Like Rodney Dangerfield, we old geezer’s get no respect. We are smarter than we look. In fact the word “geezer” may be derived from the word “guise,” and come from the idea old men were crafty and clever.

However the State Of New Hampshire, in its infinite wisdom, has decided I, as a “Child Care Professional,” need “continuing education.” First it was six hours a year, and then twelve, and now sixteen, and apparently the Federal Government has plans to push the requirement up to thirty hours a year.

So much for respecting the wisdom of elders… They think I’m just a dumb old dog. They don’t even respect the old saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

They also have no idea of how exhausting it is to watch other people’s children, especially if you truly care. By the time a Saturday comes around what a Child Care Professional really needs is rest. The last thing they need is a long drive to a seminar somewhere, and long hours spent getting lectured by people who may be barely a third your age, and nearly always lack your experience.

Now, if Child Care Professionals were members of the Teacher’s Union, we could take time off during the workweek. The taxpayers would pick up the tab, and the taxpayers would also have to figure out what to do with their children. Teachers shut down the school for their “professional days.” The taxpayers still have to go to work on those days, in order to make the money to pay the taxes, so what they have to do is spend even more money and entrust their children to old geezers like me, if I have any room at my Childcare, on those days.

While the Teacher’s Union makes sure teachers take this time off on the taxpayers dime, (and also makes more work for teachers, for it takes teachers to teach teachers on “professional days,”) we Child Care Professional must pay for “continuing education” out of our own pockets.

Perhaps this is just the Teacher’s Union’s way of putting the squeeze on Child Care Professionals, and forcing us to join their union, and perhaps in the end it will work, however for the time being all it is succeeding in doing is irritating the heck out of old geezers like myself.

It was especially irritating because the past week sapped me, partly because that is simply a side effect of sub-zero cold, and partly because I have been sneezed upon and coughed upon by little children all week.

Likely some of these children belonged home in bed, but in a bad economy taxpayers can’t afford to take time off, even when they themselves are sneezing and coughing, and therefore what they tend to do, out of their desperation, is to load their children up on aspirin and antihistamines and cough syrup, plop them in our laps, and then run like heck for the door, (occasionally even shutting off their cell phones as they go, though most merely cross their fingers and pray.) Then the medications wear off, and we have a sick child on our hands.

Parents are aware our Childcare emphasizes being outside, but being outside, and getting fresh air and exercise, isn’t always the best thing for a sick child. In some cases it can lead to pneumonia. Therefore, until we can locate the parent and get them to return and pick up their child, we have to run a short-term infirmary, which involves deranging our schedule, keeping a member of our staff (and often some children) indoors, and being exposed to a steady stream of hacking and sneezes.

Amazingly, I seldom get sick. For nearly two months there has been a nasty cough going around town which has laid up some of my friends for a fortnight, but perhaps my immune system is bolstered by constant exposure to children’s germs, for I have remained as healthy as a horse, until this Friday, when I noticed I was sniffling and coughing just a bit.

Therefore the last thing I needed was a day of “continuing education.” However I “needed my 6.5 hours,” and therefore, where a sane society would have had me in bed sipping chicken soup, I had to be out before dawn, with temperatures down near zero (F), driving halfway across the state to a distant college (which was likely full of interesting new viruses and bacteria for my immune system to battle.)

As I walked in I was not in a mood conducive to respecting authority. To be quite honest, I flipped open my notebook and prepared to note every idiosyncrasy of the lecturer, so I could write a scathing mockery of the system, for this blog.

Much to my surprise, things seemed different. We didn’t get lectured. To be quite honest, the lecturers themselves seemed fully aware too much is being asked of Child Care Professionals.

“Child Care Professional” is one of the lowest paid occupations in the nation, but if such people didn’t exist, could others go to work? Could teachers teach or nurses nurse?

Don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating a new union or new government Department Of Daycare.

However I am saying attitudes are changing. Be careful not to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

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