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Thinking of fathers and other human interactions


Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to the fathers, dads, poppas, grandpas and all men who have helped raise children.

Even with the best intentions and efforts, raising children is not easy. We’re still waiting for the first kid to come out of the womb holding an instruction manual. And because every child is unique, previous experience as a parent doesn’t make the next one any easier.

In many cases, a stepfather, grandfather, godfather, uncle or friend either join or fill the role of father.

Built into fatherhood are many risks and many rewards. The joys of a child are limitless. There is also frustration and challenge. It works two ways, too. As we father our children, we recall how our dads fathered us. Sometimes, we want to do things just like our dads did. Sometimes, we want to do just the opposite. And many times, we find our own ways.

Here’s hoping, on this Father’s Day, you find the joy of being a father. Here’s also hoping, on this Father’s Day, you find the best in what your father did for you.

Human interaction

The past few weeks, I’ve had frustrating experiences trying to be served as a customer.

I have downloaded apps, signed up for an electronic “service” programs and tried to get basic questions answered.

There is very little you can accomplish in this current American life without supplying your Username (or is it your User ID?), a password (it better be strong, and don’t forget those upper and lower cases, and the special characters), and your secret question (which is probably no longer a secret since you’ve already told the whole planet on social media about your first concert or your first car).

Of course, the next time you will need this info, you will have forgotten your User ID (or is it your Username?) and password. Sometimes all you need to do is ask one live human being one simple, but not necessarily binary, question. And that seldom feels possible these days.

Back in April, a minor miracle occurred when I was able to reach a real person with United Airlines on the phone. She confirmed the information I was seeing on their website was not the full picture, and, indeed, I did NOT have to pay $1,200 for a brand new flight. I could make a change to a later time at ZERO charge.

A couple of months later, in some similar efforts with American Airlines, I failed to reach a person over multiple calls and efforts during a weekend. Neither the website nor the app provided an avenue to answer my simple question. One automated phone answering machine mentioned a place where I could do a live chat online, but that only initiated several failed attempts to find that option. Their pre-recorded promise to call me back in “more than four hours” also missed.

During my frustrated efforts, I learned of a website devoted solely to helping people find live human beings to help with problems at big corporations. It’s called www.gethuman.com. I haven’t had the chance to try it yet, but I love the concept.

I read some reviews and, like almost everything else existing online, Get Human has drawn some great raves and a few horrible bashings.

Not surprisingly, most of the bad reviews are from people who tried and failed to find real humans at unemployment offices and other government agencies.

Childcare vouchers

Speaking of unemployment, we’re all aware by now of the post-Covid dilemma facing many employers and potential employees.

I’ve heard of many instances in Las Cruces where an employer will try to hire back a former employee with a proven background who is now drawing unemployment. Often, when the employee is a parent, the response is: “If I go back to work, I’ll have to provide for daycare for my child, and then I’ll have less money to care for my family than being on unemployment.”

I am certainly no government expert, but maybe there’s a solution available. Why don’t we divert the money that was going to extra unemployment during Covid, and put it into daycare vouchers?

If the government’s goal is to help workers get through the crisis, this seems a more holistic way. The worker gets the money, this time from the job, not from unemployment. The company gets the worker and can get more done. Plus, the daycare business gets support; they have likely been one of the most struggling businesses during Covid. The daycare then might be able to hire another worker, too.

Richard Coltharp