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May 19th, 2009

29 years ago today, I walked into New Employee Orientation at International Business Machines, where I enjoyed a 28-year career that ended on my own terms on September 12, 2008.

I read more of Dewey on the bus on the way in. Each driver seems to have a different idea of exactly where the bus should stop around the detour that's going on in the area in which I get off the bus in the mornings.



I had a morning full of meetings today, with a team meeting from 9:00-10:00, a Service Catalog Planning meeting from 10:30-11:30, and a lunch meeting that consisted of a presentation from our HR department about the changes to the State Health Plan, which are going into effect in the next fiscal year, which starts July 1, 2009.

I thought the benefits guy did a good job starting off his presentation by acknowledging and diffusing the emotion in the room. He said something to the effect of, "It's never easy to have to get up in front of a room and talk to people about their health benefits when the fact is that the coverage is being reduced and the cost is going up. But, that's the gist of the message I'm delivering today."

He then went on to remind us that though we work for the university, we are actually state employees, and it's the state legislature that decides on our benefits. "With that said, here are the details of the changes..." he continued.

As he related the changes, it was interesting to watch the way various people in the room reacted to the news. One lady, sitting to my left and across the aisle, sat the entire time with her lips pursed, brow furrowed, and shaking her head back and forth. All that negativity—you can see what it did to her from her before and after picture. Now click on the "Facts Covered in the Presentation" box to see what changed as a result of her ruminations.

Facts
Covered
in the
Presentation


Exactly.

When the presenter talked about the part where—starting next year (not this July, but July 2010)—in order to get out of the 70/30 (cheapest and least coverage) plan and into the 80/20 plan, we'll have to sign something attesting to the fact that we don't use tobacco products, the guy to my left said, "You mean to tell me that if, once a month when I go fishing and light up a nice cigar for the day, which is the only time I smoke them, I won't be able to attest that I don't use tobacco products?"

Last I heard, cigars were tobacco products.

People!

Next in the presentation, was the notice about losing weight by the following year, 2011—and if you don't meet certain criteria (yet to be determined; it would appear that the BMI method has lost favor), you will also be automatically placed in the 70/30 plan (a.k.a. in this context as the "Fat as Fuck Plan").

Someone else chimed in, "What's next? Alcohol?"

To which another added, "What about unprotected sex? That's expensive to society, too!"

Once again the man next to me, shook his head and re-iterated: "I can't believe I'm going to have to give up cigars while I'm fishing."

I had to bite my tongue from saying, "Well you could give up fishing."

When the presentation concluded, the Q&As got even more detestable with various questions starting off with phrases such as:

  • Well, I have diabetes, so when I get an eye exam...

  • One time when I called about getting both a mammogram and my bone density checked...

  • I have this large...
and at that point I thought of this "secret tweet" I saw yesterday:

My wife has had a large hemorrhoid since college. One day I jokingly called it "Henry," and oddly enough, now we both do.

People, please! Enough of your personal situations! Everyone, please move directly to the acceptance and embracing phase of change.



I took a survey today in which, at the end where they ask you demographic questions, I came across this one:


Huh? Is that some new-fangled thing you straight people are doing? I have no idea what that even means, much less if I'm doing it.



On the way home, the bus passed right by me, as there still is no officially designated bus stop on this detour to know where to stand. I started flailing my arms, and I guess someone on the bus saw me, as the bus stopped after it turned the corner on which I was standing. Ridiculous.



Casey made some most delicious spaghetti and meatballs for dinner this evening, and we had Joe over to join us. We had steamed broccoli and some toasted garlic bread with it. It was all good.

Joe and I went down to Flex for just about an hour, and played three or four games of pool. The place was absolutely dead.

At about 10:00, the bartender told us about this club down the street that had recently started something like a "gay night" or "alternative night" on Tuesdays. We figured we'd walk down to check it out, but also figured that we were probably too shabbily dressed to get in, as we both had on shorts.

As we approached the door to the place, we saw a doorman sitting outside the door with a long-sleeved shirt and tie on, which confirmed exactly what we had suspected. Oh well. Business must be good to turn down a perfectly functioning credit card based solely on the elevation of their noses. Their loss.

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