I Would Channel Scooter Libbey if I Thought That Would Help Get My Food Stamps
The bureaucracy is a circle from which one cannot escape. Its hierarchy is a
hierarchy of knowledge. The top entrusts the understanding of detail to the
lower levels, whilst the lower levels credit the top with understanding of
general, and so all are mutually deceived.
Let us get back to cheering me on to call Roberta Worker 2366 tommorow to see why in Gods name I have not received my food stamps. I applied for them on October 11 2005. I will assume you know what the date is today. At the Food Stamp Office there is a very large sign stating “if we determine you need immediate assistance you will receive your food stamps within 24 hours”. I guess I did not qualify for that huh? I did go and politely let the security guard scan me for weapons, signed my name to a list and then took a number. I was then handed an application. I waited and waited. I went outside and smoked. I promised my friend that was so good to take me it shouldn’t be much longer. It is now close to 5 pm. I wondered if I would get any credit for my waiting because no way do these people work after 5. Then it comes and the same security guard who scanned me locked the front door. Hmmm I thought not a place I want to be locked in. So I inquired of him what would happen. He explains everyone will still be seen. I say you are kidding. He smiles and lets a happy waiter out the door. I admit I had a moment of appreciation. They are actually going to do the right thing for us poor waiters-we will be seen. That optimism did not last long. At 5:30 my number was called. Turns out Doris (I made that name up) is not going to see anyone else today. Does that mean Doris just got tired, did not give a damn or what? Of course I did not say that. The girl behind the glass explained that my application would be reviewed just as if I was there. And here’s the clincher-“they would be in touch”. Oh yeah in touch.
Bureaucrats write memoranda both because they appear to be busy when they are
writing and because the memos, once written, immediately become proof that they
The first “touch” was a letter stating I was denied for Medicaid-which arrived in only 2 days. Its funny they are so prompt with denials. But what is even funnier I was not applying for Medicaid. I was applying for the QMB program for the Medicare I already have. I was furious. I called and surprisingly spoke with a helpful woman who looked at my case and said,”ohhhhhh they did it all wrong. I will send you the proper forms so when you have your appointment you can be all ready.” I thanked her and said “what about this appt. I have not heard anything.” She said to watch my mail.
Two weeks go by. I receive a letter assigning me an appointment with Robertaworker 2366. The appointment is November 9. Now we are getting very close to the promised Food Stamp 30 day guarantee. Somewhere I read I should receive my food stamps no later than 30 days from the date I applied. Did I tell you earlier I have no transportation? I will tell you details later but for now just know that getting there is a problem. So, I arranged for a friend to pick me up on that all-important day. We were about to walk out the door and I was gathering all my papers and I said “Oh Shit”. The appointment was at 1:30 not 2:30. I knew the seriousness of my mistake. I grabbed the phone and called the extension for RobertaWorker2366 and to my amazement she answered. I said this is Clientnumber 08930731 and explained my mistake. She was very nice (maybe I should have been worried by that). She said “oh yours is easy and straightforward because you have SSD.” She asked a few more questions and told me to send a few more items and all should be fine. Knowing that nothing is ever fine with that place I immediately prepared my packet for Robertaworker2366. Now here is the part that I am not sure if I am proud of or a bit ashamed. I had all my miscellaneous papers very nicely assembled with a blue paperclip. Then as an afterthought I decided a nice humble note to RobertaWorker2366 would not hurt. Perhaps the personal touch would speed things up. All of a sudden it was like I was channeling a slow person with a touch of the gospel thrown in. I wrote things like “I hope I didn’t do anything wrong and make more trouble for you” And then I would throw in a few “God Bless Yous”. It was a masterpiece. I begin to address the legal envelope and remembered some childish stickers I had received in the mail. This would cinch it. I sealed the letter with bunnies, butterflies and a tortoise and put one on front for the hell of it. I was acting a part that I had decided might get through. I wanted RobertWorker2366 to have pity on an obviously incompetent pathetic simpleton whose only friend maybe Jesus and RobertaWorker2366. Was that wrong?