Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Democrats want us all to perform community service

Yes, indeed, a nice Utopian idea.

It just so happens that I am one of the world's leading experts on community service. "Community service," in New Jersey, meant that people convicted of minor offenses (generally drunk driving) had to serve a certain number of hours in some community agency in lieu of going to jail. We got a lot of them in the library.

The first, and best, community service guy I ever had was George, who had been convicted of drunken driving. George was the Pavarotti of handymen, who could fix anything around the library. I could understand why George drank. He was painfully shy. If anyone ever needed Dutch courage, it was George. He must have had a number of violations because we had him forever. He fixed the flooring in the office. He painted the bathrooms. I forget what else, but he was a pleasure to have around, and after a while he could actually look at us when we spoke to him. I think he got to like us. When we ran out of jobs for him to do, we tried to loan him to Borough Hall, and he hated it. When he had completed his community service, we had a little coffee and donuts party for him.

The next guy showed up for work drunk and passed out on our front lawn. He told his probation officer that he had been poisoned by the chemicals we put on the lawn. We didn't put chemicals on the lawn, we barely had enough money to pay the staff their starvation wages.

The next community server seemed okay, not great but okay. I found out later that he had spent much of his time sexually harassing the teenage girl pages in the mezzanine.

After him came Ahmed. Ahmed (this was before cell phones) kept receiving phone calls in the library. Apparently he was running some kind of business on our time, and people kept coming to the library to see him. He would take them in the back room to chat. Ahmed was kind of creepy, and I soon got rid of him so we could use our phones to conduct library business. His probation officer told me he had been convicted of forging passports and driver's licenses for illegals. Even in those days before 9/11, I didn't like it and didn't like him.

Next came a young college student who had been caught shoplifting. She came in and put our reference books in order and was heard no more of.

My friend in a neighboring library had better luck. All the teachers had gone out on an illegal strike, and the judge ordered them to work in her library. They did a great job of putting the books in order.

Most of the people who were ordered to perform community service thought it was a joke, but I was serious in trying to find work for them to do. With the exception of George, it was more trouble than it was worth to find something for them to do which needed doing and to get any work out of these lazy slackers.

So please excuse me if I don't get real excited about everyone performing community service. Unless they want to go and do it in a third world country, far, far from me.


The Sanity Inspector said...

I always wished we would be sent some nice, sharp, *literate* white-collar crooks, instead of the human flotsam we invariably got.

miriam said...

You too?

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