A short time ago, I had to check in with my auto mechanic to see what the holdup was fixing the brakes on my truck. It had been a week or so and I was getting antsy. 

Turns out the mechanic was working on his own and falling behind because he had been completely unable to find someone willing to come to work with him at $25-$30 per hour. 

He HAD hired one guy a short time ago, as it happens, but that guy failed to show up to his first day on the job.  

“People just don’t want to work,” the overworked mechanic grumbled to me, and how many times have you heard that particular refrain over the past few years? 

We all know about the veterinarian shortage because so many of us have tried to get appointments for our sick pets only to discover that the wait is long. Like months long, and that’s if you’re lucky. 

So many veterinarians have retired, we’re told, and there just aren’t enough people coming into the field. We sure hope Mittens will survive the wait. 


And doctors. Have you tried changing doctors lately? I have, and the whole process feels real familiar. 

We’re sorry, sir or madam. We’re not taking any new patients at this time. Doctor shortage, don’t you know.  

Look into this one and you’ll find a mixed bag of answers as to why there aren’t enough physicians — or dentists, for that matter — to go around.  

It’s the aging population, some will tell you. There are more old folks than young folks right now and old folks need more medical attention, which creates backlogs of patients.

It’s the cost and time required to train new doctors, others will insist. It’s the fact that more people have access to health insurance. It’s something, all right. Maybe you should just go to the ER. 

Have you tried to hire an electrician lately? Or a furnace guy? If so, you know that unless you have an established relationship with somebody, the waits can be long. These guys, like so many others, are overworked, stretched thin, backlogged. 


It’s the labor shortage, don’t you know. Nobody wants to work right now. Blame COVID-19. Blame the period dubbed “The Great Resignation” when about 100 million people shuffled out of the work force between 2001 and 2023. 

There was a time when just going to a fast-food joint or coffee shop was a crap shoot. We’d see signs on the doors telling us they were closed because… You guessed it, they couldn’t find anyone to work that particular shift. 

Find a harried store manager out chain smoking behind the dumpsters and he’d tell you: “Nobody wants to work, that’s what it is. Whole world’s gone crazy if you ask me.” 

The worker shortage with its dubious causes has always been a bit of a mystery to me. People don’t want to work? Do they want to eat? Have a roof over their heads? 

Few of us really WANT to work, but we do so because starving and sleeping in the park doesn’t appeal to us.  It’s just so perplexing to me that we’re in an age where apparently working is optional.

When I was a young lad, this whole situation was the other way around. EVERYBODY wanted to work, to pay for cars and parties and all that stuff that young fry like, but there weren’t enough jobs to go around. Competition for every gig, from dishwasher to gas jockey to furniture mover, was fierce. You took what you could get and you were happy for those minimum wage bucks in your pocket. 


To me, this worker shortage is just one more sign that the world has gone completely and utterly mad.

And now, because we need more signs that we’re living in a cuckoo clock, we’re told that there aren’t enough lawyers around willing to defend all the men and women languishing in our county jails. 

Think about every lawyer joke you’ve ever heard. The implication has always been that there are too MANY lawyers, not too few. It’s the kind of upside down state of affairs that can only exist in this strange and troubling reality we’ve come to know as Clown World. 

And while waiting for a car mechanic or electrician to fix your stuff is a hassle, this lawyer shortage has turned into something more extreme. It’s turned deadly. 

Right now, the angry glare is on the case of Leein Amos Hinkley, whom police say stormed his former girlfriend’s house, burned down a couple houses and spent an evening firing rounds at cops before being taken down.

But Hinkley isn’t the only one. I have a file containing a number of criminals who committed violent acts, including murder, after being released from jail on stunningly low bail, even after they were caught numerous times violating conditions of release. 


It’s a rather long list. 

Nor is Hinkley likely to be the last of these outlaws who find themselves back on the streets when, in saner times, they’d be locked up tight for long stretches. 

It remains to be seen how many seasoned criminals, freed on this maddening technicality, will run amok in coming days while courts and prosecutors try to figure out how to walk the tightrope between public safety and the constitutional rights of inmates. 

A lawyer shortage, I kid you not. Too few attorneys willing to work for $150 per hour representing clients who can’t afford to pay for representation on their own. Who had THAT on their Clown World bingo cards?

Police blame the courts. The courts blame the attorneys who refuse to get down in the mud to defend indigent criminals. I don’t know who the lawyers blame because they’re all off representing clients with deeper pockets. 

Meanwhile, one can imagine the number of dangerous criminals sitting on their hard chairs at the county lockup, rubbing their hands together and grinning with glee after hearing about this new straight-outta-the-cuckoo-clock technicality that has already sprung so many of their cohorts. 


Such a strange timeline we’re in. We can’t get the most basic things we need as simply as we once did and now we have to worry that every other person we pass on the street might be a violent sociopath emboldened by the fact that he’s free when he ought to be locked up.

It’s a good time for criminals, I guess, and for people who have no interest in working for their daily bread.

For the rest us, though? 

Pure mayhem. 

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