Run! Hide! Fight!

Some tasks only seem Herculean at first glance.  Then they become impossible.  Take the one I got this morning.

“You gotta help me with this, Elyse,” said Robert, our Human Resources Manager.  “I spent the better part of a year editing and improving this, and still nobody will read it.”

“It’s our Employee Manual, Robert.  Of course nobody will read it.”

“But they need to read it,” he said.  “Otherwise the staff  won’t know when they’re breaking rules.”

I stared back at him blankly.  “I’ll see what I can do,” I said, thumbing through the four-inch binder for the first time myself.

“Give it some pizzazz, make is shoot off the page.  You know, Jazz it up!”

“Robert,” I said, holding up the tome, “this is the written equivalent of Muzak.  Elevator music.  It cannot be jazzed up!”

He looked so pitiful that I added, “I’ll see what I can do.”  Guilt gets me every time.

Robert left my office, and I plopped the Manual down on my desk and ignored it.  It was an impossible task.  So I clicked on the internets to gear myself up for drudge work.

And what to my wondering eyes should appear?  Someone else was working on their office manual and making recommendations!  Seriously!  I couldn’t believe my luck.  I knew that all I had to do was add this information to the front of the Manual and it would certainly capture everybody’s attention.  Yes, I can follow the lead of the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security!  That’s how I can jazz up our company manual.  I’ll include information on “Surviving an Active Shooter Event!” 

will certainly catch that unsuspecting new employee’s interest!

Whoo-hoo!  “I am so underpaid,” I thought.

Don’t you think this is a wise prep for life in today’s workplace?  Shouldn’t we all be trained to “Run.  Hide.  Fight”?  I don’t know about you, but “Duck and Cover” served me really well way back when.  And nothing at all happened to me then.  So clearly these Public Service Announcements work.

That’s all you need, isn’t it?  Isn’t it?

Or did I get that moral wrong?  I’m trying to remember what happened.  Let’s see.  Duck and Cover.  Duck and Cover.  Oh yeah.  That came out after the Soviet Union developed its first nuke!  When they could hit us with one too!  Me, I got my exposure to it during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October of 1962 when the threat of nuclear war was real.  Funny thing, though. Duck and Cover was actually way less effective than President Kennedy’s blockade.

And what has happened since?

Hmmm.  Let me think.  We and the Soviet Union (now Russia, in case you missed something) have been behaving ourselves, more or less.  Nuke-wise, anyway.  Because a nuclear war?  That’s unthinkable.  We all know that.

You know what else is unthinkable?  Random gun violence every day in America.  It is unthinkable that we have to worry every day that some crazy person is going to come into our offices, our schools and our movie theaters and start shooting.  And that others will defend their “freedom” to do so.

Just like governments have learned how to co-exist with nuclear weapons, we need to figure out how to get along with guns (because they, sadly, ain’t goin’ away) but without gun violence.  To me that means we need fewer guns, especially fewer of the sort that can shoot and kill lots of folks without much effort. But I am willing to compromise.

Because these other precautions?  They are closing the barn door after the horse has run out; and I for one am tired of beating that dead horse.


Filed under Childhood Traumas, Criminal Activity, Elections, Family, Gun control, Health and Medicine, History, Humor, Hypocrisy, Law, Politics, Stupidity

55 responses to “Run! Hide! Fight!

  1. Pingback: The Voice of the Problem | FiftyFourandAHalf

  2. Where does screaming come into play? Thanks, once again, for shining a light on a topic that bears much discussion.


  3. Michelle Gillies

    How sad is that we have to even consider the clip may be or may someday be part of a workplace policy manual. Just thinking about it terrifies me.


    • Isn’t that the worst part of this stuff, Michelle? That it becomes so commonplace that it can take its place in with the amount of vacation time accrued and length of the lunch hour. I am glad that I am not alone in my outrage about that.

      Thanks, Michelle!


  4. Guns aren’t going away, but maybe we can do something about those bullets. They seem to be the cause of all the trouble anyway.


  5. “Otherwise the staff won’t know when they’re breaking rules.”

    What bliss. What utter bliss.

