Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Paper Plight

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 WHATSOEVER.

When did we decide that it is so important to have so much communication?

One 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:

PLEASE 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.

Then 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.
3.  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:

Dear Al

This 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,
SSA

P.S.  Please write back.

I 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.

I 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.

3 comments:

  1. Sounds familiar, Jen. We just signed up for new insurance and every other day we get the same letter in the mail welcoming us to Humana. What a waste of paper.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I thought the big toe guy was named Vito. And I'm pretty sure he prefers breaking kneecaps to cutting off big toes, but you're no doubt closer to that situation than I am. . .

    ReplyDelete

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