Friday, June 24, 2011

Captain Snafu, CPP versus "The Finger"

"In fact, one thing that I have noticed... is that all of these conspiracy theories depend on the perpetrators being endlessly clever. I think you'll find the facts also work if you assume everyone is endlessly stupid."

Dear Readers,

 I've been spending a lot of time reflecting on the value of an education and whether what we get magically equates to what we put in to it. Does an education better prepare us for the workplace?  Yes, in fact it does. But sometimes, it's the silly pranks you played outside of class that best prepare you for navigating group dynamics.

 I have been working on a major project this year that will revolutionize a process that should have always been just a little bit simpler. Like using office paper before papercuts became an unbearable occupational hazard. A key tool in collecting data for this project requires the use of biometric clocks. We're not scanning retinas; that's too dangerous. We don't want anyone losing an eye. Full body scans were out of the question, because really, this isn't the CIA. We didn't go with a full hand scan,  but instead went with just a finger. Because let's face it, any finger will do, but which finger do you really want to give your employer at the beginning and end of your day? Yep, that one.

I am a college educated professional who soon will have a Master's degree. I have FPC and CPP certifications, both of which were supposed to prepare me to be a wise, ethical, SMART cookie who can intelligently solve any problem you have under my realm of expertise. And yet, I still find myself in the middle of conversations, serious in nature, on biometric mysteries that are truly baffling. Below is a list of questions and comments pulled from an actual meeting regarding biometric issues.

1. Are you punching and giving it the finger?  You have to do both. Otherwise it just can't take it.
2. Which finger are you using?
3. Are you sure that's the primary finger?  Which finger do you use for back-up?
4. Are you warming up first?
5. How many times did you punch and where did you punch it?
6. Have you tried punching and giving it the finger from different locations?
7. If it worked to punch it and give it the finger in the kitchen, it should work in public safety. 
8. You shouldn't be penalized for punching and giving the finger in public safety; that just doesn't make sense.
9. Did you try your toe?  Any toe should work. Just take your socks off first. (That is, of course, assuming you have feet.)
10. Some fingers are more sensitive than others, and punches in some areas are also more sensitive than others. Be careful. We should put signs up warning people.

So, to the people who write the CPP exam, I would say you did nothing to prepare me for the shenanigans involving punching and giving the finger. Is that a separate certification?  Who teaches those courses?  All that matters is you are giving me 28 credits towards maintaining the CPP, which partially makes up for having to pretend to be serious through all of this.  

Needless to say, everyone has days where they feel not even a doctoral degree could prepare them for the problem they are tasked with solving. Today is one of those days. To Paul, I am grateful. Thanks for the short time together teaching me how to box. Never did I imagine I'd need instruction on how to truly fight, how to punch, and find the inner sass  I'd need to give my employer the finger. (I chose my index.)

In the endless battle of Captain Snafu vs The Finger, I'd say the captain always wins; assuming she has good friends to keep her grounded, and laugh not only when appropriate but when it is completely inappropriate to do so.

And to the one who asked how I make it through without immediately laughing out loud, the answer is I pray. Sometimes too much, sometimes not enough.  


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