After looking at the “humor” section of the archives and finding this post, a reader emailed to reminisce about a very funny Dave Barry column from the 1990s that made fun of bureaucratic stupidity. After a bit of digging, I found a link. Here’s my favorite part of the column, but I encourge you to read the whole thing:
On May 11, two employees of DeBest Inc., a plumbing company, were working at a construction site in Garden City, Idaho, when they heard a backhoe operator yell for help. They ran over, and found that the wall of a trench – which was NOT dug by DeBest – had collapsed on a worker, pinning him under dirt and covering his head. “We could hear muffled screams,” said one of the DeBest employees. So the men jumped into the trench and dug the victim out, quite possibly saving his life. What do you think OSHA did about this? Do you think it gave the rescuers a medal? If so, I can see why you are a mere lowlife taxpayer, as opposed to an OSHA executive. What OSHA did – remember, I am not making this up – was FINE DEBEST INC. $7,875. Yes. OSHA said that the two men should not have gone into the trench without (1) putting on approved hard hats, and (2) taking steps to insure that other trench walls did not collapse, and water did not seep in. Of course this might have resulted in some discomfort for the suffocating victim (“Hang in there! We should have the OSHA trench-seepage-prevention guidelines here within hours!”). But that is the price you pay for occupational health and safety.
P.S. This Dave Barry column has nothing to do with politics or government, but it is very funny and quite accurate.