Half-Assed Stop-Gaps

There are a spectrum of people who refuse to bend to the whims of logic. A group who are defiant for the sake of defiance. People who will buy a gun, wait for the background check, then use said gun to shoot off their toe just to not have to admit that the doctor was right about their toe having frostbite.

This is the environment in which I work.

I work in a city-owned building. This is where I learned that “lowest bidder” should be a curse word. Lowest bidder is much more offensive than any combination of four-letter-words that you can conjure in your darkest moments. This deathly fear of “wasting” tax payer money in the immediate is so short sighted that it leads to syphoning off tax payer money like a human-sized mosquito that slowly sucks your blood until you’re dead, all the while making eye contact, saying, “this is okay, it’s fine, everything is okay, don’t worry about it.”

This short-sightedness plagues me, and us.

In my building we have inoperable air conditioning and heating. During the summer the city used giant portable a/c units that I’m certain over time cost them more money than fixing the problem. Now, again, instead of fixing the problem, they have rented giant heating units.

Actual picture of the heating unit that is hardwired into the electrical panel.

When you factor in the rental costs, installation, electricity bills, and risk (we have to leave open the doors to our offices, in case you wanted to loot a bunch of really old Dell laptops), it would be cheaper to just fix the HVAC units. But, you know, when you can differ the costs, spreading them out over several ledger items rather than one big lump sum that you have to explain, it’s more attractive to add a salve  rather than a splint.

It’s like someone with a giant, hairy, cancerous mole on their face spending money on tweezers and makeup rather than going to a dermatologist. All of the evidence is there to make a logical decision that would best serve the future interests of the entity as a whole. Yet, they won’t do it because sometimes it’s easier to walk on that limp and hope it goes away rather than go to the doctor and risk amputation.

Go ahead, alcoholic, switch to downing 15 light beers a night. Don’t worry about that strange growth on your nether regions, just rub some lotion on it, it’ll be fine.

It’s this general attitude of, “I’m not paying to fix that, just because someone told me to,” that enrages me. This defiance of evidence, an anger at putting yourself at the mercy of others, that frustrates me. I get it, it sucks to have to make that large purchase, giving in to that feeling of helplessness, relinquishing control, but sometimes, you can’t fix everything. Sometimes you need the help of others. Sometimes you have to write the big check instead of having to write a baker’s dozen little checks. It takes foresight and a bit of humility, but the alternative is like using baby powder instead of taking a shower.


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  1. For the past year, I’ve been working out of the county law library building two days a week. There’s currently no heat. Apparently, because other buildings around there (the criminal courts building, the jury asembly building, etc.) are higher priorities than the law library, we’re not having the issue addressed yet. The problem with that logic is that there are no people currently working in those other buildings, but there are people working in the law library building. Why make the the buildings no one is in the priority?

    So everyone is in gloves, winter coats, and four layers of socks.

    Maybe they assume it won’t be a problem anymore when it warms up. But problems don’t usually take care of themselves when left unaddressed.

    Except when I have a pain in my body. Then I can walk it off. Bones heal on their own, eventually.


  2. Debra She Who Seeks January 15, 2018 — 11:34 am

    You have summed up EXACTLY the short-sighted thinking process of government.


  3. My office recently had a battle over whether they should stop providing us with coffee, and I guarantee you the time spend on 10000 convos about it ended up costing WAY more money than the $600/year they spend on bulk coffee. It was crazy. (The person who led the charge, incidentally, is a former gov’t worker who thrives in bureaucracy.) I feel ya.


  4. Really makes you wonder what is with those who think it is better to do these stupid things instead of just fixing the problem


  5. In the name of pride, people will pay or do anything…that makes them look foolish.


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