Paper is my new pet peeve.
Since Al's stroke
almost 3 years ago, I'm quite certain that an entire forest full of
little woodland creatures has been evicted because of us. I've seen
them holding cardboard signs at the street corners, saying, "Will thump
for food" and "Hunters killed my mom." Between LTD, SSD, STD (that's Short-Term-Disability,
people!) DHS, BCBS, FMLA, BYOB, ASAP and TEOTWAWKI, there is no end of
paperwork. And the exceedingly annoying fact is that, in order to
determine whether something is actually important, I have to read every. single. piece.
It would actually be helpful if the papers came with a headers like:
YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST KEEP THIS DOCUMENT OR ELSE A GUY NAMED LENNY WILL COME AND CUT OFF YOUR BIG TOE.
YOU SHOULD PROBABLY
KEEP THIS DOCUMENT BECAUSE YOU WILL NEED IT TO PROVE THAT YOU ARE
DISABLED, EVEN THOUGH IT'S VISIBLY CLEAR THAT YOU ARE DISABLED. WHO
KNOWS? YOU MIGHT BE FAKING IT.
THIS IS A PIECE OF INFORMATION THAT IS PROBABLY NOT NEWS TO YOU, BUT WE THOUGHT YOU SHOULD HAVE IT.
THIS LETTER WAS SENT
TO YOU BY A PERSON IN AN OBSCURE DEPARTMENT WHO HAS TO CONTINUE LOOKING
BUSY OR HE WILL GET FIRED. THIS LETTER CONTAINS NO HELPFUL INFORMATION
When did we decide that it is so important to have so much communication?
example is the agency that is handling the claim for the discharge of
Al's student loan due to our bankruptcy filing. It is quite complicated
to discharge a student loan through bankruptcy, so we've had to jump
through some hoops. But now that our filing is complete, we have been
getting letters like this almost every day. A large header states:
READ THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION CAREFULLY TO DETERMINE WHETHER YOU NEED
TO TAKE ACTION. The purpose of this letter is to inform you that your
application for loan discharge based on total and permanent disability
has been received and appears to be complete.
the letter goes on to state, in intricate detail, what we have to do if
Al's situation changes; for example if he goes back to work, or
miraculously stops being disabled. As far as I can tell, we do not need
to take action. Yet, the U.S. Dept. of Education insists on reminding
us, on an every-other-day basis, that we need to take action if anything
changes. Rather than spending money on something useful, like
education, we get letters basically stating the following:
1. Hey, everything looks good, but don't forget to let us know if something changes.
2. Hey, everything still looks good, but just a reminder, let us know if something changes.
Hey, everything still looks good, but you know the US government is
having severe financial difficulties, so we wanted to double check to
see if you can actually pay back your student loan. Because that would
help us out a lot. Well, not really a lot because your student loan
compared to $17,000,000,000 isn't even going to put a dent in it, but it
makes us feel better. Oh, and by the way, we're spending more than
your student loan amount by sending out these reminders to millions of
Americans on a daily basis.
4. Would you be interested in selling popcorn to help us raise money for the U.S. Department of Education?
And then, there are the repetitive letters from the Social Security Administration:
is the SSA. Just writing to let you know that everything is pretty
much the same as it was yesterday. We like writing letters to you. It
makes us feel like we're doing our job.
Your friend always,
P.S. Please write back.
think that the real reason that the SSA may run out of funds is that
they use approximately 8.3 billion pieces of paper per hour, telling
people redundantly superfluous and unnecessary things.
used to go to great lengths to make our garbage as disgusting as
possible so that anyone attempting to dig through it to find personal
information about us would probably just pass out, or possibly die. I
put used diapers in the bags with the precious papers. Used cat
litter. Spoiled milk. Rotten meat. You get the idea.
I finally purchased a paper shredder to deal with the discarded papers.
Now I have a giant stack of paper waiting to be shredded.