He's not slow! He's momentum-challenged!

The SE Texas Record Jul. 14, 2011, 4:24am

You keep me waitin' till it's getting' aggravatin,'
You're a slow poke.
I wait and worry but you never seem to hurry,
You're a slow poke.

Pee Wee King's recording of "Slow Poke" was a top tune in 1951. The singer starts out complaining about the dawdling pace of his sweetheart, but eventually recognizes that he shouldn't try to change her and that it's up to him to "learn to be a slow poke, too."

That's well and good for friends and lovers, but for bosses and employees it doesn't cut it. With profits and jobs on the line, cultivating patience for slothfulness is not the best approach.

Tempos do vary from job site to job site. Some workplaces are fast-paced, some easy-going, and most fall somewhere in between. Whatever the pace, it behooves an employee to adapt to it, or find work elsewhere.

Jerry Joshua is a slow poke, at least from the perspective of his Wal-Mart supervisor -- who may be too young to remember Pee Wee King's didactic ditty and in any case saw no reason to emulate a dillydallying subordinate.

The supervisor had no intention of adapting to Joshua's slower pace. He had this firm belief that Joshua should speed up instead. He was pretty harsh about it, too, making no effort to soften the blow to Joshua's delicate feelings.

This monster of a man is accused of saying things to Joshua like "Hurry up!" and "You are too slow!"

It was more than Joshua could bear. He's from a tiny island country called Palau--that nobody's ever heard of--500 miles east of the Philippines, where people apparently move at a slower pace and don't say harsh things to each other.

Even though he's a foreigner, Joshua has already mastered the American legal system. Last month, he filed suit against Wal-Mart in the Eastern District of Texas, accusing the company of discriminating against slow pokes.

In his view, plodders are also a protected class. Enterprising lawyers, imagine the possibilities.

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