So there was this guy.
Took his family on vacation to Mexico.
His family included a teenager.
Now, as a man who successfully raised one teen to adulthood and is going through it a second time, I can tell you one true thing about teenagers. Teenagers are morons … and that includes the geniuses coding their own cellphone apps and hacking government databases for fun.
They’re clinically insane by adult standards, which makes having them around so delightful.
Teens often appear entirely baffled by the consequences of their actions. “Why is everybody mad at me? And why is that thing on fire? Where are my pants? I think I left my backpack on the bus. Where are my glasses? Hold on, since when do I wear glasses?”
Mexican Vacation Dad returns home to discover a smartphone bill for his kid’s phone that rounded off nicely around $20,000.
That’s because the kid took his smartphone with him and spent the entire vacation downloading movies, playing games and posting selfies to Facebook.
Last fall, I drove to Utah to spend a week by myself hiking and camping Bryce Canyon.
Did I take my iPhone — which does not actually belong to me but instead to my employer?
I did not.
This is not because I am a genius.
It was because, like every human being who carries one, I understand some cellphone providers are money thirsty brigands and if I go wandering around the U.S. with a Canadian cellphone for a few days, I’m going to rack up a debt equal to per capita GDP of Haiti.
And I would be held to account by my employer.
As I should be.
What I don’t understand is why staffers at Alberta Health Services have the same measured, intelligent, mature approach to smartphone use as a 14-year-old with the attention span of a mosquito that just fed on a meth-head.
Perhaps because it never occurred to them they would be held to account.
According to a Wildrose freedom of information request, a bunch of clowns working at AHS who had phone bills over $500 a month racked up extra roaming charges that totalled $800,000 over an 18-month stretch.
In case you’re wondering, according to an AHS report I read, that works out to about 89 knee replacements. Nearly 100 people could have had their suffering ended, but no. Some AHS twits had to wander out of their coverage area with their phones on. So, whoever those 89 people are, enjoy walking with a cane and washing your T3s down with Scotch until there’s money for your surgery.
The boss of AHS, Vickie Kaminski, said she thought the extra charges were the result of ignorance rather than abuse.
Well, Ms. Kaminski, if the people working for you are that Arkansas ignorant, maybe you better get new people.
The pathetic thing is that this is merely the tiniest window into life in Toryland.
Slick Jim has managed to convince Albertans the Tories are new and revitalized, leading to one inescapable conclusion: the Progressive Conservative Party is the only reptile on the planet that, when you cut off its head, the snake lives.
Stelmach? Whack! Snake’s fine. Redford? Whack! Snake’s fine.
Now the head of the snake looks like Jim Prentice.
What nobody seems to notice is that the snake itself hasn’t changed.
The hallmarks of this government are, and will continue to be until handed defeat: Entitlement. Arrogance. Carelessness.
Sure, Slick Jim’s bluster was beautiful. He said: “I think it’s fair to say there seems to be a lot of smartphones at AHS, but a large number of them don’t seem to have smart people attached to them.”
He totally stole the Wildrose thunder.
But the fact is that as Jim Prentice takes the case for highly destructive new and increased existing taxes to the public to deal with the latest oil shock, that this is where vast amounts of your tax money is going.
Towards inefficient, careless idiocy.
On Twitter: @SUNIanRobinson