The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Whine, whine, whine, doesn't he ever shut up?

I dislike reading the mail. At work, I solve this problem by throwing all of it into the trash almost as soon as the clerks put the stuff on my desk, which is an excellent system and one that I commend to your attention but not one I can repeat at home, unfortunately. At home, I have to worry about throwing something important away; actually, I don’t worry about it at all, but people tell me I should and so for the sake of familial amity I let on that I am worried when in fact I don’t really give a rat’s patoot. So instead of throwing my mail away immediately, I avoid looking at it for as long as I can. I don’t know why I have an aversion to my mail; when I was a boy, getting a letter was a big deal, especially if the letter came sometime near my birthday; I knew that there’d be some money tucked in the card inside and then I’d get to spend more than my mother would allow me otherwise on candy. Nowadays, of course, the mail is full of people asking me for money that I don’t want to give them.  I usually get a refund on my income taxes, which is nice, but let’s face it, the IRS is not giving me free money, they’re sending my money back to me. There is a difference, you know. There are exceptions to my mail aversion, of course: I will happily crack open the National Geographic as soon as I can lay my hands on it and I will open anything that says statement enclosed on the front almost as soon as it arrives. However much I dislike reading my mail, I dislike owing money even more, so I want to get rid of the bills as fast as possible.  But the National Geographic came a couple of weeks ago and I’ve already paid the bills for this month, and therefore it was in a dispirited state of all right, let’s get this over with that I went through the mail this weekend and discovered something shocking.

As a person with more chronic diseases than I know what to do with, I get a lot of mail from medical supply companies and health insurance plans and all the attendant remora of that insatiable beast, the American health care system. Usually, I just look at this stuff and throw it into the trash; analog spam deserves nothing less, I think; and it was with that intention firmly in mind that I opened a letter from the company that supplies me with insulin and other diabetic supplies. After the usual corporate pleasantries, the letter said that after October 30, 2014, this company would no longer supply me with the very necessary supplies I mentioned in the previous sentence. Well, I was stunned and shocked and amazed, with a large dollop of fear and consternation thrown into the pot for extra flavoring. I have dealt with this same company for ten years and I could not believe that they were tossing me out on my metaphorical ear after all we didn’t mean to each other. What had gone wrong with our relationship?  What had I done to deserve this sort of treatment?

I went into work the next day fully intending to get to the bottom of the matter. I knew that I hadn’t done anything that warranted my getting the boot, so I was going to need names and phone numbers and web sites and the Lord only knows what else to reinstate myself in good standing with this flighty pharmaceutical. I was already certain that some sort of bureaucratic snafu had occurred, that some computer somewhere had had a glitch or a virus or a nervous breakdown and had completely wiped my medical record off the face of the earth and now some low-bore clerk was trying to cover the mistake up by dropping my coverage and hoping I didn’t notice.  Well, I was having none of that, no way no how. I was not going to take this lying down, standing up, or even sitting in a recliner drinking hot chocolate with the little marshmallows floating on top while watching Vanna light up the letters on Wheel of Fortune. No, I am an experienced bureaucratic warrior and these clowns would soon find out that they weren’t going to push me around and get away with it. They’d be sorry they ever tangled with me, yes they would, the scurvy louts.

Having girded my loins for battle, I entered the fray with equal parts of high hope and stern determination, convinced as I was of the righteousness of my cause, only to be gobsmacked by the mother of all gobsmackery at my first contact with the trolls of the corporate bureaucracy. It seems that yes, the company is dropping my account, and the reason why they are dropping my account is that the company is going bankrupt.  When I say they are going bankrupt, I do not mean that they are filing for Chapter 11 so that they can reorganize the company, restructure its debts, and then get back on its corporate feet leaner and meaner than before; I mean they are going into liquidation, as in they are soon to be one with the choir invisible, the silent majority, and the Norwegian blue parrot, a remarkable bird that spends more time than it ought to pining for the fjords.  Lovely plumage, though. In short, this company is flat on its ass.  

I was stunned, first by its immediate implications—where do I get my supplies now—and then by a growing disquiet. We live in an age in which the media and the government describe diabetes as an epidemic, a condition affecting more and more people than ever before. How then, in a market where the supply of customers is growing ever larger, both individually and in the aggregate (yes, this is a fat joke, just in case you were wondering), and where said customers need their insulin and lancets and alcohol swabs and glucose meters, etc. in the same way that junkies need their daily fix, does a company with a captive and ever-growing market have so little business sense that circumstances force it into bankruptcy?  One need only look at the ever-expanding American waistline to know that there is gold in them there lardasses and only a fool could fail to profit from the wealth created by years of junk food and Coca-Cola. Apparently, this company found all the fools who could fail to profit from these circumstances and gave them positions of great corporate responsibility, which has led to the inevitable situation the company and all of its customers now find themselves. Well, character is destiny, the ancient Greeks believed, and I am sure that all of the aforementioned fools will find good government jobs where their foolishness will do as little harm as possible. They could, for example, go to work for the Vampire State’s health insurance plan, where those of us who need our diabetic supplies go to find out where we are going to get our supplies now that the old supplier has gone the way of all flesh, and where they could tell the people who run that plan that the company the plan's voice-mail keeps referring people to has gone out of business. Finding oneself trapped on a Mobius loop is a disagreeable experience, to say the least, and I do wish that if the state has to do business with pharmaceuticals that they do business with a Mexican drug cartel, an organization that clearly knows how to make money selling drugs, unlike the clods they're working with now.  But that would make sense and we can’t have any of that, can we? As Governor Lepetomane quite rightly pointed out, we have to protect our phony baloney jobs, gentlemen!

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