David Bouchier

David Bouchier’s weekly essays are full of unexpected observations and whimsical opinions. Listeners will relish his entertaining, enlightening, and sometimes exasperated commentaries on the routines that carry us through the year, the surreal rituals of politics, the unsettling experience of foreign travel, and the confusions and comedies of everyday suburban life.

Last week our local library organized an electronic equipment recycling day. We had been anticipating this. Dead pieces of electronic equipment had been cluttering up our closets for years. So we brought some computers that had suffered a terminal crash, or that had simply been made obsolete by cunning software updates. They looked forlorn and slightly sinister in the light of day, and I wondered whether they could be brought back to life. Or might they come back to life by themselves? What personal history and forgotten secrets might I be throwing away? So I pulled out the hard drives.

The day after tomorrow will be Administrative Professionals Day. In case your grasp of the English language is a bit out of date, Administrative Professionals are skilled white collar employees such as secretaries, data managers, and administrative assistants. Until the late 1990s this celebration was known as Secretary’s Day, which was criticized as being rather narrow and demeaning.

This year we benefit (if that's the right word) from a three-day extension of the tax deadline, apparently to allow people in Washington, D. C. to celebrate Emancipation Day on the 15th, although I am not quite sure how they did this. But now the deadline has arrived, and there is no emancipation for ordinary tax payers. If you are very rich you can ship your fortune offshore, as revealed in the so-called Panama Papers, and forget about taxes for the rest of your life. But we must face up to the tax man and his Byzantine code of regulations every April without fail.

My parents never sent me to summer camp. They believed that families should go on vacation together, no matter how painful the experience was for all concerned. But a lot of things have changed since my childhood. In particular, Dr. Benjamin Spock dreamed up the idea that children should not be repressed by arbitrary discipline, and must be allowed to express themselves. Since then, the family vacation has declined, and the summer camp industry has boomed.

Consultancy is the ultimate universal job opportunity. Anyone can set up as a consultant on just about anything, apart from the great monopolies of medicine and law.  You can buy the skills of an ex-architect, or an ex-computer programmer, an ex-banker, or even an ex-executive for a tiny fraction of what they would cost if they had real jobs.