June 15, 2011

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 19:37 PM

I would like to apologize for my absence last month. I just had too much stuff going on, and it just happened to coincide with the article deadline. I was a little bit more than late, as nearly a week went by before I realized at all, and I certainly wasn’t intentionally trying to create any suspense in relation to April’s article (though I do believe I am still on sabbatical from dealing with nonsensical politics for a while.)

Sometimes, any more, I just lose track of time… It’s easy when it seems to be moving so much faster – a feeling shared by others I have spoken to on the subject. It happens, even to those who pride themselves in being conscientious and punctual (or so I am told…)

Anyhow, I have been making a much greater effort to tune out so called reality, as portrayed by those who have no real sense of it, in order to be happier and spend more time in my own. I have no more need to know about Charlie Sheen than I do about Sarah Palin, who’s on Dancing With The Stars, or what’s really going on in Japan or the Middle East…

I must say that ignorance is more blissful, at least in the short term.

Mostly because I believe that the world’s becoming a more ridiculous place, by the second, I’ve recently decided to spend more time laughing. To serve this agenda, I recently watched Craig Ferguson’s new, live stand up show. Ferguson is easily one of the funniest and most talented performers in the world, today – a master of his craft, who is also at the top of his game. The name of the show, which is like an extended version of his nightly monologue, is Does This Need To Be Said? In typical, Celtic story telling tradition, he spends over 90 minutes trying to get to the punch line of his own favorite joke, which he eventually does, as the show
concludes. I can’t repeat the joke because it’s not exactly clean. The joke, though hilarious, was not profound. However, something else he said, afterward, was. He ends the show by saying that people really need to stop and ask themselves three questions, in regard to just about any subject on which they have an opinion. First, Does this need to be said? Second, Does this need to be said by me? Third, Does this need to be said by me, now? Applying these three questions to various activities in my life made me look at some things differently, including this column.

Having been writing this column for over six years, I came to the same conclusion he said it took him three marriages to arrive at – that the answer is almost always No.

For this reason, I’m pretty sure I’m done here. Six years is a long time and, if anything, I feel like I may have overstayed my welcome. It’s not so much about me, even, as it is about letting some other people have a chance to contribute to their Local Union and the Labor Movement – letting others step up to the plate and get some swings in… I cannot be the only I.B.E.W. Local 113 member with something to say, or the only one with the ability to do it in a way that is funny or clever. (I have never met more funny and clever people in my life, collectively.) I would hope that someone else (or various others) agree and continue to contribute, on I.B.E.W. Local 113’s behalf, to this paper in the future.

I have not worked in the electrical industry since December, 2008, when an injury on the job (and this state’s fine Worker’s Compensation system) forced me to stop using the word electrician to describe what I did for a living. I’m not sure if I will ever get to where I need to be, physically, in order to resume the trade. Like many Americans, I was forced to choose my house payment over health coverage for my family. I lost one of my best friends (of over 18 years.)I got depressed but not too bitter. I believe in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, in Labor, but I’m not so sure I have any faith left in the system in which they are forced to exist and work within. I’m starting to get a little cranky pants and the fun is all but gone. When that happens, it’s best to just stop. Even if the answer to the first question is Yes, if the answer to the other two is No then it’s still time to stop. A bit of Quaker wisdom also comes to mind – Unless you can improve upon the silence… And I’m not so sure I can anymore (or how long ago I may have stopped improving upon silence.)
Thanks for the opportunity and the privilege.

Joe Collins
I.B.E.W. Local 113

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