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You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em

“In nuclear war, except for the evil forces, no one is a winner.

Science and humanity become the villains. Everyone knows that,

but the gamblers want to play their cards.

Beware of the nuclear gamblers.”

― Amit Ray

BACK IN THE DAYS when I worked for CRSAustralia in Cairns, every Friday afternoon at 3 pm sharp the Office Manager affectionately known as 'Westie' turned on a CD of 'The Gambler.'

Everything stopped for 5 minutes silence while she played it LOUD over the office speakers. Sometimes a couple of times if she was really in the zone.

No phone calls could be made, no work could be done. We were effectively forced to shut down while it played.

Kenny Rogers – 'THE GAMBLER' Lyrics

On a warm summer's evenin' on a train bound for nowhere, I met up with the gambler; we were both too tired to sleep. So we took turns a starin' out the window at the darkness 'Til boredom overtook us, and he began to speak. He said, "Son, I've made my life out of readin' people's faces, And knowin' what their cards were by the way they held their eyes. So if you don't mind my sayin', I can see you're out of aces. For a taste of your whiskey I'll give you some advice. " So I handed him my bottle and he drank down my last swallow. Then he bummed a cigarette and asked me for a light. And the night got deathly quiet, and his face lost all expression. Said, "If you're gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right. You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, Know when to walk away and know when to run. You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table. There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done. Now Ev'ry gambler knows that the secret to survivin' Is knowin' what to throw away and knowing what to keep. 'Cause ev'ry hand's a winner and ev'ry hand's a loser, And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep. " So when he'd finished speakin', he turned back towards the window, Crushed out his cigarette and faded off to sleep. And somewhere in the darkness the gambler, he broke even. But in his final words I found an ace that I could keep. You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, Know when to walk away and know when to run. You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table. There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.

Abuse of Power

After a number of years of this enforced listening, people either shut down emotionally, placed earplugs in to block it out - or like me - felt alternately suicidal and homicidal (I've said it before, I'd never act on those feelings - for any stoner morons reading this and making stupid assumptions as per usual. I'm exaggerating anyway. I didn't really feel that extreme!), or sometimes even sang along, to survive the assault.

I mean - this song was HER addiction. Not mine. Not anyone else's.

And a form of abuse of power. The soft stuff that led to the later hard drugs of power abuse she chugged.

Perhaps this was where the seeds of my Blondaphobia were planted, and her later actions blocking my completing my Masters in Counseling in any possible way - and the rest of her crap - really watered those damn seeds!

The Natural

After the one year plus of DHS Enterprise Agreement Bargaining finished, I spent another year doing Project Work across the road working on "Projects" - and yes, I actually was doing project work - in an upstairs office away from the now fiercely hostile Anti-Union CRS office, whilst my CommCare Claim was legally finalized.

Didn't matter a jot to CRS that in the final signed and sealed Enterprise Agreement, the CPSU, myself and a few other Bargainers had secured improved wages, safer work conditions, and a whole lot of other great enhancements too numerous to mention here: many great improved amendments to that rubbishy and insulting first draft Agreement presented to us by the Dept, which was in itself really just a piece of dirty toe-rag.

And most of all, it mattered not to them that we'd secured safe and watertight Redeployment processes for all DHS staff, as clearly a whole lot of staff were going to be terminated, and all the national CRS offices were destined to shut down.

But we Bargainers had ensured they wouldn't be shown the door with just a few days notice and a kick in the pants after many years of loyal service to clients and ideals, no. A whole healthy process of redeployment would take place, which it did.

And of course, a happy workplace with good working conditions naturally filters through to the CLIENTS! The whole reason the Department of HUMAN SERVICES exists, right Kathryn?

Unions: the folks who brought you the weekend ...

Anyway none of these vastly improved workplace and redeployment conditions mattered to the Anti-Union CRS staff, who saw me as a rebel radical who needed to be taught a lesson or two, and then hung out to dry.. Hahaha. Ok. In their jaundiced view, I was obviously an arrogant narcissist who badly needed to be humbled. They hated that I brought the spotlight on not only our office - but on myself.

Who Do You Think You Are?

"Do you think you're special or something?"

That was literally said to me by another CRS workplace manager. Hmm she was blonde too now I think about it. It's alright - I do have a couple of blonde friends too ... hahaha.

Whenever that's said to me, intended as a great put-down, I always reply: "Yes I AM special, now you ask. Everyone is. Next question?"

Westie, is this you?

My Thoughts For You, Westie

I believe 'Westie' retired from working entirely after it all. Strange, because she was pretty young to retire....Probably a good call tho'. I wholeheartedly support her decision.

Stay off the work thing for the rest of your life Westie. Way to go. Working with people is really not your strong suit. Perhaps - now here's a thought - the Casino?! They love mindless cheap bottle-blondes in those places. Just don't play - I don't actually think that's another of your strengths, honey.

Just sit there with your goddamned mouth shut.

Copyright 2023 © Julie Von Nonveiller Cairnes. All rights reserved.

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