Wayne Michael Reich

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Wayne Michael Reich
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Month: November 2019

Ellin Duh-generous. (A Tale of Craven Capitalism )

“They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions… but before I can live with other folks, I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” – Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Hello Blogiteers!

Today’s theme is all about ethics, or should I dare suggest, the lack of them in modern society as of late. For those few of you who may be tardy to my latest literary party, the word ethics is defined as such: “The discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation, a set of moral principles, a theory or system of moral values”. On the surface, this seems like it would be a rather easy concept for most to grasp, if not put forth into daily practice, but sadly, you’d be somewhat mistaken to keep the faith that this is so. All one has to do these days to see my avowal proven in real time, is to either go online, or watch the daily news for five minutes- that is, if you can do so without kicking in your TV screen first.

I’ve touched upon this concern over the last couple of months, mainly due to the fact I still find myself currently enmired within what should have been an open and shut case in regards to a valid workman’s comp claim I filed against my former employer, that being one Engelsen Molding, and to a lesser but far more annoying degree, it’s insurance carrier, a legalized Ponzi-scheme that slithers unfettered among the unsuspecting public under the name of The Hartford.

But before I get into all that, let’s have a history lesson regarding the city my former employer hails from in Michigan, known as Wixom. The beginning of the City of Wixom dates back to 1831, and according to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.36 square miles, of which 9.15 square miles is land, and 0.21 square miles is water. Originally named Sibley’s Corners after the first settler, a philanthropist by the name of Alonzo Sibley, it’s true founding started in 1871 when resident Willard Clark Wixom granted the right of passage for a railroad concern, in 1883. The addition of the railroad’s prosperity attracted a score of business capital, which in due course, helped turn this hamlet into one of Michigan’s largest grain produce handling points, leading to the changing of the towns name from Sibley’s Corners to Wixom.

Tragically, Willard was struck and killed by a train while crossing it’s tracks in his horse and buggy, on the evening of December 24th, 1901. This just goes to prove that progress is not only always marching forward, it also really has no moral quandary about taking you out if you’re in its way, On a side note, his death does raise a question, that being this- how in the Hell does anyone ever get killed by a train? It literally stays on one path, from which it cannot diverge, maintains a constant speed, and you can both see and hear it from a mile away. Christ, Helen Keller could have dodged this inglorious end, while being a passenger in a car driven by Stevie Wonder, as Ray Charles navigates.

Just saying.

The only noteworthy thing about this city I’ve discovered via the ol’ Google, is that on November 13, 1996, Gerald Atkins “shot his way” (according to eyewitness reports) into the Ford Wixom Assembly Plant with a CAR-15 semi-automatic rifle, eventually killing a plant manager in a hallway, and wounding three co-workers. After successfully absconding from the location, and temporarily evading capture by hiding in various storm tunnels, Atkins eventually turned himself into the arms of the waiting police. Atkins received a sentence of life in prison without the option of parole after a jury rejected his plea of insanity. This judgement is not too shocking, considering most of us have wondered aloud, if not online, what it would be like if we could launch some of our colleagues via trebuchet either into the Sun, or for those of us on a restrictive budget, into the maw of an active volcano.

As of February 2019, Wixom currently ranks *120th “safest city” when placed up against 211 other Michigan cities, but when leveraged against **national averages, it seems like it might have bigger problems then what’s been noted. For instance, its violent crime rate is 32.7, while the US average is 22.7, and property crime is 40.0, whereas the US average is 35.4. Hardly a sterling reputation to laud abroad, if I may be so bold.
*[https://www.safewise.com/blog/safest-cities-michigan/]
**[https://www.bestplaces.net/crime/zip-code/michigan/wixom/48393]

But overall, it presents as no worse or better than any other rural community transitioning into a mini-metropolis. Growing pains and all that. Essentially, Wixom is the type of nowhere city you drive through on the way to a far more interesting place. When I was employed working for one of it’s prodigal companies, that being Engelsen Molding established in 1954, I was regaled with tales of it’s founder, whom my former supervisor Barry always referred to as “the old man”, hereafter referred to within this narrative as “TOM”. I’m sure he had an actual Christian name at one point, but I don’t believe I ever heard it, much to my current amusement. However, Barry was just as fond of telling me how “TOM” was a rare throwback to that particularly specific 1950’s model of mid-west shrewdness, a hard work ethic, and was in his words, “tough, but fair”.

