Sally Druthers table of contents.


Dear Nick ...

A letter from Sally Druthers

The total workplace; plus the sun and the planets

July 28, 2017

Dear Nick —

I'm sorry to have been so long in getting back to you. I got a really scary message after I talked to you about robots, so I'm not going to talk about them anymore.

I'm also sorry to hear about your telephone service, but it turns out I couldn't have called you anyway. I don't have a cell phone anymore — not since they got smart — and you remember pay phones? They took them out, too. Really, the only way I can talk to anyone is to use this clunky computer they have in the library, and my time on it has been restricted ever since I wandered into some area of the Internet my doctor says I should avoid, on account of it's too dark or something.

Anyway, I've been listening to my radio — yeah! they still let me use that — and my doctor says it's good for me as long as we talk about what I hear and he has a chance to help me put my shows ... what was that phrase he used? ... oh yeah, "into context."

And he's started visiting your website, too, since I mentioned it to him, because he thinks it's a good idea to get to know some of my friends. I don't really have very many. I guess he and you are just about my best friends. I think he really likes it, because he smiles a lot when we talk about it.

Now, about these radio shows I listen to. I hear lots of talk about health care. I can't get very interested in all that, because I have my health care right here where I live. But I get the idea that most people get it where they work. That's funny, because I work where I get my health care. (Look at that! I made a joke!) But it's true. There's some outdoor work I signed up for when my doctor said I need some sun, and we work real hard out on the highway. I wear shorts and these orange things over my tank top, and I've gotten a really nice tan. I'd send you a photo, except this computer won't let me send attachments and I don't have that kind of phone anyway. But let me tell you, I think you'd like it.

Anyway, I got to thinking. If people are getting their insurance through their jobs, and they're able to save money for retirement through their jobs (and some people like me live at their jobs), why not do everything that way? I know it's a real convenience. I don't have to have a car and that's good for the planet, and you know I'm all about the planet. I keep hoping one day we'll get some rings like some of the others, but I guess that's not going to happen any time soon.

But think about it. Where I work, we get our meals. Why doesn't everyone? And we get light bulbs and last time I told you about the hair dresser we have, so I don't have to go out for that. She's awfully good and she fixes my hair so it looks really cute with my tan. We even get computers, and though they're not the best computers, still it's so cool not having to ever call some guy in Indiana where you live to get things working when you get an upgrade or new software. I know that guys in Indiana have to work and live somewhere, and I don't want to seem like I don't care about them, but if they lived where they work, it wouldn't be so hard to find a job once people didn't need to call them anymore. We get our clothes here and like I said, there's a library. It's not a very good one: they never seem to have any of the books on the list you sent me several years ago before I came here. I keep putting in requests for them, but there's always some problem about getting them, and my doctor says I shouldn't keep bringing it up.

I wonder if it would be all right if you sent me a few? Other people get "care packages" here, and like I said, I don't have many friends. So if you could help me, that would be so great. But I don't want to be a burden, so if it's a problem for you, it's okay because I'm all about not being a problem. I learned that the hard way, believe me.

Anyway, it seems like what I have here is a really great arrangement, and other people should be trying it, and maybe you could write something about it. I think people would be a lot happier. We have a movie theater and classes and a chapel for people who believe ... well, I'm not sure what they believe, but it seems important to them ... and a garden where some of the people I live with like to sit or work. I never do, because I like working out on the highway, even if the work gets pretty hard sometimes.

I have everything I need here, Nick. It's almost heaven, except when my doctor says I've done something I shouldn't, and then I have to get more medicine and I lose some privileges and that sucks. But I'm learning not to be a problem around here. And I think everyone should try living this way. One of my friends I never hear from anymore said it's like I was experiencing Stockholm. Or something like that.

Really! I don't even have to make my own bed if I don't want to. People should get everything through their jobs, and then they wouldn't have to worry about so much. I'll bet they really want to — not worry, but get everything through their jobs — but I think a lot of employers are just mean and don't want to help them live better lives, so they just give them money or something and tell them to figure things out themselves instead of helping them. I don't think that's very caring. It's like what my Aunt Sally — I was named after her, you know — used to do on my birthday and Christmas. She just gave me money and told me to buy something I wanted, but I didn't know what I wanted. I was always hoping she would give me something nice and then I'd understand that I wanted it. It's like she never really gave any thought to me, which was just selfish of her. I mean, I love her and all that, but still ... It's just like mean employers who don't give any thought to what the people who work for them want or need. And it would be good for the employers, too, because if they were taking care of everybody who worked for them, they wouldn't be so mean and I think they'd be happier, don't you?

I know you used to read a lot of history, so you should be able to help me with something. It seems to me that I once heard of countries in Europe or somewhere that were caring about the people who lived there and made sure they had everything they needed, so that they didn't have to worry or try to figure out what they needed. But then something happened and those countries just disappeared and angry people killed everyone who worked in the government. Is that true? Were there such countries? Boy! it sounds like a really good idea, and maybe the people who take care of me here know about that stuff. That's probably where they got the idea.

Maybe I should ask my doctor about them — the countries I mean.

Anyway, I've just about used up all my computer time for this six-week period, so I'm going to have to go. Kisses to you, and don't forget about those books if it's not a lot of trouble.




Strakon replies, carefully focusing on planetology.

Dear Sally —

That's brilliant, old friend! By the way, it's great to hear from you again. I'd gotten a little worried. But anyway what I'm referring to is your idea about the Earth's getting rings. Surely the Governments of the World could make that happen. After all, government can do anything! Would rings be easier to manufacture if the Authorities promoted the Global Climate Warming Change or whatever it's called instead of prohibiting it? That's something you could look up in that library. They may not have books about liberty or free-market economics or Western culture or revisionist history, but I'll bet they have books about Science.

Just think of what having a populated planet with rings here in the solar system could mean. (I'm pretty sure Saturn and the other gas planets with rings [did you know about them? I just found out!] aren't populated. But that's something else you could look up, to make sure.) What I'm talking about is the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence! So far our friends in Outer Space have made themselves pretty darn scarce (OK, except for the Lizard People, but then they're not our friends, either), but if we had beautiful rings we might see a big spike in interstellar tourism. Aliens could come for the rings and stay to take in "Hamilton," hit a Katy Perry concert, score some Molly, or even learn to twerk (depending on their anatomy). My goodness, if they were especially adventurous they could even tour Minneapolis hoping to spot some Somali policemen in the wild! Heia safari! (I'm pretty sure the ETs would have superior weaponry and bulletproof vests ... but I don't want to dwell on g*ns and suchlike things as might upset you, Sally.)

I guess that after you read about Science, the next thing you should do is contact NASA. If you could borrow someone's phone, that is. Seems I heard some years ago that the NASA people were all speaking Arabian, but nowadays some of them probably speak New Yorkian, so you might be able to make yourself understood. Maybe e-mail would be easier.

To wind up, thanks for all the neat observations about jobs and tanning and light bulbs and what not. Keep thinking!

P.S. Speaking of thinking, I've got to ask: Have you ever thought about running for Congress? They have a lot of people just like you! Except that you're 'way smarter.

P.P.S. I almost forgot — you asked about those European countries. After you've finished with the Science section, and before you get with NASA, look for a section named something like Wonders of Communism. They've probably got one. Communism had a few off years, back around 1990, but now it's very popular again.  Ω

July 28, 2017

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