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The Ethical Engineer

You too can experience that clean, fresh, restorative feeling that comes from not being sodomized by supersonic telephone poles.

Jonathan Swift
swift@softwareproblem.net

October 30, 2009

Tuesday night I promised that I would print hardcopies of Holly's and Blarney's expressions of concern for my mental well-being, then ask my psychiatrist Dr. G. to read them Wednesday morning so he could give his expert opinion as to whether I was on my way to the booby hatch.

But I didn't, and all I would say was that we discussed something else. Blarney was dismayed as he felt I was hiding something of vital importance from the one man who could possibly save me if I were flipping out.

I wasn't hiding anything; it's just that Dr. G. and I were discussing something far, far more important than my little spat with bride of spidy. I feel that I owe the lot of you an explanation.

I expect you will all express concern of the terrible consequences that will surely result from my posting this story here at Kuro5hin. All I have to say are the words of the Immortal J.R. "Bob" Dobbs:

Fuck 'Em If They Can't Take A Joke.


Dear Friends,

Please forgive me for the length of this email. I beg you to find the patience to read it all, to spend some time thinking about what I have to say, and to discussing it among yourselves. If you can do that for me, then I'm quite sure this whole sorry mess will soon be no more than a bad memory.

I just spent the whole afternoon and evening contemplating all that has gone on, as well as reflecting on an essay I wrote a while back whose advice applies here. It's on the Internet, and is just a page and a half or so. It won't take five minutes to read it. The link is at the very end of this mail.

I spent the whole time since early this afternoon reflecting on what my most important values are, both as an engineer and as a human being. I understand completely that I have been overcome with rage since Brian Lazara want absolutely apeshit at me late Sunday night, for not having done some work that no one ever requested that I do.

I spoke, wrote and even shouted many harsh words, and I made many rash decisions that came from my anger and not from my heart. For that I owe all of you an apology.

These values are:

I spent many, many years figuring out that these are values that I ought to have, that I want to have, to be dedicated to, and to live faithfully by. But even the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King readily admitted he was a sinner. I'm afraid I often fall short, and I did so this week. It took me until this afternoon to even realize that fact. That's why I've just spent a good eight hours contemplating what I would write in this letter.

I discuss most of those values in that short essay whose link is at the end of this mail. Most men like to relax by drinking beer and watching football on TV. The way I like to relax is to write essays and post them on the Internet. I long ago lost count but they surely number in the hundreds. One of those essays has been Google's top hit for legal music downloads since August of 2003. For several years I earned three to five thousand dollars per month from Google AdSense published on just that one page. The reason I've been writing that audio player of mine is that I hope to earn even more ad revenue from articles published on its website.

I write so many essays because they help me answer my life's most difficult questions. I learned in graduate school that the very best way one can understand a complex, difficult topic is to explain it to someone else. If you yourself don't have a deep or complete understanding, your explanation won't make much sense to your student. I write all these essays to answer questions of my own. I publish all those essays because I know that sometimes other people have the same questions.

What I am about to say, I wouldn't have dreamed of saying a few hours ago:

My sincere hope is that we can resolve this entire problem completely amicably. I am absolutely serious.

I still insist that the only choices I offer are that I get my job back, or that I take both of your companies to trial. I will not compromise. I've already explained why to all of you. I will reiterate: there is no question whatsoever of any kind of monetary settlement. Either I'm back at my desk there in Santa Clara, or my attorney and your attorneys are all going to be duking it out in a Court of Law.

But it occurred to me this afternoon that I have given Mark a whole bunch of reasons as to why he ought to fire Brian Lazara. The people at Data Robotics aren't aware yet, but today I gave Robert and Tracy a whole bunch of reasons that Oxford Global Resources ought to fire Trisha Vavak. Simply having exposed both companies to this kind of legal liability would be enough for most companies to want to fire someone.

I don't want either of them to be fired.

I would be quite surprised if Brian did not insist he would resign if I were rehired. Mark would be in an awful fix if Brian did say so - to subject the company to a potentially devasting lawsuit, or to lose the company's most valuable engineer at such a critical time?

I don't want that either. If I am able to get my job back, I want Brian to continue to be the Senior Director of Software, and I want Trisha to continue to be an Oxford recruiter.

Things would be quite awkward and difficult for us all, but I would do my best to make it work. But if I were rehired, and Trisha and Brian were still at their jobs, I would require that they make significant efforts of their own to overcome the burdens they each bear.

