ridge, Mo., I was personally responsible for spreading tuberculosis to more than 200 individuals in the greater northwestern Jefferson County area.
But all was well. Taken by my zealous dedication to the cult of “Everyday Low Prices,” my immediate supervisor promoted me on the spot to department assistant manager of produce and meat.
And for good reason! Since when is the threat of massive contagion resulting in collective chills, intestinal distress and lost workplace productivity an excuse to call in sick? Wanna lose your job, son? The U.S. will never emerge from its stifling mountain of debt and economic stagnation unless we exorcise the insidious culture of shirking individual responsibility to our corporate benefactors.
You ain’t gonna get paid for them hours, anyhow.
That is, unless Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz has her way.
Currently working its way through City Council is an ordinance proposal that would require Portland businesses to give their employees up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. The measure, written by Fritz, passed debate at a City Council hearing late last month.
Advocates of the measure say that passing the ordinance would be in workers’ interests and that of public health, citing anecdotal evidence that workers often go to work sick rather than risk being disciplined or fired.
The poor and those who work hourly wage jobs are more likely to lack paid time off. For this reason, low-income parents are often unable to care for sick children who are home from school for fear of losing their jobs.
Economic disparities ab-ound! Clearly the implementation of such playing-field-leveling bureaucratic schemes as these is modern society’s only means of checking avaricious 1-Percenter hegemony.
But does this ordinance go far enough?
It is the opinion of this columnist—surely the only opinion that has any relevance—that the collective physical and spiritual well-being of the city’s workforce requires much more than paid sick leave.
To quote the Lord Jesus Christ Our Savior, “Man does not live by Taco Bell Doritos Locos Tacos alone.” I therefore implore the City Council to explore the following measures for implementation.
First, Portland workers should be entitled to paid waiting-in-line-to-renew-your-vehicle-title-at-the-DMV time off. The ostensibly simple, yet actually infuriating process of 1. taking a ticket stub numbered 37; 2. playing Angry Birds on an iPhone to pass the time; and 3. finally realizing that the queue has moved forward to 52 is actually much more stressful and demanding than work could ever be, and employers should be forced to remunerate it as such.
Second, we all deserve paid summer-jam-band-festival time off. Human resource theorists have yet to discover a better workplace morale-booster than a mind-expanding lost weekend of dropping great quantities of mescaline and listening to Trey Anastasio noodle aimlessly over an ii-V-I chord progression for 38-minute stretches.
I can personally attest that those who undergo this form of treatment return to the office with a smiling face and a fresh, sunny disposition.
Lastly, the diverse social ills afflicting America’s urban environs demands the implementation of paid marathon-watching-of-every-episode-of-HBO’s-The-Wire time off. Closed off as we are in our gated communities and suburban compounds, white America too often turns a blind eye to the harsh realities of drug trafficking and crumbling inner-city neighborhoods.
An injunction that every individual annually undergo the 60-hour sledgehammer-to-the-face arc of violence, privation and institutionalized injustice that is modern television’s crowning achievement will be a productive means of bursting the affluence bubble.
Readers, hear me: Your time in this world is not long! By all means, contact Commissioner Fritz, Mayor Hales or your City Councilperson and express to them your support for both paid sick leave and the proposals I have outlined. Our future as a society depends upon your advocacy.