I was listening to the radio yesterday--to a station other than WFMU--and I heard one of those vague "news reports" that don't actually tell you anything. Sometimes they're only a sentence long and leave you with a LOT of questions, which I find very frustrating. This one said something along the lines of the MTA was cracking down on workers' comp fraud, including one woman bus driver who played drums with a rock band while she was out on disability. "Uh-oh," I thought, because I know of only one woman in the world who meets that description, but of course that's all the so-called report said before they were off to another account of traffic on roads that I don't even know where they are.
It wasn't until I saw the Daily News this morning that my worst fears were confirmed: Valerie Scroggins has been indicted by a Brooklyn grand jury for taking more than $13,000 in workers' comp payments for a shoulder injury that left her unable to drive a city bus, while she toured Europe playing drums with ESG. "Drummer snared in $13G MTA scandal" said the headline, complete with a mugshot and a photo of VS on drums that featured a banner reading "Caught in the act!"
ESG has been one of my favorite bands since the '80s, and one of the highpoints of my life was when I got to introduce them at a WFMU benefit show some years back, even though I kind of mangled what ESG stands for (Emerald, Sapphire, and Gold) and was wearing the infamous "Eat Pie" t-shirt. But still. And I really admire Ms. Scroggins and kind of paid tribute to her in another blog post here. So I'm not unbiased. But it seems to me that it's a lot more important to have a healthy shoulder when driving a bus full of passengers than when playing drums. Couldn't an injury be severe enough to prevent safe driving, and not be so bad that you couldn't bang out a beat? Couldn't it?