Government workers part of community

As did many husbands on Valentine’s Day, I took my wife to one of her favorite restaurants. That place being overcrowded, with a two hour wait predicted, we went instead to another of her favorite dining establishments.

We did not complain about the prices, nor the expectation that, with good service, we would leave a tip. We did not complain about the fact that our first choice was the site of a long waiting line. We accepted this as part of what occurs when one dines out.

A few nights ago, I stopped in Hobby Lobby to purchase supplies for a three dimensional project some of my students are working on. I did not make comment on the fact that, because I wanted a slightly better version of the product, I had to pay a bit more.

Over the weekend, I went to the hardware and got some building supplies. Even though I patronize this hardware all the time, I did not expect that, this time around, Randy ought to let me have my items for free.

Any of the above would seem patently ridiculous, were I to react in those ways. Yet we complain about services that are provided to us, for us, by state workers and federal workers, or facilities, (such as a gate fee on state parks) viewing them as somehow unfair.

As the husband of a state worker, a vocational rehabilitation counselor, some things seem obvious to me.

Government employees are not some vague and bloated amorphous “out there’, sitting in Santa Fe or Washington D.C., inhaling your tax dollars to waste.” They” are the following:

• It is the public school teacher who pays you to do her hair.

• It is the state social worker who buys his groceries at your store.

• It is the state cop who bowls with his buddies at your bowling alley.

• It is the wildlife biologist who comes to you for her medical care.

You get the picture ? There certainly are bloated bureaucrats in the state and national capitals, probably responsible for much waste, but they do not typify state employees.

While on a recent work trip to Albuquerque, my wife told me that she was verbally assaulted by a man who, on seeing her state car markings, felt it was his right to lay at her feet all of his discontent with the Land of Enchantment. Fortunately, her sense of professional decorum prevailed.

For that reason, I felt it time for an article of this type.

And, oh yeah — the next time someone feels constrained to bend my ear about the cost of a hunting and fishing license, or usage fee for public lands,

I’ll show them the invite I got for spring turkey hunting on private land.

Only $500 dollars for a three-day weekend… what a bargain.