In other words, if you did your job, he’d have your back, an attitude that in my private experience, was sadly not passed on to at least one of his children who took over the reins of the company when he died. And while I have heard several nebulous rumors, I never had any interaction of note with the son, therefore I won’t make a definitive assessment of his character here. I say this not just for legalities, but for the fact it’d be exceedingly disingenuous, if not downright inaccurate. But when it comes to Ellin, the daughter? Well, let me just state my acidly harsh personal opinion rather clearly that I wouldn’t (in the words of my late Opa) trust her with my wine, my wallet, my watch, or my waffle fries.

Especially my waffle-fries.

Don’t get me wrong, like most people I’ve had the misfortune of serving within an intolerable fiefdom commanded by a cabal of incompetent and madly self-absorbed kings and queens, but JFC, I’ve never dealt with a company quite like this, and I used to work in retail, also known as that particular unnamed ring of Dante’s Inferno where your personal dreams go to not only die, but desiccate under the blazing Ego of middle management. By the by, Ellin may also be the first boss I’ve ever worked for whose employees openly mocked her at work (behind her back of course) with a vigor that would make Richard Simmons blush.

Delivery drivers, sales reps, sellers of home-made burritos, the Circle-K clerk who would sell me my morning Mountain Dews, even the homeless guy who claimed that he was Elvis and could read minds, all got to hear what an annoying and wholly micro-managing burden cow she was.

Sorry… that should have read alleged micro-managing burden cow. My sincerest apologies.

I once had to run the warehouse for a week when Barry was away, a job I could have normally done in my sleep, and she somehow accomplished the task of making me so stressed out, that I’d just come home after a hard day’s work and go straight to bed, at 5:30 in the evening. And I’m an arguably actual vampire. Two AM is usually when I go to bed, even if I’ve had a full day dancing naked at the Walmart. Case in point- I had closed down the warehouse and been off work for 25 minutes, heading out on an overpacked Phoenix freeway, when Mistress Micro-harangue called me and wanted to talk about that day’s labor, because if there’s a great time for me to have my unpaid for attention diverted regarding the trivial, it’s when I’m driving home from my brain-dead, low-paying, no respect given, thankless job during the goddamn rush hour.

Oblivious doesn’t even begin to cover it, but that’s only because the German words “ficken nicht bewusst” is too hard for most Americans to say properly. Trust me on this. Keep in mind that my first supervisor answered so many of her pointless calls in a day, I was always truly and frankly, gob-smacked that he ever got anything done within an average 8-hour shift. And when it came to his replacement Toni, she spent whatever time she wasn’t responding to the same said asinine calls, composing an Email to Ellin so caustic it could have stripped the chrome off a trailer hitch

and made Sarah Silverman chide her for using excessively foul language. Ah, the joys of being an unwillingly conscripted peasant in the kingdom of the minutae-mangling Queen. As an aside, before having no choice but to land this craptastic job, I worked in the art framing industry for close to 25 years, before getting cast aside, due to my age and asking price. I managed shops and scores of employees, and was responsible for the design and fabrication of some amazing if not outright cool, pieces. I’ve literally worked the basement to the penthouse, and knew the trade better than the plotlines of all the Resident Evil movies.

And yes, they are all different, even if you remove the commonality of the zombie theme, due to the fact that the next screen writer in line just flat out ignores both the previous movie, and any thought of trying to keep a sensible continuity in mind when drafting the final script. Just look at the story arc of the last three movies, and what I’m saying will all make sense, even if the last two movies do not. The point I’m eventually coming around to is that I know my stuff, and I know what quality is and in the case of Engelsen, what it was not. And for once, I’m not throwing my focused shade at how upper management ran things, but at the quality of specific product lines, or to be more accurate, the dearth of such in relation to said goods.

As is fairly common among the industrial sector these days, the ramped-up overseas production of low-quality goods has hit my former trade like a ton of bricks. Raw molding stock comprised either of extruded plastic, reworked scrap remnants, and the horror shit-show that is known as *MDF, have flooded the market, very much in the manner of a plague who’s end goal is seemingly to aid in the extinction of a high-end quality product.

*[Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) is an engineered wood product traditionally made by the combining of hardwood and softwood fibers with wax, using resin as a binder, which is then formed using high temperature and pressure into panels. Denser than plywood, it is stronger than particle board, but is still just as ugly, and due to chemical off-gassing, is not something I’d truly recommend to frame your original Picasso in.]

So naturally of course, the person who won’t step up to the theoretical plate to honor their inherent commitment to their employees, buys and sells a variety of this back-alley flea-market flotsam. When we used to pull the warehouse orders for these s**tsticks, grimacing all the way, a great deal of our time was spent and wasted, going through hundreds of linear feet in order to find the merest of useable stock to send out to our client base. They in turn a quarter of the time, would send it right back, as the quality of their purchases in no way, shape or form, came even remotely anywhere close to what the alleged sample on their walls promised. Defects included, but were not limited to, visible finger joints, mars in the finish, and due to the varied differences in humidity during shipping and the quality of production materials used, a rate of warpage occurred that I haven’t seen since the day I inadvertently mixed up my “special brownies” with my Oma’s.

