Mark my words. Sooner or later you too will be forced to deal with bureaucracy. It can be local, state or federal, but you will find yourself dancing with the great wall of ineptitude and boredom. And you will never be the same.
Never will you take any joy lightly again. Never will you be tempted to grouse at the minor IQ challenges you face at banks, super markets, and the gas station. No, you my friend have met the enemy, the great behemoth of all insanity–the bureaucrat.
A few brave this affront to humanity and they survive, nay, they conquer the beast, and they retrieve that which they sought. And what is that? It is what they were ever entitled to in the first place. Information that belonged to them and has been cruelly twisted so as to effect great harm on the innocent,that is, the owner.
It starts out like this:
You want to something. It is something legal, and something you take for granted as your right to do.
You begin said process of doing your God-given, constitutionally allowed thing.
A government, of which you have sworn allegiance and paid taxes to, says “whoa there hot shot, not so fast.”
For the common good, for health, for safety, and to make the columns add up right, but mostly for our devilish delight and because after all, it’s Tuesday, the day we love to f**k over the public at large, YOU cannot proceed until you do this!
You reel back in shock, dumbfoundedness, and all-around confusion. Suddenly, a spectre of your long departed past arises with dripping fangs and lunges!
“What has X got to do with Y?” you exclaim.
“Everything and nothing,” is the response.
“Mostly nothing, but hey, we like our paperwork neat and tidy, and this has been in our done but not done file for thirteen bazillion years. Now we demand you dot the final “i”.
Knowing that you have lost before you start, you capitulate immediately. “Just where do I go?” you whimper?
“Call the bureaucracy of doom.”
You shrink in terror. You moan. You have a conniption fit. You literally lay on the floor, kicking and screaming. “There must be another way,” you wail.
The powers grin, with sick delight. “No, no other way. Do it, or be forever barred from doing It.”
So you pray, you meditate, you collect stuff with numbers and letters and dates, and your pen and pencil and adding machine, and paper and coffee strong, and napkins and kleenex. You wipe your perspiring brow. You beat your chest, and “man up,” or “woman up” as the case may be. You steel yourself, take a deep breath and pick up that phone.
One ringy dingy, two ringy dingy. Click. The melodious tones of automation strike your ear. You pen is gripped firmly.
It starts. “If you would like the menu in English, press one.”
You breathe, so far so good. Pressing the one.
“If you know the party or extension you wish, press two.”
You don’t so, proceed.
“If you want. . . ”
As the menu continues, your guts tremble and tighten.
“NONE OF THESE FIT MY PROBLEM!” your mind screams.
Blessedly, at the very end, you hear:
“If you wish to speak to a customer representative, please press O.”
A sigh of relief. Yes, you can speak to a human being (of sorts). You reach for a sip of coffee release your claw-like grip of the pen, and breathe out.
“Customer service is no longer available. Press one to hear the menu again.”
Tears well in your eyes, and your hemorrhoids begin a steady beating and burning.
Oh please, this cannot be.
Now, nearing defeat, you return to the menu, you finish copying down the website that was read too fast to get completely the first time. You hang up and move confidently to your friendly PC. Now here we are in our element.
You type carefully, deliberately, because you cannot now afford another arrow piercing your heart.
You hit enter. You wait.
“There is no such address. Are you trying to find Homeland Security?” it asks.
You screech!!!! The coffee cup is overturned, and you grab papers. Why is this happening to me!!!!!
Seven hours and 40 cups of coffee later, you reach a human voice.
You relate your story. You offer numbers off papers and identification requirements.
“Are you the person who is the subject of this inquiry?” minor bureaucratic minion asks.
“No, I’m his wife, but I have all the information.” I offer cheerily.
“Unless he has signed a power of disclosure to you, which you would have to present to our office, I can only speak to him,” idiot, and not even savant answers.
“Well he’s here, you can talk to him.”
“Perfect,” IQ wannabe says.
The Contrarian proceeds to give the to-bit excuse for a sentient life form, all the information I have written down.
She of course “intuitively psychically knows” that now she is talking to the subject of inquiry as opposed to the paper boy whom I’ve collared and hauled in to pretend to me my husband.
Said information she explains is in a place called “history” and such information is only extracted via the computer late at night after everyone has departed, lest a human discover the deep secrets contained in the extraction process.
We can call back tomorrow, or more particularly the Contrarian can, when she will tell him the information, and send along a copy for our records. Of course, the envelope will be marked: To Be Opened Only by the Subject of Inquiry.”
I am not claiming either victory or defeat here. Only that I have met the enemy, and I still got all my appendages. I guess that’s something.
I think a Constitutional Convention is in order. I’m not sure I want to continue this governmenty thingie any longer.