Back when I was a working stiff and punching a timecard each day, there were good things and bad things about working. A pay raise was always a good thing. A pay reduction was not.

Vacations were good, holidays, too. Computer breakdowns were not. Promotions were cool, but being fired was definitely a bummer.

But in the years since my retirement, I have come to realize that being fired is not always a bad thing. In the wake of our recent health issues, between us Dearly Beloved and I have either “fired” or been “fired” by three different doctors and health providers. No longer needing their services is a pretty good feeling, but we’re glad they’re all still around just in case either one of us should need them again!

SENATORS: Recently I wrote about a couple of U.S. senators who chose not to resign their offices in the wake of terminal diagnoses. The point I was trying to make was that their actions deprived their constituents of the representation in Congress they rightly deserved as voters.

Penny Freshwater, Ocala, wrote: “Keep healing. While reading your column today I am venturing a guess as to why those senators did not resign. Perhaps more than one. I worked for one politician in a similar position and ‘Poly-ticks’ is about the correct term. Once they get their hooks in they will never let go unless they fail to get reelected. (Can you guess for whom I worked? if not, ask Doug Engle.)

"Secondly, no matter how rich they get they would not want to give up really good medical insurance. You don’t get to keep your insurance for the small group rate once you retire, the premiums go wayyyyyy up. I am sure Medicare wouldn’t provide the level of care they got and you can bet your bottom dollar that one of them did not get his complete care from the VA. Hope you, Dearly Beloved and the kitties stay safe from the storm.”

Ronald Woodard wrote: “I agree with your idea about terminally ill politicians resigning. Politicians who demonstrate obvious mental illness should also be forced to resign.”

Carol Fraser, Ocala, wrote: “I, too, wondered why some people hang on to their congressional seats against all odds. So I looked up congressional perks.

 “Two websites offered this same information: Should a member of Congress die while serving their term, the surviving family members are entitled to death benefits equivalent to one year’s salary — a minimum of $174,000. This was the case for the widow of New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg when he passed away in 2013. By comparison, families of members of the armed forces killed in the line of duty are only privy to a gratuity payment of $100,000.

“This information was from a while ago, so the amounts may have changed. A year’s salary plus the status of dying while serving in Congress and making national news might be the incentive to keep the seat. Best wishes to you and DB to heal well!”

POLICE CALL: Summerfield’s Jim Stayton wrote: “The comments about policing the area reminded me of a sergeant who used to say, ‘All I want to see are (butts) and elbows.’

Yes, Jim, as I recall the word used for “butts” almost rhymed with “elbows”— sergeants can be SOOO poetic at times!

ANONYMOUS: Ocala’s Al Pitts wrote: “Hey Emory, it's great to have you back. Hope the healing is going well and you are quickly up to your old tricks. Doesn't anyone at the Star-Banner realize when they write that something came anonymously it really isn't necessary to follow that with ‘not authorized to speak about it.’ What difference does it make why they want to be anonymous? Is there a legality involved? Say ‘Hi’ to DB and hope to see you at Sammy's soon.”

Al, there’s a reluctance in the industry to use so-called anonymous sources. It makes it easy for the ethically challenged to sneak opinion into news stories and treat it as factual reporting. Saying WHY a source is anonymous tends to counteract that possibility. It’s all about trust ... .

THAT’S A “30”: Oak Run’s Mike Tanzer wrote: “Back in the day, when humans rose from the sea, I wrote news articles for my high school and college papers, and always put the number 30 at the bottom of the page to indicate the end of the story. Do you still do that?”

No, Mike, that’s actually an old telegraph landline practice. The old Morse code guys would frequently send strings of messages in one long transmission and the “30” was inserted between individual messages to indicate to the receiving end where one message ended and the next one began. The practice was adopted by journalists back when they made use of telegraph lines and Morse code, back as you say, “when humans rose from the sea.”

Please send your comments to slyguy73@gmail.com and include your FULL name and town. This column appears each Thursday and Saturday on page B1 and online at ocala.com.