Government & Politics

Talk about a bit of chutzpah: Asking for overtime after being caught gambling

As I recall, the quintessential example of “chutzpah” is when a kid kills his parents over and over again but keeps expecting different results.

This statue shows Einstein on a bench, probably during working hours, imagining the advent of video poker. Photo by maveric2003 via Flickr, under Creative Commons license

Now… that’s always seemed like an insane definition to me. It doesn’t really make that much sense either, when you think about it (which I don’t recommend). So over the years I’ve kept my eye out for a more illuminating instance of chutzpah. Something more definitive and less grisly.

After reading The Times-Picayune’s recent editorial about the details in the new indictment against former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard, I think I’ve found a contender.

Federal attorneys have claimed that Broussard defrauded the parish while in office and “personally enriched himself” as well as other parish employees such as Karen Parker, his ex-wife. The feds say Broussard helped create a special job for Parker to supervise paralegals, even though she had no relevant qualifications. Afterward, Broussard allegedly told a subordinate to bump the Parker’s annual salary from $28,000 up to $48,000.

But that’s just the set-up. Here’s the kicker (my emphasis):

Previous court records have said Ms. Parker didn’t even show up to work at times. The new indictment mentions that in 2006 or 2007 [former Parish Attorney Tom] Wilkinson and another public employee confronted Ms. Parker after she was seen “gambling at a daiquiri establishment during work hours.”

The document also reveals that even as she was getting a free ride, Ms. Parker had the gall to ask for overtime or comp pay.

Winner, winner chicken dinner!

The new definition of chutzpah is someone who gets caught “gaming” at a daiquiri bar while on the clock and proceeds to ask for more overtime pay.

Precisely how do you word that request, anyway?

“Hey, Tom. Nice tie! Um, I know I’ve been out of the office a lot lately but could you credit me more hours on my fake job? See, um, I got a fever for the Cajun Fever, if you catch my drift.  And those 1,500-calorie Chocolate Russian Bananasicle daqs don’t buy themselves, either. So could you help me out, like Aaron helped you?”

Video poker – what an insane habit! To enter a tight booth in a public place, and stare at a  machine while pressing lit buttons, hoping our decisions will pay off. It’s such a forlorn exercise, and almost always ends in disappointment. Yet we keep returning to the booths, despite ourselves, and push the same buttons while hoping for different results.

I’m sure you’re familiar with such games.  If only we could all get paid to play them, with a daiquiri in hand.


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