While giving me my old job back would solve my problem, if Brian and Trisha weren't able to keep their jobs, it wouldn't solve their problems. My hope is that we could all work together to solve everyone's problem.

It's not so much that I feel some need to fix either of them as individuals, but that they are both shining examples of the problems that enslave the minds of all too many in our deeply troubled world. Taken to extremes problems such as Trisha and Brian are burdened with have given us the Bernie Maddox pyramid scheme, the global economic meltdown, and suicide bombers from the World Trade Center then east all the way around to Indonesia.

Greed and Anger, my friends. Two of The Seven Deadly Sins. I am not at all a religious man, but those who were taught us some very important lessons when they came up with that short, seven-element list of why we are all bound for Hell someday if we don't work hard and take care not to let The Devil steal our souls.

If Trisha and Brian were to leave their jobs, I am quite sure that they would each just end up in some other job doing all the same damnfool things. That would be the case whether they were a recruiter and a software engineer, or if they were both flipping burgers at McDonalds. They would be the same kind of problem to their fellow burger flippers as they were to me and to our two companies. The Deadliness of their Sins would just perpetuate. I don't want that for them. I don't want that for anyone.

We all know what my complaint about Brian is. I should explain to the Data Robotics people what I said today to Robert Brown and Tracy McBride at Oxford Global Resources, that gives me some reason to believe that they are likely to fire Trisha for what she did to me:

When I sent Brian and John that email late Sunday night, in which I bluntly stated that Brian's abuse was simply intolerable, I BCCed it to Trisha. The reason I did so is that I was an Oxford employee, not a Data Robotics employee. In part I felt that it was my responsibility to let my employer know that there was a problem developing between myself and Oxford's client, but far, far more importantly I expected Trisha to come to my aid.

When I sent that mail to Trisha, it was because I expected that she would come to Data Robotics' office on Monday to make it damn well clear to the lot of you that Brian's must put an end to his angry assaults on me. Naive, perhaps - but surely you must agree that that's what any decent human being would have done.

I didn't come to work Monday because I needed the time alone, in private, to think about how I would deal with Brian when I returned to work. I didn't expect to take the whole day off - I planned to come in as soon as I made up my mind. But I spent all day Monday, all night Monday night, and well into Tuesday morning wracked with anxiety. I got no sleep at all Monday night, so by the middle of the day on Tuesday I was completely baked.

I would first speak privately to Mark Herbert, and then I would ask him and John Turner to meet with me and Brian. I would then say right to Brian's face that he had a serious anger problem, that it wasn't just me who was complaining but that my coworkers were complaining as well, that it was absolutely unacceptable that he allow his anger to make my place of work so abusive. But most important of all, I would tell Brian that if he didn't find some way to overcome it, it would lead to his own self-destruction.

I should also say... I've been thinking about my plan to have said that all week long, and I remain convinced that it would have been the right thing to do. And I know better than most of you could ever comprehend that Brian's anger would be his downfall. Not "Could Be". No: "Would Be". There is no question whatsoever. Unless Brian is able to find a solution to his anger, his fate will be written in the stars in much the same way as Oedipus Rex' decision to tear both his eyes out with his own hands was predestined the instant he slept with his own mother.

For the same reason as I sent that first email to Trisha, I sent her an email explaining this whole plan.

She was quite frantic and very insistent that I speak to her before I went to work. I was having some trouble with my phone which freaked her out but good. I emailed her to say I had been up all night worrying, and that I might not be competent to drive my car to the office, to which she replied:

Subject: RE: Brian's Anger Problem

Hi Mike,

Please call me right now. You will feel better after our conversation and then you Can just stay home and relax.

Sincerely,

Trisha

I took that to mean she actually did come to my aid as I hoped, and that she had gotten a commitment from Data Robotics' senior management that Brian would never be allowed to flip out at me again.

Considerably relieved, I finally connected with Trisha on the phone.

I tried at first to explain what had happened, but she interrupted me to point out just how bad the economy was, that the only reason the economy appears to be recovering is that employers are cutting costs by laying off their workers, and that there are twenty-four thousand homeless people in Silicon Valley. She pointed out how blessed she felt to have a job herself, and how very difficult it was for her to place anyone with Oxford's clients.

None of that was news to me. But what I wanted to know was what she had done about Brian's attack on me Sunday night.

I tried very, very hard to stay cool and to have a rational, reasonable discussion with her. But she simply would not let me speak.

Finally she told me that because I did not come to work on Monday, Brian decided it would be best for all concerned if I and Data Robotics were to part ways.

