Why Colonel Sartoris?

Allow me to explain the puzzling title. Colonel Sartoris is William Faulkner's greatest character. He exemplifies those values that his society cherishes, namely tradition, patriarchy, courtliness, and courage. Though modernity's slow march tries to strip him of these things, Sartoris continues to live as he always has, knowing that "the past is never dead. It's not even past." He seeks order in the honorable folkways and mores of his forbears. Let us not forget his example.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Passive-Aggressive Conversations I Wish I Had: The Tow-Truck Dispatcher/AAA

[Setting: my office-building.  Outside, 8:30pm.  Of course, a storm--a torrential storm--has started to envelop us.  I am looking at a huge flatbed truck pulled up out front, and the driver is apologizing for being dispatched out here to a parking garage with a maximum clearance of 6 feet, 6 inches.  (NOTE: In real life, the guy couldn't have been nicer, and it wasn't his fault.)  I walk back inside the building, take the elevator back upstairs to my office, and call Triple A back.]

Mabes:  Yes, hi.  I just spoke with someone there recently about dispatching a technician and perhaps a tow truck my way . . .

AAA phone jockey:  Sir, are you in a safe place?

Mabes:  Yes, yes.  I'm fine.  Anyway, we just spoke . . .

AAA:     Sir, can I please have your member number?

Mabes:   Uh, yes.  It's ________________.

AAA:      Okay, thank you, sir.  And I see you just called us and a tow truck is on its way to you.

Mabes:    That's right.  It . . .

AAA:      Has the two truck not arrived?

Mabes:    I appreciate your thoroughness.  No, it's here.  I think that I might have mentioned it this last time, but I think I was fairly specific that I was at my office building, and that I was underground in a parking garage.

AAA:    Hold on, please; let me pull up your notes . . .

Mabes:   Well, it's okay now, but I said that because the ceilings are very low, and . . .

AAA:     Oh, yes!  We did put that down.

Mabes:    Well, I'm sure I should have been clearer, maybe, but I believe I mentioned a flat-bed and how that may not work?

AAA:     Well, we did not put that down, but we sure did note that you were in a low, underground parking deck.

Mabes:   Oh.  Okay.  Well, there's a very large flat-bed tow-truck outside right then.  And I mentioned specifically an electrical problem, right?

AAA:     Yes, it appears that you did!

Mabes:   Okay, well, because . . . you sent a flat-bed tow truck, but I don't think you sent a technician.  I mean, I could be wrong, but I was under the impression that you were sending one.

AAA:    Uh, let me check . . .

Mabes:   Oh, you don't worry about it.  The two-truck driver has already called his dispatcher and is requesting just a pickup truck with jumper cables, so that's okay.  I just wanted to double-check that I did in fact specify that the ceiling was very low, that a flat-bed might not work, and that I was possibly having electrical system problems?

AAA:  Yes, sir, actually . . .

Mabes:   Okay, thanks.  I just wanted to double-check!  I will call you if I need any further help.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Big Oil: Meet Bain Capital

Big Oil, meet Bain Capital.  Just when you thought you had the won the war on the middle class and the environment, this upstart private equity firm unseats you from your self-proclaimed pedastal of Machiavellian backroom fatcat machinations.

Big Oil, is this amateur hour?!  Bain Capital is serious about wrecking the middle class and forcing people out of work.  You guys, though--what with your high-paying blue-collar jobs and quest for energy independence--are frankly giving a tad too much more than you take these days.

And the public has noticed.  Come on . . . if you're serious about being the arch-villain of the socio-political landscape, you need to step it up a little.  Ties between the White House, Halliburton, and the House of Saud?!  Puh-LEASE.   That is SO 2002. 

This is a full decade later, Big Oil.  We've advanced.  We're a post-Great-Recession society, and we've read Michael Lewis.  And, frankly, fracking is just too understandable and passe to really arouse any public interest.  We've got Main Street vs. Wall Street on our minds, not Main Street vs. Permian Basin divide.

But I've got some steps you can take:

1) Find some old tax returns from 2000-2008 that list Dick Cheney as some sort of director or manager.
2) Announce that you'll maybe close or consolidate a refinery, preferably one in a small town.  Better yet--sell it to China. (Even Bain didn't think of that!)
3) Maybe have find some way to drill a dry well, but still turn a profit.  I'm sure it can be done.