My secret by the way, is butter and a truckload of brown sugar. You’re welcome.

All of these contributed to a series of low-cost product lines that in my professional opinion, was not fit to frame black velvet paintings of clowns, much less serve the higher end patrons our customer base was hoping to sell to. Rest assured, you have no perception of what the concept of twisted truly can become until you’ve seen a three-inch-thick cross-section of low-end molding that looks like Fusilli pasta.

Seriously. Raw molding stock isn’t supposed to resemble this sort of thing one iota, unless it’s being sold through a shady Fast Frame franchise, solely owned and operated by Dr. Seuss. If this garbage ever dared to come through the doors of any shop I ran, I’d strap the sales rep who tried to foist it upon me to the boxes containing it, and have myself a BBQ, ala Donner party style, as a warning to those who in the future, might want to send me a catalogue hawking this detritus. And that boys and girls, is how you successfully do middle management, let me tell you. It’s all about providing the proper motivation in the end.

 But here’s what I find interesting. While it’s not myplace as an employee to judge what a company sells, I’d at least suggest carrying goods that aren’t made by the same company that in its downtime, produces knock-off Pet Rocks.

That’s obviously a joke of course, but what isn’t, is how the aforementioned “TOM” would have allegedly viewed these defective additions to his realm. According to one of my former co-workers who worked under “TOM” for quite some time, he would have been allegedly appalled at seeing his good name being associated with such a flawed product. So why was the decision made to carry such substandard stock on the back of a long-established professional reputation? My educated guess would factor on three different aspects: corporate profit, a reserve of personal shortsightedness, and a stunning lack of reverential concern given to the effort invested into what somebody else built and then handed over to the next lucky enough to be waiting in line recipient.

Essentially, the strategy rests on the financial notion of buy low, sell high, a staple of American capitalism. Which incidentally, is also how I endeavored to market my artistic toil back in the day, when my hands still worked. For instance, if a ten-foot stick of molding costs let’s say, fifteen dollars wholesale, odds are it will be priced at 15 dollars per foot when it hits the design floor, so as you can see, the footprint of the profit margin is quite an expansive one. Using that logic, if a box of imperfection only costs you pennies on the dollar, and you can move a small portion of it for five to ten times its original value, does it really matter if the remainder is fit only to be used as kindling? In other words, this just validly cements my personal cynicism that if one is willing to compromise by selling way short the values they were ostensibly raised with, it’s really not too shocking that they view their employees as disposable cogs, to be exploited in the pursuit of covetous profit.

But even surrounded by products and people that I myself would take great pride in never using or promoting, I’d like to just say for the record yet again, that my workplace interaction wasn’t all bad, as I’ve noted in earlier screeds. When it was just Barry, my awesome co-worker Bernie and I, we generally ran like a fine Swiss watch, no matter what amount of long-distance inanity from Michigan we had to put up with. For as Mark Twain once said: “Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer”, and truer words were never spoken in regards to any former employer of mine as much as her.

One of the unintentionally funny tidbits that presented itself as of late, was a letter I received from the carrion feeders that oblige as her legal team informing me that due to my numerous health concerns, Engelsen as an entity, had “no issue” with my attending our mutual AZ. Industrial Commission hearing in Phoenix this upcoming January via tele-conferencing. Let that sink in. The craven in Michigan who won’t face her responsibility as an employer and who is sending a proxy to deflect in her place versus facing me over the Internet, was gracious enough to allow me, her physically limited former employee she’s been screwing over for close to two years, her grace and permission not to have to aggravate his tenuous health by undertaking a ten hour round trip drive with a f**ked up shoulder that working at her shi**y warehouse helped create.

How delightfully White of her.

Ellin, according to the mouth-breathers at the Hartford, claims I wasn’t injured on the job, yet lives roughly 1,993.6 miles away from the Phoenix warehouse, so I’d hazard a guess she’s either out of the loop completely, or has psychic powers on loan from the same place that bestowed “Long Island Medium” Theresa Caputo with hers. To quote comedian Ricky Gervais: “You don’t see faith healers working in hospitals for the same reason that you don’t see psychics winning the lottery every week.” And when it comes to a long-distance boss, I think it’s fair to say that generally, they don’t know jack s**t about what is and what isn’t going on at any given point. Ellin can claim all she wants that I wasn’t hurt while in her employ, and she can feign ignorant absolution regarding my discriminatory firing, but in the end, truth will always root out the unethical as well as the truly deceitful, which in my humble opinion, are the only values that she and her company embody.

