Friday, September 08, 2006


Solace Grub eyed the label in his hand with growing suspicion. It was a simple yellow 2X4 label printed in black block letters. It stated succinctly "BAG CLOSURE". The label itself was harmless but what it signified in a deeper sense was a pervasive rot. This was change and change was bad. As a grumbling conservative Solace was not known for his adaptability to new and improved practices. In his job at the Scourge Lab in a sprawling defense complex Mr. Grub weathered the waves of change with the grace of an NFL defensive tackle doing ballet. He was currently doing his ungainly pas de deux amongst a hurricane Katrina force tsunami of changes that battered the 9th ward levy of his senses.

It was just a label. One little label from a roll of 500. One little roll from a case of 20. One little case from a pallet of 40. One little pallet of a shipment of 200 that was dispersed to 8 manufacturing facilities in 4 states and distributed one roll at a time to 12000 desks at a cost of 1.7 million dollars per year. The intent of the label was Practical enough: Peel the label and use it to tape shut the anti-static bag used to envelope sensitive electronic components and keep them from being damaged by nasty evil static electricity.

It was merely a label. One of many contracted for in the latest company craze of mandating the labeling of Items in order to simplify the identification of that items purpose. "But really" groaned Solace "The tape we used at a cost of $70,000 dollars per year did a better job and could be cut to the length proper to the size of the bag". In the Six Sigma mandated meeting he bemoaned the fact that: "Look it is on a bag. It is closing the bag. It is in fact a bag closure. Labeling it as such does not amplify that effect. If a piece of tape is acting as a bag closure is not its purpose as manifest as the nose upon the face of Jimmy Durante at a wine tasting event next door to a rendering plant?" (Solace was well known for his being able to torture a metaphor until it spewed funk upon the audience like a rabid skunk with diarhea after consuming a row of cabbages. Listening to people who use bad metaphors is sort of like having a dead platypus chained around your neck....sure it sounds interesting but it gets old quick). He no longer gets invited to Six Sigma sessions. No great loss to him.

As he turned the label side to side and contemplated what it spelled he briefly considered pasting it over the mouth of the old and belicose female manager who booted him from the last meeting. "Hmmm...bag appropriate. " He shook his head to clear the thought and sauntered down to his co-worker Oscar Bugle.

"You know Oscar, this company is becoming enmired in beauracracy and losing its agility and common sense at the top" he mused.

Oscar who was going through his midlife crisis and attempting to contact old school chums on the internet despite the fact that there may have been some reason they had not contacted him for 28 years chimed in with the irrelevant fact "You know that reminds me, my 1st grade teacher was Ms. Uhmmm."

"Ms. Uhmmm, very nice but can't you see that the company is in the decline phase? You know young agile company starts up with great innovation then gets too many employees and starts to regulate, then begins to over-regulate due to ever increasing beauracracy at the top and authorization requirments that kill agility since 10 levels of management have to sign off on every purchase or idea. Then they move on to making sure all of the employees are perfect little replicas like there was a Borg Clause in the signing contract....are you listening to me?

"Uhhhh...Yeah sure, Borg n' stuff but check out this teacher my son had ten years ago. She has her own web page!"

"O' blue crags" muttered Solace who was also noted for his colorful non profane explitives. "Remember the passive aggressive guy who works down in antennas?"

"Yeah" answered Oscar tentatively.

"Well he labeled everything just to show them. Wall, floor, stapler, keyboard, spectrum analyzer, pen, pencil...."


"So...So...It is not so far from where this company may go"


"So...errh...yeah that teacher is hot. If you e-mail her I will tell your wife. "

"O' glue crabs" muttered Oscar paraphrasing one of Solaces' incomprehensible pet expletives.

"So how about those Cincinnatti Bengals?"