That’s it. Pope Benedict is out of there. He’s gone. Split. Further proof the job-for-life mentality is outdated and redundant, even for those elected by God. Still, I don’t blame him. That gig’s a poison chalice.
For starters there’s the ambiguous job description. He’s not just the Pope; he is also Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the state of Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God and Primate of Italy. Primate? I know job titles tend to be pretty vague, but it must be demeaning to have your role compared to a chimp.
But that’s only the start of it. The Pope is boss of all Roman Catholics. Think of the logistics. You can’t micromanage a headcount of one and a half billion. The cost of stationary and desk space alone doesn’t bear thinking about. And let’s not forget this is a high-profile, international set up so maintaining positive pr must be a nightmare. All you need to happen is a rogue bishop doing something he shouldn’t with a bonobo in the Congo and it’s all over the papers quicker than you can say ‘ridiculous cliché’.
Then there’s the company car. Sitting inside a bulletproof glass case isn’t exactly going to put you in the best of moods on the way to work. Sure, it’ll keep you safe but it also serves as a daily reminder that someone may want to kill you. No, sounds like old Benny was wise to get out when he did. Still, if he’d hung on till the end he’d probably have got a decent retirement package, like a set of cufflinks or the holy grail, which he could flog online for a small fortune. Wonder if he’s allowed to keep the hat?
In other news, a private investor has revealed he would like to send an older couple to Mars. He feels that his contribution to the space race is to add a little experience to proceedings. After all, youth is wasted on the young, right? Why should the kids have all the fun? Well if this chap gets his way we’ll soon be seeing a pair of astronauts of mature years blasted off on a once-in-a-lifetime mission to the red planet.
Apparently the plan to choose an older couple is because their health and fertility would be less affected by the radiation they would be exposed to during such a long space mission. Makes sense. Their radiators are always turned on full blast even in the height of summer. On the downside it could prove more expensive having them pilot the shuttle. After all, have you ever tried to get the elderly insured on a car? Your premium goes through the roof.
It doesn’t sound like a good idea. It’s a lot colder there than Earth so they’ll have to equip this adventurous pair of pensioners with extra tartan blankets. Presumably their shuttle will travel at about thirty miles an hour, even when there are no other space shuttles around, and with the indicator still flashing from when they turned left just after the moon.
These are, of course, cynical generalisations. Still, it’s got to be factored in, as is the potential that these senior space cadets might get all the way to Mars, wander around for a bit, then complain it wasn’t worth the effort. After all, it’s so expensive nowadays, the shuttle was so loud and ultimately the whole trip was a bit of a disappointment because they don’t build planets like they used to.
Finally, following those allegations made against a certain enormous, sweaty politician who shall remain nameless, there’s a lot of talk in the press about correct conduct in the workplace. What is appropriate office behaviour, what is not. A wink here, a grope there. Apparently there is a sliding scale of what is acceptable. For instance, it is permissible to touch a colleague’s arm to get their attention. It is less permissible to drop your trousers and rub yourself up against someone’s leg. Who knew?
Seriously, there tends to be a rule of thumb in this situation. If in doubt, don’t. Now, I’m not being a prude here. You can’t move where I currently work for irritating, flirty banter. Not a day goes by without several members of the finance department stealing away into the stationary cupboard to re-enact the last days of Rome, but they are consenting adults so it’s fine.
On the whole, if you need to be told that you shouldn’t behave in a certain way then you need to have a long, hard look at yourself. Seriously, does anyone really need to be told that it’s inappropriate to pat a co-worker on the bottom? Clearly they do.
Here’s a thought. You do not need to be fondling anyone at work. At all. Really the only profession where it is acceptable to touch someone as much as you like is professional boxing – and even they have that rule about hugging for too long. No, the rules for society were laid down some time ago and it’s for the best we all just follow them, otherwise it’s a strict disciplinary, which should really involve the offending party being locked in that stationary cupboard, where they’ll get the most terrifying dose of their own medicine ever imaginable…