I explained that the reason I didn't come to work was that I needed time to think about how I would deal with his assault on me Sunday night, and that I had worked long hours both Saturday and Sunday. Even had I not spent the day overcome with despair, surely I deserved a day of rest?

I pointed out that I had fixed all kinds of problems in the Snow Leopard iSCSI driver that no one at the company had the first clue how to even approach, and that I took that driver from utterly and completely broken to working quite reliably.

I pointed out that late Sunday night, Brian went absolutely ballistic at me for not done some work that no one ever requested of me. I pointed out that I emailed Brian, John Turner and herself to insist that his behavior was simply unacceptable. I pointed out that it was quite clear that Brian fired me in retaliation for having the balls to stand up to his abuse:

Subject: Re: command line options

Brian,

I expect I can figure out the correct build command line, but I'll have to research it as I haven't ever used xcodebuild much at all.

And regarding our misunderstanding, I'm not sure what happened, but I think it is related to a comment you made in bug 7150. Let's discuss that tomorrow, but after looking at that bug I think I understand the disconnect.

Thank you. I appreciate very much that you wrote to tell me that. I really mean that.

When I left tonight I was very, very angry. Right up until reading your mail just now, I was getting ready to quit. My plan for tomorrow was to come fetch my coffee cup from my desk and just leave - for good.

I have been working like a slave for you people. I have fixed a bunch of problems that no one else at Data Robotics would have ever had the first clue how to even approach, as well as a bunch of other problems that I discovered and fixed without ever logging in Bugzilla.

I realize that in your position of responsibility you are under a great deal of stress. But that is not a good reason to take your frustrations out on your coworkers. You need to find some other way to manage your anger.

I have worked too hard to perfect my craft, and for too long, to be treated the way you treated me this evening. I am an experienced professional and expect to be treated like one.

See you tomorrow,

Mike

I'm not real clear what either Trisha or I said after this. We were both shouting. Finally I insisted she tell me what it was that she promised would make me feel so much better.

It was that I didn't have to work at Data Robotics anymore. I didn't like my job there you see. Brian wanted to help me out by letting me go on my way.

WHAT.

THE.

FUCK.

I don't remember what I screamed as I hung up, but I'm sure if I were to put it in this email it would peel the paint off all your office walls.

I decided to go for a drive. To think, you see. I was so lost in thought as to be unaware of the tremendous velocity my humble Chevy Prizm could surprisingly achieve. But as luck would have it, neither did I wrap myself around a telephone pole nor get myself hauled to the slammer by the California Highway Patrol.

I wasn't going anywhere at first. Eventually I decided to head home. But at the last minute, I decided No, I wasn't going to take this, so I drove to Data Robotics then asked May, our receptionist, to have Mark Herbet come speak to me. I was so overcome with grief that I could barely speak. "Please forgive me for having to ask this of you May. You are a fine human being, you don't deserve this."

"Tell Mark it concerns a lawsuit, and that if he is to have any hope to avoid it, he will come speak to me."

Mark came to speak to me.

I related my experiences with Brian's anger, such as how he got all pissed off when I changed the password on the box I use for testing. "I just wanted it to be the same as my other Mac," I stammered incredulously.

I told him that at first I thought Brian didn't like me personally. Had that really been the case we would never have had any kind of problem. I learned long ago of the tremendous value of being able to work effectively with coworkers I dislike or who dislike me. I learned one can put aside one's personal differences for the greater good of one's team, and for one's company. Thus I was determined not to mention Brian's feelings toward me to anybody, and I never did, not until late Sunday night.

I realized that he didn't have a problem with me personally, but that he had a more general anger problem when one of my coworkers complained about Brian's anger to another of our coworkers. That coworker replied that Brian was "The Bad Cop".

I explained the email I sent to Brian, John and Trisha after Brian flipped out at me late Sunday night. I should have copied Mark as well, but I felt that John, as my manager, and Trisha, as my agent, ought to have been able to resolve the situation on their own.

I pointed out just how glaringly obvious it was that I was fired in retaliation for writing that email.

I told Mark that I wanted my job back, and that if I didn't get it, then I would sue Data Robotics, Oxford Global Resources and Brian Lazara - as an individual - for wrongful termination. I told Mark that if I were to sue, that I would not accept any manner of monetary settlement because our hearing would be open to the public, and the court transcript and the judge's opinion would all be matters of public record.

