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40-07-22 Mr. Donahue Asks for Demotion


Sade, the bubbling gossiper, has news to share with Vic and Rush. Mr. Donahue has asked for a demotion back to being an "ordinary engineer." 
Mr. Donahue’s fancy new job as traveling inspector of locomotives isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, it turns out.

Climbing the ladder sounds great, and it’s part of the American dream to rise above your initial station in life, but it’s not always as easy as it sounds to make that change. Paul Rhymer explores that part of American culture that we like to think doesn’t exist — class. Certainly class isn’t as present in American lives as it is in other countries, but it’s there — just in subtle ways. One of Mr. Donahue’s biggest problems with his new job is that he has risen in class — and, as a result, he’s been forcibly separated from his friends.
SADE: Mr. Donahue loses out on jolly fellowship with his friends.
VIC: How so?
SADE: Well, mainly because he’s the boss.
VIC: Mmm.
SADE: Take it when he makes a trip to St. Louis, for instance.
VIC: Uh?
SADE: At the end of the run, the fireman and the engineer go to a restaurant patronized by railroad men.
VIC: Uh-huh.
SADE: Well, Mr. Donahue, of course, goes along. All right. They go inside the eatin’ place, and the other two fellas sit at the counter. But Mr. Donahue ain’t supposed to sit at the counter. He’s travelin’ inspector of locomotives. Dignity, see.
VIC: Mmm.
SADE: He has to take a table. All by himself. Counter is crowded with brakemen and engineers and firemen and flagmen and so on, all laughin’ and talkin’ and havin’ a high old time. All friends of Mr. Donahue, too. He’d love to join ‘em. But he can’t. He has to sit at his table with the white cover on it and watch everybody enjoy theirself.
VIC: Huh.
SADE: Day after day, that business. St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago, Joliet, Alton, Peoria…every place.
VIC: Uh.
SADE: Well, Mis’ Donahue told me it almost breaks his heart.
It’s not that he has a higher salary — it’s that he’s an authority figure, and in that kind of job structure, you can’t be equal to everyone else. Class has to rear its ugly head. Mr. Donahue cares about friendship and happiness more than he cares about money or prestige. He’s just not cut out to be a boss. Wonder what Rhymer would have thought of Jon Ronson’s research on sociopathy and CEOs… 
SEE THE SCRIPT (transcribed by Lydia Crowe)
Perhaps the most serious of the episodes that remain in circulation, there are few if any funny lines in this episode.

This episode however, can boast as being one of the best-sounding ones of the lot.


+ Sade calls one of Rush's friends "What's His Name"; we never do find out who she is talking about.

+ Oakland Avenue is mentioned. From the way Sade was talking, it must be in expensive part of town.

Download the complete commercial-free, sound-improved episode!

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