#38) Learning From Idiots, Part 3

Talk about hating your job.

Hans Url, a 56-year old Austrian man, was told that the government disability benefits he was receiving would run out if he refused a job that had been found for him.  He responded by sawing off his own foot to remain on disability.

As bizarre as the story is, and as unsympathetic a character as Url may be compared to the countless people in the United States and elsewhere who are desperate for work, I’ve caught myself thinking about his plight since I first heard about it last week.  When I’ve found myself being less than thrilled about work, I think at least I don’t hate my job enough to cut my own foot off.  Come to think of it, I’ve never had a job–even working in a Greyhound bus station or teaching special education in South Los Angeles–that I’ve hated so much that I would consider doing something like that.

It’s safe to say, too, that Url is obviously not quite right in the head.  Like the killers profiled in Jonathan Kambouris’s Last Meals Project (see D-Theory #24),   Url is a human being, however inappropriate and dangerous his actions may have been.  No, he doesn’t get many sympathy votes when compared to people who suffer such devastating injuries through no fault of their own, but he obviously was in some sort of emotional pain and distress.  After all, nobody wakes up in the morning wanting to cut off their own foot, no matter how much they hate their job.  Whether he’s a dangerous psychopath or a victim of an inefficient government bureaucracy, Hans Url’s story stood out to me among all of the other news items I’ve consumed recently.

The irony is that, for all of his efforts, Url may have to go to work after all.  Like Cary Elwes’s character from the movie “Saw”, his efforts may be all in vain.

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