A word from “Zeb” Zobenica

Reader “Zeb” Zobenica writes to comment on the OWS phenomenon:

Watching, and listening to, the #OWS crowd on TV provoked a “flashback” to the time I was readying myself to enter the corporate world.

I was a Marine jet pilot with an engineering degree, a wife, two young kids, a dog…and a cane. After sixteen months of “paint and repair” at a naval hospital following a plane crash, and an additional half-year of rehab, it was decided that I would never sit in an ejection seat again. It was time to meet a new challenge, sell myself to strangers…and put “grits” on the table with a pay check earned in the private sector.

While listening to the #OWS protestors, the realization that “these people are clueless” reverberated between my tinnitus-challenged ears. Memories harkened me back to the approach I used when confronted with job-seeking. Career change preparation included choosing where I wanted to live, proximity to extended family, salary considerations for a person with my education and experience. Research was done on several potential employers in the aerospace industry…corporate structure, plant locations, product lines, customers, hiring and layoff cycles, and an assessment of what I could contribute to their “war effort.” Letters were written expressing an interest in their company and stating confidently the belief that I would be an asset to their corporation. The interviews that followed revealed a candidate in a gray business suit, tie, spit-shined shoes, hands and hair groomed, who knew something about the outfit he was hoping to work for, yet faced with the need to assure an employer that my gimpiness would not affect job performance.

Fast forward to #OWS. Is this what the self-esteem movement has produced? Everybody gets a Happy Face? Nobody keeps score? There are no winners and losers? Trophies are for showing up? This is a “me” generation on steroids. They pursued academic degrees that promised little or no return on the investment and now find themselves deeply in debt…Where was the parental advice? School counselors? Was there no consideration given to job opportunities in the field, salaries offered, or a perfunctory cost-benefit analysis performed? Did they not understand that, unless one’s applying for a job in a tattoo parlor or a chop-shop, body paint and piercings are not frequently found in the market place? To most employers, such appurtenances suggest a person with issues, consumed with self, an in-your-face personality who may not play well with others. Real life has owners, bosses, and co-workers who are not impressed with ear lobes festooned with “bagels” nor with potential employees who make a habit of reminding others of their rights. The wise human resources manager avoids these sea-lawyers like the plague. Out-of-court settlements are now a cottage industry and it’s wise to keep these entitlement-gurus off the company payroll.

Zuccotti Park, in microcosm, took on the characteristics of a bacterial colony in a Petri dish. The population starts small, there is space, and plenty to eat. As the numbers multiply, demand for nutrition increases, and the by-products of consumption began to accumulate, inevitably leading to a toxic environment and disease. Street lesson #1…every organism, whether biological or physical, in order to function, requires a source of energy and produces waste. Chardonnay and pasta become piss and crap; gasoline becomes exhaust. It must be dealt with. It is a local issue affecting those in the Petri colony. It is not of planetary concern. Once handed-off to Gaia, she is well prepared to process what is produced.

Free food, or for that matter, free anything, attracts freeloaders, even in a Zuccotti Utopia. The workload on the gourmet cooks increased and they soon felt put upon. The chefs, after toiling for 18 hours daily, said enough is enough. Street lesson #2…there is no such thing as a free lunch. There exists among our species lazy, slothful slackers who demand access to the fruits of someone else’s labor. It’s hard-coded in the DNA.

Societies require organization; divisions of labor; systems to produce, manage, and allocate resources, resolve differences, and provide security. This means some become money managers, others collect trash. Some become bureaucrats, others stand before them with hat-in-hand. Who, or what, determines which role individual utopians get to play? Merit? Muscle? Big stick? Bloods or Crips? Street lesson #3…life isn’t fair.

“Give peace a chance? Can’t we all get along?” Apparently not. Utopia had to come to grips with stolen laptops, broken drums, rapes, and murder. Street lesson #4…there is a reason that cities have police departments and nations have armies. “Kumbaya” is a song, not a policy.

It may be said, simply and forthrightly, that “life is about choices and choices have consequences.” This common sense slogan was apparently not taught to the #OWS crowd along the way. They’ve shown the world their tats, tits, lobes, and asses. We’ve heard their bongos, read their signs, and smelled their garbage, ‘grass’, urine, and excrement.

We, the real 99%, are not impressed!

R.M. “Zeb” Zobenica
Capt., USMC (Ret.)

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