Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Remembering our past

I just recently finished Douglas Adams’ book Last Chance to See and came across this little gem of a quotation:

“You can always tell an ex-colony from the inordinate numbers of people who are able to find employment stopping anybody who has anything to do from doing it.”

Sure, he was talking about Zaire, but doesn’t it remind you of the French schools with the public service? Lest we forget, we’re an ex-colony and it takes an average of six months to get a full-time public service job. If you’ve been in Ottawa too long, that is INSANE! Especially if you’re hiring someone to answer telephones and forward e-mail. Trust me, I’ve worked in other cities, heck I’ve worked as a temp in other cities and was rewarded handsomely – not here. Here you wait and discover totally unique black holes that suck in resumes and employment prospects. Scientists and astrophysicists scoff at you but they exist, and if they look for work in Ottawa they realize I’m right and I’ll get them to name them Beige Holes. Okay that sounds a bit dirty and will probably get us a few interesting Google hits.

But seriously, those French courses are getting to be a bit ridiculous. I've heard a story about a woman who had to stop attending one of the schools because she was actually trying to learn French and was threatened by the rest of her class in the parking lot. The class was made up of much higher ups who thought she was ruining their break from work because she was, you know, eager to learn.

As for the rest of the book, it’s quite good. It’s about endangered species and his attempts to go around the world and see them. At its core though the book is about humanity and humanity’s role to play in both the protection and extinction of specific life forms. This isn’t a book written by a naturalist so there isn’t a long and detailed explanation of migration patterns or what have you but a slightly off-kilter look at human behaviour and human systems that are causing the death of these animals through our own indifference and blind jackassery. It’s written in an exceptionally approachable manner but isn’t quite as funny as those other books he’s known for, but still a very easy and enjoyable read.

No comments: