The Heart of Darkness
They say, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
Have you missed me?
Or did you barely notice my absence?
I wish I could say that I’ve been away on some wonderful excursion, ticking items off my bucket list, but no such luck.
In truth, I haven’t had much heart to write.
I’ve spent some of my time away trying to clean out and clean up around here. Trying to cull years of collectibles and stuff that seem to accumulate despite my best efforts, not to mention two moves in the last eight years, during which I thought I pitched a lot. I can be brutal when I jettison things, and find that it gets easier as I age, because I don’t remember many things once they’re gone.
But for some reason, I had kept every copy of Dog News in which one of my articles appeared. Don’t really know why, given they are available online. But there was something about having copies in print that I enjoyed. And it made it easier to retrieve if I needed an old article for reference.
But during my recent purge, I decided the magazines were taking up too much space, and it was time for them to go. I decided I would cut out my articles from each one, put them in a file, and trash the magazines.
Going through my old columns was a sad reminder that over almost eight years, very little has changed.
Many of them could run today, next week, next month and still be relevant.
I feel like I keep saying the same things, raising the same questions, and yet, no one seems to care.
Miss the results of the most recent AKC Board elections? No worries, the same crowd is still there. In fact, I wager that, given the delegate body is being duped into doing away with the current term-limit rule, the same ones will still be there five years from now, unless someone dies. What the delegates should be doing — and should have done years ago — is pass a term-limits rule that is actually meaningful. Instead, they have had this “one year off” rule that many have figured out how to game. And if conventional wisdom among the delegates is now that the current rule is a waste, then you don’t just throw up your hands and walk away; you pass term limits that ensure people don’t turn board service into a career.
Miss the fact that the AKC’s Form 990 for the 2019 tax year was finally made public? No worries; it’s essentially the same as the 2018 and the 2017 returns. AKC had an almost double-digit net loss — $9.3 million, following a $17.8 million net loss in 2018, and a $10.3 million net loss in 2017. And, as in years prior, and despite the third year in a row with a net loss, several executives received six-figure bonuses. Has anyone asked why the 2019 return was delayed? Was there an audit or some other problem? And why does executive staff continue to receive high-dollar bonuses, in some cases even more than their salary, purportedly based off of prior-year financial performance, which was abysmal?
Miss the fact that the extracted data from AKC’s 2020 Form 990 (but not the actual return) has also been made public? No worries, as AKC has bragged, it shows a financial turnaround finally — a profit of $10.5 million. But we all recall what happened in 2020, and in addition to events being cancelled, and the tremendous cost savings AKC pocketed because of that, that profit came from the sacrifice of almost one-third of AKC’s workforce. Furloughed, laid off, jettisoned like a stack of old magazines, with 48 hours notice. And with no health insurance, but for the grace of Take the Lead. Hey, by the way, Take the Lead folks, you’ll be happy to know that despite the “cost cutting measures” implemented during COVID, AKC’s executives still managed to suck up 5.4% of AKC’s total expenses with their own compensation, which came close to matching the percentage it was in 2017. No AKC executives were harmed in the filming of the pandemic.
I can feel myself getting discouraged again. My heart is getting heavy at the thought that, in the case of AKC, it may be a different day, but it’s most definitely the same stinky pile. Instead, I think it’s time to turn back to my trashing and purging. I get a warm feeling every time I pitch some crap and drive away from the dump.