It’s Saturday night, and our television bellows out inspiring sounds of hockey playoff action. Our group surrounds the television passionately cheering the Oilers on. The players rip across the ice, the puck slams against the boards, and then rebounds to various sticks where it is directed in a flurry of action into the net. We shriek in appreciation. Throughout the game we are dedicated vocal fans. The game is almost done. The score is 2-1 for the Oilers. The Sharks pull their goalie, we watch with devoted stares, and shout out feverish advice. McDavid sends the puck into an empty net with a backhand, sealing the Oilers 3-1 win.
The Oilers— Hmmm, come to think of it, that may be the next thing on Notley’s go green agenda. Edmonton’s hockey team will have to change their name to the Anti-Oilers, or the Solar Stars, or maybe the NDP will hire a company from Ontario to come up with a name. Anyway, for now we cheer on the Oilers.
While we celebrated the crushing of the Sharks, an employee from statistics Canada had darkened our door. Unlucky us— we were chosen to do a labour survey. Lucky us— we couldn’t hear her knocking over our hullabaloo. The government flunky left a note on the door, with her name, phone number, and an informational pamphlet on the survey. The note directed us to set up a time for the interview.
On Sunday morning, I read through the information with all the enthusiasm of having a pap smear. 56,000 lucky households in Canada receive this survey. What are the odds?We can’t win the lottery, but we get a survey? Our participation in the Labour Force Survey is mandatory. If we don’t participate we can be fined $500 and/or spend three months in jail.
I’m a peaceful individual. However, when we are forced into wasting precious moments of our lives answering a lint-licking, mind-numbing survey— it gets up in my grill. Just like hitting a prairie chicken on the highway. I can’t breath. It’s like I have feathers stuck in my craw. It gets my back up. It brings on my donkey like tendencies— make me do it. I dare you. Tug on my lead— I’ll lean back on my substantial haunches, dig my feet in, and set my jaw. You better fetch your RCMP’s— you, red-taped, willy-wanker. The heat of rebellion is brewing strongly in my guts. I better pack my bags, because I pick jail.
It’s Sunday afternoon, less than twenty-four hours after we were served with notice of impending survey. The toady from statistics Canada shows up again. I haven’t even had time, to pick the cheezies out of my hair from last nights celebration.
I answer the door, antisocial tendencies rise up inside me. I’m not ready. I’m not even prepared for jail. I should at least shave my legs.
She smiles brightly, “Hi, I’m from statistics Canada, I was here last night, I rang the doorbell, but you must have been watching the game.”
“Yes, we were,” I answer in a demon infused voice, (my kids know the one I use.) “And it’s probably not a good time now, I’m in the middle of making, chilli, chicken soup and buttermilk biscuits.” Secretly, I’m trying to weasel out of doing the survey today, so I have time to get retrofitted for my chastity belt, for my jail time.
Rick rises up the stairs, like a knight in shining armour for the flunky. He’d been watching the afternoon hockey game.
“Hi” he greets her in a welcoming tone. Ricks a nice guy. He looks gruff sometimes, but I’m the mean one. “It’s not a very nice day for traveling,” he says continuing to smile, “the snow doesn’t know when to quit, does it?”
I am in donkey mode. I am silently balking at her presence.
Flunky lady gives Rick a wide smile, “It’s melting on the road, so the driving is good. I was hoping to do the survey with your household today?” She looks at my sour puss face, and then back at Ricks welcoming grin, “I only need one person to answer the questions.”
I shrug my shoulders, “Well. Rick, do you want to do it? I have quite a bit going on in the kitchen.” I growl. It appears I’m not going to jail.
Rick waves her in, “Sure, I’ll do it. Come on in, we can sit at the kitchen table.”
Rick is such a good citizen. He is afraid to lose his cook to some jailhouse frolicking.
Once upon a time, I took a University course in statistics. There I learned information is only as good as the sources. Some people are more accurate than others. Questions on the survey were directed at every household member. Our son wasn’t home. Rick had to answer for him. His wage, and hours worked last week, are an estimate. In other words not accurate. I am certain we are not the only household with that issue. How will inaccurate answers aid in a truthful representation? And even if they are accurate, how will it really help the employment situation? Fortunately, I have the answer to that question.
The government is creating more jobs— in the Statistics Canada department.