If I wasn't able to get my job back, then I wanted this whole sorry mess to be hung out in public for all to see.

I am no longer upset as I was, but I have spent quite a lot of time considering the wisdom of my wrongful termination lawsuit, and I remain committed to this course. It has nothing to do with any kind of revenge or desire to hurt anyone. It is to vindicate my good name.

I was fired for something wrong that Brian himself did. If I were to accept a settlement, there would always be the question in the minds of potential employers that Brian had fired me for a legitimate reason. My plan is that if it does come to trial, then for the rest of my days I'll bring a hardcopy of the judge's opinion with me to all my job interviews.

I explained - and I really stressed this point - that it was not at all that I wanted to sue anyone or that I wanted any amount of money. I wanted to right a wrong, and the way things could be set right would be for me to be back at my desk fixing all the bugs in those device drivers.

"It's a matter of simple justice," I explained.

I explained some of the problems I fixed, and how unlikely it was that anyone else at the company would ever have figured out the AMD64 Red Zone bug. I asked Mark to look through the logs of all my Subversion commits, as well as to look at all their diffs so he could see for himself the quality and value of all the work I had done.

He promised that he would, and that he would investigate my claims. He said he would need some time to reach his decisions. I told him to take whatever time he needed.

We shook hands and parted. As I was on my way out, he called out to me to come back. "It's your all-important coffee cup. May put some Halloween treats in it for you."

It's hard to explain, but I found a great deal of refuge in May's small act of kindness that allowed me to forget for a moment the maelstrom of despair that I otherwise felt.

I don't remember at all clearly, but at some point Trisha and I spoke on the phone again. Again she kept interrupting me and changing the subject, and again she would not allow me to speak. And again I shouted some manner of obscenity as I hung up on her.

She left me a voice mail later. I can send you all a WAV file her message once I can convert the Skype audio format. In that calm, warm, gentle motherly voice she has, she explained that she knew how hard it was for me to be at Data Robotics, and how much happier I must be now that I wasn't forced to work there anymore.

Enough Was Fucking Enough. That's when I sent her and Kevin Pierpoint the following:

Subject: You need an attorney

Trisha,

I just listened to the last of your voice mails from last night. I don't know where you got the idea that I should be happy about having been fired from a job in retaliation for protesting abusive working conditions, but I'm definitely not happy about it at all. I liked working at Data Robotics just fine, in fact I felt it was one of the best places I've ever worked.

The fact that you didn't address my threat of a lawsuit suggests to me that you are trying to manipulate me. That's not going to work.

I'll tell you again: you need to discuss this incident with Oxford's senior management as well as with Oxford's legal council. If you don't have a lawyer on staff, then the company needs to retain one.

If you haven't already spoken about me to your attorney by the time my own attorney contacts him, I'm sure that it won't look good for you.

Mike

Kevin got right back to me with the contact info for Robert Brown, Oxford's Counsel, and Tracy McBride, Oxford's Human Resources Manager. I haven't heard from Trisha anymore.

After speaking with Robert and Tracy today, I emailed them the following to explain why for many years I flatly refused to have anything to do with agency recruiters. That turned out to be a financial catastrophe - but for eight good long years I was able to experience that clean, fresh, restorative feeling that comes from not being sodomized by supersonic telephone poles:

The reason I was so blunt in pointing out Trisha's manipulation was that in our previous discussions, I had made it very clear how angry I was that I had been so unjustly fired.

As I said to you both on the phone today, for several months I had held Trisha in the very highest regard. She always struck me as a warm, kind and gentle woman, someone who took a great deal of interest in me as an individual human being. She seemed quite unlike the vast majority of the agency recruiters I have ever dealt with.

So many of the contract recruiters I have dealt with over the years have been such ignorant, underhanded and greedy sleazeballs that for many years I was unwilling even to reply to their inquiries, let alone actually work for them

I thought Trisha was different.

But during each of my phone conversations with her this week, she simply refused to address any of my concerns, she kept interrupting me and changing the subject, and making it completely apparent that she was not listening to anything I said. Each time I hung up on her quite abruptly, after bluntly pointing out to her that she was ignoring me and wouldn't even allow me to speak.

What I understand now is that because Trisha is so skilled at faking genuine human compassion, she is actually the very worst kind of ignorant, underhanded and greedy sleazeball.

Trisha Vavak is a fucking hypocrite. I hope she burns in Hell.

