Friday, December 17, 2004



I hope you hear the name Christopher Duff time and time again in the coming weeks and months, because he is an example of what is right with the United States of America -- and how he's been treated is an example of what's wrong with the USA.

Christopher Duff was the property manager for the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Here's how conscientious he was about his job: When the first plane hit, he immediately went downtown to participate in whatever emergency effort was necessary, even though he'd been given the morning off to attend to some work on his house.

By the time he got downtown, he wound up inhaling smoke and dust and incinerated particles of who knows what. He walked around a site where people were dead, or dying, where toxic fumes were all about, and he was both physically ill and psychologically scarred.

A court in New York just ruled that he had no business to be at the site and therefore doesn't qualify for workers' compensation.

Makes you want to give 110% effort to your employer, doesn't it? Does anybody now understand why we occasionally run into people with It's-not-my-job-itis?

There's good news. He still qualifies for federal aid because he volunteered at the site in the days afterward. And the court is making sure he gets the federal aid.

Still, it establishes the precedent that there's no sense doing more than your fair share when things go bad. Anywhere. Why do a favor for the neighbor? You might get hurt and get screwed. Why help out someone poor? Why take on a new assignment? The up side is going to be way less likely than the down side.

Here's the real irony: Somewhere, someone is screaming that the people who helped out after the attacks are getting too damn much money.

Maybe we're sending the wrong people to Iraq.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am the Christopher Duff that you wrote this about.

I just now saw this blog and wanted to express my sincere appreciation for your concern and patriotic sence of duty as well as the time and effort you took to express your thoughts. I wish there were more people who felt as you do.

Most sincerely,

Chris Duff