February 5, 1934
As a sequal to the above - When I came on duty after a two-day lay-off, my chart had disappeared. It was a small matter but at 3 A.M. one loses a balanced judgement of the relative importance of things, and is apt to jump at preposterous conclusions. So I immediately thought of the ingrown jealousies which seem to exist between the MRP and KE employees (the recent resentment against my successful insistance on an eight-hour day is an example); and I attributed the disappearance to a deliberate demonstration of violation of the sacred functions - strangers have no business meddling. It now appears that the opposite is true, for the chart has been taken to the office for copying, to facillate work there. All of which illustrates the value of controlling sensitivities.
This is as good a place as any to record the KE Wiring Diagram incident, which has afforded me some amusement in retrospect, and which may or may not have had its uses. Having worked some two or three weeks on a set of drawings intended to bring the Palean Street station records up to date, last Spring, I conceived the idea of completing them when I was assigned to operating that station as a depression job. That was before I started the activities recorded since the inception of this diary. With nothing else to do, these drawing would have afforded me an outlet for constructive energies which I sorely needed after two months of lightning arrester maintenance. On the assumption that the company would appreciate getting this job done without extra cost (ordinarily it would cost them around $100), I made the bid for the job through the correct channels, and was given the go-ahead. A few weeks later, however, when I was acclimated to my new work, the practical question arose as to equipment. I might as well admit right here that my chief incentive was the desire to keep the powers that be informed of my existance and my enthusiasm, real or implied. And right here the old professional jealousy entered the picture, and although it was agreed that the thing could be done as a private arrangement with a certain individual who rules the electrical engineering roost, it would not be possible, or rather desirable to ask permission from the Main Controller of Destinies, for a transfer of one of the many excess drawing tables from the Power House to the Substation. (O No! there was a distinct possibility of diverting limelight from the leading lady to a mere chorous girl). So I said alright, thank you kindly for your gracious favors, and dismissed the job from my list, even though I could have obtained a table from the local company with their best wishes. I had accomplished my gesture, having made it known to other possible means of detour communication with The One Who Counts. Thus the human element of engineering often resolves this profession into a battle of wits, and politics. Were it not for the human elements it would be rather dull, methinks.
Wayne's sermon yesterday launched what promises to be a grand splurge of philosophy. By way of introduction to his New Morality, which can safely be predicted as the basis for a highly edifying book, we were startled by the assertion that unselfishness is not only a vice but includes all the degradations of ignorance. Whew! My ancestors turned over in their graves! And this right on top of my so recent Honesty letter in which I extolled virtue as its own reward. Anyway, Wayne's conception has clarified this much befogged issue for me, and has made a wholly reasonable picture out of a hodge-podge of triteness. Every act of ours has the incentive of the hope of reward. Rewards may be physical or spiritual. The abstractness of spiritual rewards detracts nothing from their reality. We are good because it pays to be good. We are paid in terms of personal satisfaction, praise of our friends, love, pleasant associations, the thrill of beauty, etc. And without the hope of these rewards we would be just as likely to choose bad. Wayne made a distinction, a rather pretty one, between two kinds of selfishness - must ask him to refresh my memory. He represented the book of Revelation and the prophesies of the Old Testament as the struggle of blind hope persisting against almost hoplessness of centuries of hardship endured by the Jewish race. Since there was no practical excape it was natural that they resorted to day-dreaming. So martyrdom for the sake of self-effacement became a vogue which has persisted ever since. Jesus had the reward of a knowledge of his noble life and having instigated the greatest educational movement the world has ever known from one source - a reward that could sustain him even to the cross. Alright, Wayne, I am with you so far; and I rather expect to hear more about the relative values of physical and spiritual rewards, for you have certainly built the foundation for spiritual selfishness.
Frank Pellett's "Romance of the Hive", and Beebe's "Nonsuch" have provided recreation lately. So we must have some bees someday, but I think we can forgo the flying fish.
Jimmy Letts has gone to Rock Island and joined the army of government employees. It was a fine "break" for him, work which suits him to a tee, and attractive remuneration. He left us a gallon of honey and a strong friendly feeling to remember him by. His departure may or may not affect my destiny. I hope it will, but the depression has subdued so many air castles that I simply play the cards dealt me and try to play the poor hand as well as circumstance and my abilities permit. Jimmy reminds me of Ted: refreshing and buoyant, and it almost seems a shame that they have to be sullied by adversity.
Jack said, apro pos of his mother showing the effects of the wear and tear of raising two huligans and one grizzly, "Gee, I'd hate to be married to a woman who is always argueing".
Dick invites me every morning when I come home from the "dog watch" to play Big Bad Wolf on the bed. He's not afraid, in spite of tickly squeals and crawling under the bed clothes to prove the contrary.
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