Why is it the folks still working at GSS seem like zombies to me?  They damn well KNOW the Agency stands a chance of being dissolved and their lives as JCO's may take a headshot at any time.  They shuffle around after doing 12 hour shifts, half aware of their surroundings, totally dead on their feet.  It's so sad to think that only a few years ago, GSS was still a pit, but a more MANAGEABLE pit... and now, everyone knows the score --

The kids won.  They run the show.  Without 225's and logical consequences, there's no way to exert any authority over their behavior.  So much for rehabilitation... so much for treatment... so much for making it in society.  So very very sad.

There are people working there that have seen a ton of changes over an extremely long period of time -- some of them have been plugging away on campus for 30-close-to-40 years.  That's a LONG time, and I salute their service to the youth and taxpayers of Texas.  Years ago, it was quite different, but now... now everyone is simply waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I ran into a lady today who still works at the school; she recognized me and said hello.  I remember she'd worked at the school (38 years, she said).  When I told her I was not employed there any longer she asked if I just quit or had gotten sick and tired of situations there, and I told her basicly that I gave notice and had quit because I no longer respected myself, the kids, my co=workers and the State gov't of Texas == and thought it best to get out before I did something stoopid.  Yes, I was frustrated and angry and bitter about how most (not all, but to be honest, the MAJORITY of) staff had treated me while I was there.  I felt the same way about being stripped of my ability to do a decent job after all the changes brought about after the sex scandal broke and ALL OF A SUDDEN we were out of the CORRECTIONS business and into the CODDLING business... what a shame, huh?  Everyone loses.  EVERYONE.

After I'd gone one a little bit, I could see I'd said too much to my ex co-worker... she couldn't defend The System OR her own choice to stay aboard a sinking ship.  All I could think when we parted was how grateful I was not to be working there any more, and how much better my lift had become.  But then something kinda funny happened.

I was driving back with my wife from Belton, where we had just worked selling tattoo equipment at a big flea market they have outside town there.  We we talking, and without realizing it I mentioned that this was the first job I ever have had (and I've had more than a few!) that "wasn't important" to Society in some way.  It isn't like working at GSS, or working for the State of Washington doing personal care, or the funeral home, or Head Start, or being an xray tech for 20 years or even working in all those restaurants in my youth.  No... selling tattoo equipment really didn't count when it came to doing something IMPORTANT.  People don't NEED tattoos, right?

Right.  But here to tell you -- I really  do believe that by selling folks this stuff, I am helping them in SOME WAY to feel BETTER about themselves... their relationships... thier Country, State, Community, etc.  I am helping instill in them the qualities of pride, and courage, and a feeling of UNITY.  Tattoos bring people together, and I am there to facilitate this, so maybe, just maybe, what I do is something that has MEANING, if not much else.  I makes ME feel good and provides a means to pay my bills.  I talk, I listen, I console, train, sympathize and wheel 'n' deal with folks for a living now and hey -- sitting at a flea market out in the sun making money SURE beats sitting in a doorway making money... THAT I know FOR SURE.  So for me, there WAS a way out -- but I had to grab ahold of the opportunity to make the break from the velvet lined rut of a job GSS was and just GO FOR IT.  Maybe not everyone can do it like I did, but NO ONE HAS TO work at GSS and feel like there's no hope.  No one HAS to walk around like a zombie.  Guess what I'm getting at in a roundabout way here is that given choice, given the OPTION, I really prefer doing something I ENJOY whether it is important, like helping the kids at GSS, or not.  For me, life is just to short to do otherwise.

Ask yourself now -- is what you're doing important?  Does it matter?   If what you're doing at the school seems pointless and irrelevant then get up and let people in Austin know!  Let your supervisors and admin know, too.  IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT The System has let you down, but if you don't fight to improve/change conditions you will eventually do down with the best AND worst of 'em.  I've said it before here and I'll say it again:  It's better to die on your feet than live on your knees.

Zombie or not.