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The Edge

Badges

   
Bob Mace
   

“We don’t need no stinking badges man!”

The Blazing Saddles quote comes to mind while perusing a catalog of idiot Christmas gifts from an importer company of which nobody’s ever heard. Offered is a set of various holiday themed clips that fit on a lanyard holding an ID card. Having an ID card is the latest craze for mega-corporations and organizations that specialize in government services, education or health care.

Everybody is issued a photo ID and a plastic key programmed to open only certain doors. The Edge considers the case of the Missouri License Bureau that is open to the public. Why does every employee wear a necklace of identification? Logic dictates this reminds “civilians” that employees of the taxpayer are more important than the taxpayer standing in the lines.

The Edge recalls the ironic old humor that asks who is the most important person in the room? One guy has a key to every locked door in the White House the other doesn’t have any keys. The point made was that the prior served as janitor; the latter, POTUS.

While using their benefits, off-duty airline employees wear their “Crew” necklaces to avoid being hassled over boarding with four suitcases for the overhead compartments, a pizza, a flagon of orange juice and a two-gallon bottle of water. On one recent flight The Edge –instructed to place one item overhead and the other beneath a seat– overhears one such credentialed employee explain she, was a gate agent off on a family visit. She carried aboard three valises and consumable provisions for a month.

Members of Congress must one-up the staff people who work for them. Necklace badges are supplanted by the “Member of Congress” lapel pin. Over the years, the pin has become larger to the point of resembling an enamelpainted pie plate.

A visit to Chrysler World Headquarters these days entails –after submitting to the metal detector– signing an affidavit swearing that the emergency evacuation video has been viewed and understood. Only then is a generic “visitor” badge with lanyard issued - to be worn at all times. Given the level of entry access security it would seem that all persons not wearing the official photo ID badge of the realm must be visitors.

Departing some community event still attached to a little paper sticker proclaiming, “Hello My Name is The Edge,” should be considered a breach of coolness. Conversely, primary school teacher’s assistants (They always dress in a pair of used to be fashionable Capri pants) don their SPS identifying adornments in the aisles at Walmart assuming in pretense the inferred authority of a CSI technician arriving at a crime scene.

The Edge offers condolences to those not breast fed as infants; to the people with the please notice me obnoxious ring tones. It’s better to seek counseling than to subject fellow humans to those, “Hi I’m Important,” badges.

While The Edgelett was attending Glendale High School, her parents’ largest expenditure wasn’t for clothing or food, rather dollars spent replacing –almost daily– the photo ID badge required for attending classes. It’s more than a little ironic that the school system employs truancy people to enforce legal mandates that everyone of age attends classes but refuses admittance to same without the badge.

There’s a poignant civics lesson here too. One wonders if bureaucratic synapses ever chemically arise to tickle the brains of officialdom with the question: If 13-year old girls from all socio-economic backgrounds can handle procuring and producing daily a photo ID, why the Hell shouldn’t adult registered voters be expected do the same on election days?

E-mail Bob Mace: bmace@cfpmidweek.com.


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