    Throw out the book, I say!


  6. Is it just because the right to bear arms was interpreted to mean any type of gun — is that the reason that gun control feels like such a major infringement on people’s rights? Then why can’t we legally own bombs? Is it because they don’t look as cute, don’t fit into our purses and weren’t used in episodes of Gunsmoke? I don’t understand the difference. If our government says people can have any kind of gun, why can’t they have bombs too?

    Okay, I just heard an FBI file open on me.

    Obviously I don’t like the idea of people walking into stores and offices and schools carrying a bomb, so why is it okay for them to carry guns? I need the Cliff’s Notes. I am not getting this at all.


  7. I was reading, somewhere, a bit on gun control that got me thinking (I know, dangerous) We Americans are the top in gun deaths in the WORLD. Other countries have guns too, some more than we have (can you imagine?!?) and less deaths. I think the reason why is, we are a violent society. I mean, look at our movies, our television shows.. the majority are violent and angry. When you’re out in public, how many times are you bumped into without an “excuse me” but with a “Hey watch where you’re going” or worse? How many violent crimes do we see, on a daily basis, on the news or even our own streets?

    Whatever happened to common courtesy? What happened to neighbors watching out for each other? Why do we not even know our neighbors except for the noisy ones we call the cops on. Why do we call the police when a homeless person is sleeping in our alley? We are a selfish society that no longer cares about anyone besides ourselves and THAT’S why there are so many murders. Who knows, maybe that guy you flipped off just lost his wife to cancer and feels he’s got nothing left to live for and that one, rude act, just pushed him over the edge. A kind word to a stranger might just save a life…. or ten….


    • I agree with so much of what you say. Common courtesy has vanished. The one that irritates me most these days is the fact that no one in an elevator will hold the “Door Open” button. Instead, you stick your hand in the way and hope the gizmo that keeps the door from severing your arm is working, while you elbow in front of someone to press your floor, because nobody asks “what floor” any more, either.

      Some of it, too, is our cowboy mentality. Have you seen the Bill Moyers clip on the aftermath of the Aurora shootings? It is briliant:

      Maybe we’ll all think of your comment the next time we get crabby.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment, and welcome to 54.5!


  8. Robert is just more reason to curse in the workplace. No one reads the book unless they are looking to see if they get their birthday off as a paid holiday.
    That asided this post id dead on! I love when you’re on the soapbox…makes me smile.


  9. I completely agree. We need to rethink our gun laws and make it difficult to own high powered weapons and also keep mentally unstable people from carrying them around. Also the last time I heard ” Your freedom extends to the point where you are encroaching on mine”


  10. Duck and cover – brings back memories…..


  11. Detente worked with the Soviet Union because reasonable people agreed, as you said, that nuclear war was unthinkable. The thing is that there were reasonable people in charge of both countries. Does any thinking person believe that reasonable people are in charge in Iran and North Korea? That they will “honor” UN-sanctioned arms agreements?

    To me, it’s the same ultimate argument with gun control. Gun laws are followed by law-abiding citizens. Criminals – not so much. That being said, there’s got to be a better way to filter out the crazies.


    • Part of the reasonableness of the 60s and thereafter was that both sides took concessions. My fear is that with the current GOP “compromise” is a dirty word. The Soviets “blinked” in 1962 because we quietly agreed to pull the nukes we had pointed at Moscow out of Turkey and other areas from where they could take out the Soviet Union. I don’t think some of the crazies in Congress now would accept that.

      As for the guns, we will differ. Yes, criminals will continue to have them. But law-abiding citizens are not going to be keeping AK-47s in the hall closet. We need to limit sales of the guns, limit sales of ammo, limit access to these guns and start taking them out of circulation as we can. There is only one purpose for these things.


  12. Hello, I nominated your blog for an award– More info can be found here:
    Please don’t feel obligated to accept. I just wanted to pass on some appreciation for your great work.


