To say that I am an avid reader is an understatement.

I am not known as a highly educated intellectual, simply a stooped-over senior citizen with a questionable back and a congestive heart issue who enjoys reading. That is about all that is left, but I am not complaining.

KJV Bible, hardbacks, paperbacks, brochures, pamphlets, cereal boxes, church bulletins, circulars, trade papers along with the inserts, six-month-old medical journals found in every waiting room in America and even the complimentary Gideon’s Bibles.

The opportunity to read newspapers from all over the world is readily available with my trusty Dell. There are a number of foreign news publications that are translated into English.

This affords those who follow the wild world of political chaos an opportunity to view a slightly different slant on everyday events which may affect us.

Here in America, a search of the Cheboygan Daily Tribune, Beulah Beacon, Coon Rapids Herald, Churubsco News, Clackamas Review, Flathead Beacon or our own, beloved Post-Intelligencer can yield a treasure trove of trivia.

This visual visit across the United States enables us to relate and react to the way in which our fellow Americans conduct their everyday lives.

When reading other newspapers, the smaller ones seem to be the most interesting. Local sports, obituaries, classified ads and job opportunities are the top four columns to visit.

The Help Wanted section affords some challenging phrases. Here is a short list on reading between the lines in the Job Vacancies.

Often the ad begins with bold letters. Exciting, Fast-Paced Environment. Beware of this. Does it really mean the company expects the newbie to do more work than is humanly possible?

Here is another hum-dingier of a Hiring Now ad: “must enjoy multi-tasking.” Watch out for this one, along with “seeking candidates with a wide range of experience.”

In some instances when the Work Available ad appears in the classifieds, the company paying for it is downsizing. Their diabolical long-range plan is to hire someone to perform the tasks of six long-gone laid-off employees.

A lot of first-time job-seekers fall for this little trick: “leadership skills desired.” In reality the company is searching for a stooge or fall guy or fall woman.

This unlucky rookie will be saddled with unsavory duties and responsibilities previously fulfilled by a low-level supervisor or foreman.

He or she will be destined to disseminating any bad news. This, many times, is accomplished without giving the new hire any additional compensation or authority.

How about “highly motivated, independent self-starter”? Could this mean the company has absolutely no training programs?

Always be wary of Workers Wanted captions reading “team player desired,” “various duties may be added,” “detail-oriented “and last, but not least, “flexibility.”

“Works well under pressure” also is mentioned in the Help Wanted ad. In today’s dog-eat-dog workplace, any employee who can’t do that will never last until the morning coffee break.

Now to bring an end to this totally useless column, the true meaning of “competitive salary” is hidden under a bushel.

The freshly hired worker automatically assumes this refers to his or her meager salary. This in no way refers to salaries offered by other companies to employees with comparable job skills.

The true truth tells us that unscrupulous corporate conglomerate’s definition of competitive equals low-balling wages, bottom-shelf medical insurance and next-to-nothing retirement plans.

These dastardly deceptive deeds are designed to keep the company competitive.


DAN PATTERSON, who’s retired from the Paris Parks and Recreation Department, grew up near the state line and now lives in Paris. He can be reached by email at

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