I went on to quote a bit of my article Market Yourself: Tips for High Tech Consultants, which explains how, despite my refusal to deal with the "Body Shops" as we Professional Custom Software Developers so cheerfully refer to them, I was always able to find work even during the very worst of Dot-Com crash. I wrote that article when some borker who managed to track me down at my parents' home hounded me mercilessly to take her contract, despite my insistence that what I really wanted was to spend some quiet, quality time with my gravely ill father:

... most of the agencies either don't understand what the client is looking for, what skills the candidate has, or just don't give a damn because there is so much money to be made in this high-tech boom economy that all but the very best prefer to just harass any clueless kid into submitting a resume and fast-talking the client into hiring them so they can get their commission and move on to the next client and candidate.

Remember:

The high-tech economy is fueled by our hard labor and the sweat of our rows, not by those who would feed off us like the prostitutes and swindlers hanging around gold mining camps.

WE ARE NOT CATTLE!

It is readily within our grasp to build wonderful lives for ourselves and our clients and products for our users completely on our own, if only we would admit to ourselves that we can and take the power into our own hands that we were born with.

If you're a recruiter reading this and you're offended, I'd like to take this opportunity to suggest you do something to work within your industry to police yourselves and set some kind of standards.

I once got an email from some borker who read that then accused me of stealing food from his hungry child's mouth.

My Heart Bleeds.

I apologize again for having gone on at such length before getting to my point. As I write this it is one o'clock Friday morning; I've been at this for eleven hours, first in contemplation of what to write, then actually writing it.

My objective has been to drive home my assertion that:

The Body Shop Industry - the contract personnell agencies and the headhunters - is fundamentally corrupt.

While I do know a few recruiters who really are honest, ethical and caring people, they are an incredibly tiny minority.

It's because there is so incredibly much money to be made. I don't know what the rates are now, but during the Dot-Com boom, the placement of a single software engineer could earn a borker thirty thousand dollars.

That's not chump change, folks!

The problem all the borkers face is that there are so many of them, and so few of us coders. Their problem is made far worse by the fact that the technologies used by the computer industry are so fragmented. Life wouldn't be so hard for a borker if there were only one programming language, one kind of operating system and one brand of development system - but there are dozens of languages in widespread use, hundreds of operating systems as well if you consider all the embedded platforms and the wide variations among the Open Source Linux and BSD distributions, and many development systems as well.

It wouldn't be so hard if the clients were willing to train new coders, but they rarely are. I expect their reluctance stems from the incredible expense incurred in hiring agency contract programmers. If they're going to pay so much money to the body shops to acquire a body, they want that body to hit the ground running.

Round up all the coders in the entire world, then divide them up according to the programming language they know best, then divide each of the language groups by the operating system they code for, then divide each of these smaller groups up by the development tool they each use. You can see how the pool of qualified candidates can get real small.

Now consider, for each tiny little candidate pool, just the candidates who live close enough to the client's office that they can drive or take public transit to work, without having to relocate geographically.

From that last tiny little bit, take all the candidates who are gainfully employed and who are happy with their jobs, then line them up against the wall and mow down every last one of their sorry lot with a Gatling Gun.

Those few left standing are the candidates who a recruiter could righteously and ethically submit to their client who will pay them thirdy grand for a W-2 employee who remains on the top, or at a minimum, thirty percent of a Custom Software Developer's hourly rate for each our his firm invoices.

Are there any left standing? C'mon - their has to be someone! There is right? RIGHT? IS THERE ANYBODY IN THERE? PLEASE!!!!! Oh Fuck what am I gonna do....

When I interviewed for a position writing Mac OS X RAID Host Bust Adapter Device Drivers at Applied Micro Circuits Corporation back in the Summer of 2007, I was asked how synchronization was usually done in the Mac OS X I/O Kit. I replied that one used something called an IOCommandGate, which would execute a function that one supplies in a single-threaded way.

After my interview, I was headed back to Santa Cruz with the friend I was visiting when the hiring manager from AMCC phoned to ask me to come back and speak to more of his engineers. I interviewed with three more of them, then was asked to wait for a little bit. I heard a great deal of whispering but was unable to make out any words.

Finally the manager came in, and explained to me what was meant by each of Data Robotics are paying attention here, to the fact all the Borkers you hand over so much cash in hopes they can turn up qualified candidatesare so in the grip of the Deadly Sin of Greed that they have no concern whatsoever for actually serving any of their clients' needs.