  13. Our son’s high school held a lock-down drill every year in order to prepare students and teachers for a shooting incident. The only problem is that shooters are completely unpredictable — you don’t know how many there will be, or where they’ll go. Also, if the shooter is a student, he knows all about the drill and where everyone is likely to hide. The only answer I can think of is having a single entrance with a metal detector, and some kind of automatic gate or door that closes when the metal detector tells it to. Once an armed person is wandering the halls, it’s too late, especially if they don’t really care who they kill.


    • There is also no way to predict how individuals will react. People you expect to act logically don’t. (I was once in a meeting with a bunch of incredibly bright doctors when someone fainted. Did they take care of her? No. They called a nurse…)

      Your point that you can’t stop an armed person wandering the halls wanting to kill is very true. That’s why we should stop making it so easy for them. Yes, there are other WMDs, but generally they don’t fit in your pocket.


  14. Okay that video scared the sh*t out of me. If I saw that an orientation, I think I would leave immediately. I am really tired of people protecting the right of others to be armed with weapons that can fire off hundreds of rounds in a few seconds. Keep these posts coming.


    • I agree, Speaker7 — if I saw that on my first day I would head straight to the unemployment line. “What sort of place is this?” would be my first and only thought on my way out the door, hopefully avoiding all shooters.

      I would like to stop writing about gun control, actually, but the news doesn’t seem to let me. I do need a break for a bit, though, I think.


  15. My fav line … the written equivalent to Muzak. That’s a classic. Also reminded me of the stuff I had to read for a temporary job on an AIr Force base. Whew … a full day’s worth!


  16. bigsheepcommunications

    And remember, you can bring assault rifles and weapons of mass destruction to work with you, but don’t run down the hall with scissors – someone might get hurt!


  17. I am shocked the City of Houston hasn’t said, bring your own gun to the party. This is Texas after all, we have open carry and free for all stand your ground laws here.


  18. I guess the handbooks are a legal necessity. I always smile when renquired to sign the back of one acknowledging that I’d received it. The only stime I’d ever read it was to check how much vacation time I should get.


  19. Great video. Didn’t really help the three in the lobby though.
    As always, you make excellent points Elyse. Hope the rest of the country catches up.


  20. John Erickson

    I think you identified a key area of security, and you didn’t even realise it. You keep closing the door after THE BEATEN DEAD HORSE has left. You’ve discovered …. (dramatic music) …. THE ZOMBIE HORSE APOCALYPSE!!!!!! 😀
    And that’s the ONLY good reason I can find for owning an assault rifle. Well, that, or being a Chicagoan in the middle of redneck country….. 😉


    • Is there nothing that gets by you, John?


      • John Erickson

        Only incoming weapons’ fire, if I’m lucky. 😉


        • I hope, truly, that you will never be in the wrong place at the wrong time, John.


          • Actually, I have been once, hence the comment about being lucky. A friend I had (back in Chicago) lived just a few blocks from Cabrini Green – basically 3 multi-story slums, infamous for multiple slayings per week per building. I was walking past one day, when I heard a series of firecrackers going off – or so I thought. That night’s evening news spoke about a multiple-shooter exchange of fire, with shots crossing the street into the walls of the opposite buildings – JUST AS I WAS WALKING PAST! 😯
            Like I said, only incoming fire gets past me, if I’m lucky – and I once was. I hope it’s the last time!


  21. The dreaded employee handbook… how many trees have died over the years for such under-apreciated paper. 🙂

    Your ‘Duck & Cover’ clip reminds me of the documentary “The Atomic Cafe”, which, if you haven’t seen, you should — it’s especially good with a glass or two of wine.

    On another note: I don’t know why you popped into my mind when I watched this clip from “The Newsroom”, but, I did. You’ve probably seen it, but, just in case, it’s worth seeing: (You know that I don’t just randomly post links to my blog….), and feel free to delete it from your comments… (after you watch the clip, of course. ) 🙂


    • Oh, John, thanks for the clip. I actually like it when folks link to their pieces. It’s part of the give and take. So I will not take it down!

      I haven’t seen the Newsroom. It came on just as I was going away, I recorded it and haven’t watched it, but want to. Thanks for the reminder. Now I am off to see your post/clip.

      Thanks for stopping by!


  22. You nailed it. Great post!


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