The last thing I ever wanted to do this holiday season was step in the middle of this little brouhaha down at the Carson City Senior Center.
But then someone had to go and say something bad about the food there and I can no longer bite my tongue.
Message to the warring parties: Grow up.
In the event you were too busy being thankful for having a senior center available in Carson City, here is a list of what we've been told are the issues:
1. There's not enough parking at the facility.
2. The meals haven't tasted good since the last cook left with the recipe for peanut butter pie.
3. A man allegedly threatened to turn a male volunteer into a female volunteer. No word if the incident might have been related to the absence of peanut butter pies.
4. The pool hall ain't what it used to be. There was a time when you could bank the 9-ball into the corner pocket with your eyes closed. Then they had to go and move the furniture.
5. The staff needs a few lessons in sensitivity. Some paid staffers and administrators are too cranky and treat volunteers like yesterday's lunch.
6. Financial records ought to be made available because some suspect money may be getting laundered by the cartel in Colombia.
7. The Dining Room supervisor is a former Drill Sergeant who treats everyone in the joint - even the WW II veterans - like snot-nosed recruits.
8. Anyone who complains is fired, castrated, or both.
So, there it is. The dirty laundry list that has been making life at the center absolutely dreary lately.
For the record, I like the Senior Center. In a few years I'm looking forward to using the Pool Room there to supplement my Social Security checks. Lord knows those checks won't keep me in the lifestyle I'm accustomed to, so I've got to find a few fish willing to play 9-ball for some nickels and dimes.
I'm also looking forward to the $2 lunches. For two bucks I'll eat cold food, hot food, or whatever kind of food they want to slide in front of me. So long as it's soft food and won't give me a serious case of the trots. I probably won't be as fast as I am today and wouldn't want to lose a race to the restroom.
As to the cranky staffers ... I'll probably be a very cranky senior citizen. In fact, I plan to be a regular hell on wheels, curmudgeon-kind-of-pain-in-the-ass senior citizen. I'll be a senior center staffer's worst nightmare.
You think getting old is fun?
The parking is probably a problem because the lunches are $2. You want to relieve the parking problem? Raise the lunch price to $10.
The Dining Room supervisor needs to be a Drill Sergeant. They feed around 200 lunches every day in that Senior Center and you've got to have someone who can move 'em in and move 'em out. "Alright people! You have two minutes to shove that food down and all I want to hear from you is chewing, gnawing, or whatever it is you all do with your food!"
If it happened, the castration remark allegedly made by a volunteer was wrong. No one should ever be castrated for not eating his vegetables. For sex crimes, yes. Or for watching Jerry Springer, certainly.
Nor should an employee be fired for voicing concerns about the workplace. Not unless the complaints begin to take the tone of daily non-constructive whining that only serves to make everyone around you feel depressed when they're already depressed about being old and unable to eat steak with their own teeth.
Besides, the gentleman who says he was fired was a volunteer and I haven't seen a statute that prohibits a business, or non-profit from telling volunteers that their volunteer services are no longer required. From what I can gather, he wasn't a real happy volunteer anyway and I think everyone deserves to be happy. Life's too short to sit around bitching about cold food, money and castrations all day.
In the end, Carson City is fortunate to have a place like that for seniors. In addition to the 200 lunches it serves in the dining room each day, another 160 or so are delivered to seniors who are shut in.
You want cranky? Try staying home all day unable to get out even for a bite to eat.
So let's knock off the bickering and back biting. The letters back and forth in the newspaper won't serve to make things better. If you've got a legitimate concern, go talk to the executive director about it. Jamie Lee seems like a nice enough woman to me. And I happen to know the folks on the governing board are reasonable people who are genuinely concerned or they wouldn't be volunteering their time either.
Let's put the insignificant stuff behind us so our seniors can focus on more pressing issues, such as medical costs that increase 20 percent each year. Or that Social Security check that doesn't get you from one month to the next.
Now there's something to really be depressed about.
Jeff Ackerman is publisher and editor of the Nevada Appeal.