Uncle Sam Blues

Posted: January 4, 2012 in Anecdote
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If the federal government seems to waste a lot of money these days, don’t think that’s anything new.

In the summer of 1981, I had a temporary job working at the Army supply depot in New Cumberland, PA. I made good money for the time, something like $3.85 an hour. They stuck me in something called the bill room, where several people would open envelopes containing shipment orders and put various papers in various places. Remember, this was back when most computers still filled up whole rooms and could handle less information than a cheap Flash drive.

One day, two of the women who worked in the bill room announced they had to seek some paperwork at a building called The Laundry, which once was a laundry but later became a repository for nothing but paper. The ladies told me to accompany them, in case my 6 feet, 3 inches were needed to reach materials on top shelves.

“OK, what are we looking for?” I inquired innocently when we reached our destination.

“Sit down,” they told me. “Sit down!” Once we were comfortable, they proceeded to produce a cigarette, one that looked as if it contained something other than tobacco. And on the government clock … well, let’s just say it wasn’t the most productive activity.

Thank you, Uncle Sam!

Associated listening: “Hot Tuna” by Hot Tuna (1970)


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