While the words "Windows" and "Device Driver" do appear in my software consultant resume, nowhere in my resume do the words appear next to each other. I don't have the first clue how to write Windows Device Drivers, yet every single day I get at least one inquiry from a borker wanting to place me in a Windows Device Driver position. For all the money they're getting paid, surely they would take the time to actually read our resumes. But no, most of them don't.

Now, about Trisha Vavak - remember Trisha Vavak? I don't want her to get fired for being a fucking hypocrite, nor do I want her to get fired for having used, betrayed then manipulated me. Again from my consultant marketing article:

If you're a recruiter reading this and you're offended, I'd like to take this opportunity to suggest you do something to work within your industry to police yourselves and set some kind of standards.

Rather than fire Trisha Vavak, I'd like to ask you folks at Oxford Global Resources to commence that process of working within your industry to police yourselves and to set some kind of standards, by working with Trisha in hopes that you might find a way to cure her of the powerful, soul-destroying force of Greed that led her to throw me under a train rather than lose Oxford's contract with Data Robotics.

I've been a coder for twenty-five years now. While Trisha Vavak was a lot more subtle and clever than any recruiter I have ever dealt with, her appalling lack of scruples is actually quite typical. If you can set her on The Path of Righteousness, then surely you could save the souls of every recruiter in the world.

My message to Oxford Global Resources is simply this:

... or ...

I don't know why Brian Lazara is such an angry man, but despite what did to me, I actually have a great deal of sympathy for him. Quite likely his anger is a symptom of neurosis caused by some horrible traumatic experience from his early childhood. Such deep-seated anger often originates for completely justified reasons.

It becomes a problem when the anger becomes disconnected from what one was originally angry about. One then unconsciously projects this anger all over everyone that one encounters, without understanding that he who really is deserving of your wrath committed his special crime many, many years ago, and quite likely is now gone from your life.

Such anger can also arise from neurological conditions such as Tourette's Syndrome.

The treatments for it include psychotherapy, group therapy - particularly anger management and men's groups, and antipsychotic drugs such as Zyprexa, Seroquel and Risperdal. If Brian could be convinced to avail himself of even one of these, no doubt he would someday be as happy and friendly as Mr. Rogers.

But Trisha?

For that kind of Deadly Sin, I'm not at all sure there could ever be a Salvation.

Well, it's five in the morning, I'm hungry and it's getting to be time to go hit on a cute graveyard shift waitress. The next few lines aren't going to make a whole lot of sense to any of you quite yet:

Copyright © 2009 Michael David Crawford.

Creative Commons License
The Ethical Engineer by Michael David Crawford is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

You see, twenty-two years ago when I decided to make a career of software engineering, I had quite grand hopes for what I might achieve over the course of my lifetime. Yet despite being in a few important respects one of the very best coders in the industry, the sad fact is that the kind of abuse I received at the hands of Brian Lazara and Trisha Vavak has been actually quite typical of my experience.

The very richest man I ever met or am ever likely to meet went on a month-long vacation cruise without remembering to pay the entire staff of his personal hedge fund. He only paid us once a month because he resented the time and effort required to write out our checks, so I was out a whole month's pay then had to wait a month to get that check.

For some time now, I have been working towards a change in careers. I play the piano, and aim to be a professional musician someday. I even hope that one day I might learn to compose symphonies.

I figure that Right Now might be a good time to make The Leap.

Now that short essay I promise all of you at the beginning of all this. It's here:

I am no better than any other man. I strive for Salvation, yet without a doubt I am a Sinner. Often I stray, sometimes so far as to become completely lost in the wilderness. Yet all it takes is for me to look at the photograph in that essay and I am set right back on the Straight and Narrow. I need not even read the text anymore; the photo is enough.

If I had my way, I would staple that essay to the foreheads of every single engineer on The Entire God Damn Planet Earth. That way we could all get a refresher any time we looked at one another.

I'll close by repeating the choices I offer Data Robotics and Oxford Global Resources: either I get my job back, or I take my lawsuit to trial. I will not consider any manner of monetary settlement. But I will sweeten my offer:

Should we go to trial, and should the judge find against me, that no crime was committed, then I shall happily cut my stomach open with a rusty entrenching tool and serve you my own spleen on a silver platter.

You Have My Word.

Robert, please write up a legally-binding contract to that effect and email me the document. I'll sign two copies of it, FedEx one back to you and drop the other one off for Mark Herbert. And Why? I'll answer that question by addressing Brian and Trisha directly:

Because If What You Two Ignorant Mother Fuckers Did To Me Was Not Some Kind Of Crime, It God Damn Well Should Be.