By Matthew B. Tepper
The Scribe is revolting
Last night [August 14, 2008], before the Money Gouge Committee began a huge auction of miscellaneous stuff, President Michael Thorsen showed a presence of mind not atypical of him and, realizing that the auction was (and of right ought to be) the program, adjourned the meeting to the program. I begged for a substitute to note the winning bids, and darcee obligingly took over. That done, I was able to socialize in the Hall for a while before I made my way to the Aftermeeting, for more socializing and a much-needed dinner.
This should throw a light on an oddity of the club, which I would now like to question: why has it fallen on the Scribe to perform this task? Shouldn't it be performed by somebody who is actually on the Money Gouge Committee? I suspect it's largely positional, much in the way that the person in an office who has to endure all the complaints about the copier is the poor slob whose luck it is to have his desk right next to the copier. (Guess who that is in my office?) In other words, the Scribe has had to do it because he's already at the head table. WTF?
Interestingly, we have a recent parallel in changes to the office of Vice President. During his gazillion terms in that position, Bob Null accreted all sorts of useful tasks in order to help out the club, because, well, because he's Bob. Subsequent Veeps felt honor-bound to continue taking on those tasks, until it became more and more difficult to find members willing to take it on without it being split four or even five ways. And even so, there were a couple of unfortunate occasions in which the most basic of Veep functions, that of remaining behind to lock up the Clubhouse on a Thursday or a Friday night, went undone. That led directly to the present situation where the office of Vice President has been returned to its original state, while the Bob-jobs are filled by volunteers.
In light of that, I hereby formally serve notice that I am revolting. (Wait for it....) Don't get me wrong -- I am pleased to perform the actual pre-Scribed tasks, which include taking notes, rendering Minutes (the "Menace"), presenting the said Menace, and storing them and making them available on demand. In fact, the method of making them available, on the Internet, is something that would have been pure science fiction back in 1969 when I joined the Society! No, it's the Auction involvement, particularly these long ones, from which I would like to extricate myself.
If you don't think it's work to take notes during the meeting, write minutes, and deliver them within a week, you should try it sometime. Then try doing it week after week after week. It's not as difficult a task as, say, that of Loscon Chairman (for which I am, of course, completely unqualified), but it's something. Frankly, I don't think it's fair to insist that the Scribe perform a further task entirely unrelated to his actual role in the club.
Therefore, with all due respect to the Committee to Gouge Money Out of the LASFS and to the members thereof, and fully mindful of the importance of fundraising to our club's continued existence, I propose that the job of, oh, let's call it Auction Recorder be assigned to volunteers selected by the Money Gouge Committee for that express purpose. I often hear talk of the need to get new people involved so that we can continue our traditions of volunteering. This would be an ideal "starter" position for somebody so inclined.
Is this all about my wanting to bolt from the meeting and get dinner? I can't deny that that is part of it. I work full-time and I have a long commute each way. On a Thursday night, if I'm lucky, I have just enough time after arriving home to depressurize a bit, shower, and change, before I drive to the Clubhouse. And since the Friday Nite C.F. is no longer the regular weekly get-together that it used to be, this makes Thursday night my one chance during the week to relax with convivial folk at a nice restaurant. I'd like to continue to have that chance, if you please.
I will, of course, be pleased to fill out the remainder of my present term of office as best I can. All I desire is a little adjustment to make things a bit more fair for everyone, including me.
Your humble Scribe
Matthew B. Tepper, B.Mus., M.A.