A Frightening Prospect

Before Internet spam, shady entrepreneurs advertised on matchbook covers. A classic come-on was “Earn Big Money. Get Your CDL License in Two Weeks.” The prospect of a newly-minted Big Rig Jockey tailgating me at 70 mph after all of two weeks training was frightening. “The pedal on the left is the clutch. I’m pretty sure the one on the right is the accelerator. Why are there two pedals in the middle? Which one is the brake?”

NPR (of all people) alerted the public to another frightening prospect this morning. To alleviate the nursing shortage in Wisconsin, its Governor activated medically-trained National Guard troops. That makes sense.

Making less sense, he offered free Certified Nursing Assistant training to any Guard member. After all of 75 hours of study at a local Community College, former infantrymen, artillerymen, and helicopter mechanics could trade in their fatigues for hospital scrubs and treat the COVID-stricken. “Isn’t that the same kid who changed the oil in my car at Jiffy Lube two weeks ago? Why is he wearing full PPE and approaching me with a catheter? I really wish I had that COVID inoculation now.”

This is a sweet deal for the National Guard troops. Civilian hospital duty likely does not involve 20 mile hikes in full combat gear. Hospital cafeteria food is not great but is certainly tastier than Meals Ready to Eat or (God forbid) the C-Rations from my service days. Also, would you rather spend a cold January day on duty in a nice warm hospital or in a helicopter flying over the frozen tundra of Wisconsin?

I can see the matchbook cover now. “Join the National Guard. Become a Certified Nursing Assistant in Two Weeks. It Beats Driving a Big Rig.”

By Ed Dufton

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Lynette Dufton

These posts are written by my father, Ed Dufton, who has an incredible knack of condensing the day’s news into a witty and insightful commentary on society.