It is a shame however, I can’t seek any valid financial recourse for every time I hurt my eyes rolling them at something she blathered over the phone, because if I could, I’d be writing this particular screed from my private fantasy island, constructed out of Ding Dongs, entirely staffed by clones of Milla Jovovich and Angeline Jolie, and populated with swimming pools filled with either Egg Nog or premium Root Beer.

On an unrelated side note, if we ever run into each other, feel free to ask me about the time she bought her alleged to me South American boy toy into my workplace, because singlehandedly, he has cornered the all-denim outfit paired with gold chains market, in regards to his personal fashion. That’s not an insult by the way, I’m just amazed that in this day and age, somebody can still rock the f**k out of that look. Literally, it’s as if he stepped out of a 1974 Super Fly catalog, and strutted into our empty and colorless lives, very much in the manner of Joseph and his Technicolor Dreamcoat, albeit by way of Levi Strauss.

In appreciation of this fact, I can only bestow upon him this Gaelic blessing: “May you have been in heaven for half an hour before the Devil was even aware you were dead.” And that, is a genuine sentiment, from my heart to his closet.

[Granted, not as Fly as this cat, but the experience? Pretty damn close. God bless him for that.]

Currently, Ellin and her jurisdictive jackleg on a leash are attempting to get my case tossed on the softest of technicalities in order to shirk her and the Hartford’s dual responsibility, assuming that I’ll fade off and go away, but that’s not going to happen, now or ever. I sense the spilling of metaphorical blood in the water, and like most sharks, I’m going to follow it to the source, and wallow in it like Donald Trump does with Big Macs and self-bronzer.

The biblical passage Hosea 8.7 provides for me at least, an inherent overview of the situation at hand: “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.” Even if you’re an atheist, you have to admit- God knows how to turn a phrase, doesn’t he? And if there’s one thing more certain then death, taxes, and my unwavering confidence that the next Star Wars movie is going to be freaking awesome, it’s that I will be wearing this woman’s hubris for a codpiece when I am legally through with her. She wants to imply I’m a fraud? She wishes to slur my character via a lawyer who has little, in relation to the fact that she has none? I wish her to feel free doing so. I in fact, welcome the cruel, if unwise, challenge. Because in the end, whether I win or lose, I’m going to make damn sure that I legally cost her more than what it would have for her to just step up and shoulder responsibility by cutting my loyal physical therapists their long overdue check.

A hard acidic rain is coming for this arrogant wench, and it’s going to wash her into the gutter where her personal integrity already resides. Meh, enough about this walking example of why we as a society need to start eating those who bring nothing to the table, save selfishness and condescension- let’s move on to the next cadre of people in line deserving of my literary exsanguination, that being the entity that masquerades as an insurance company, when it’s not inflating its coffers and stock prices via what I allege is legalized misdirection.

But before we do that, I think it’s time for a much-needed break. So, go grab a sandwich, hug those kids of yours who’ve grown up and gone to college in your absence during the time you’ve been reading this, and wonder what your new Alien Overlords have planned now that you’re paying attention to the outside world again. And when we come back… I brag about my new sexy insulin tech, wonder aloud why I didn’t do it years before, and explain why a reputation you purchased doesn’t come anywhere remotely close to holding the same value as one you’ve earned.

“All you have in business is your reputation – so it’s very important that you keep your word.” – Richard Branson


Hypocrites of Hippocrates (The Conceited Children of Caduceus)

“An arrogant person considers himself perfect. This is the chief harm of arrogance. It interferes with a person’s main task in life – becoming a better person.” – Leo Tolstoy

Hello Blogiteers!

I know I’ve said it before, and I know I’ll say it again, but as a rule, I f**king LOATHE doctors. Not as much as I hate say, corn on the cob or lima beans, but pretty damn close, nonetheless. This disdain by the way, isn’t limited by what branch of the medical field they represent, I find the majority of them, if I were to roughly paraphrase a Klingon rake named Korax, to be: “swaggering, overbearing, tin-plated dictators with delusions of godhood.” 

And those are typically their good qualities. As I’ve dealt with my various Diabetic-related health issues over the last two decades, my initial sanguinity that doctors were people to be respected has eroded to the point where I’d rather be trapped in a city full of *Train to Busan-type zombies, for they at least, would keep you on your toes, focused, and running forward. Can you imagine? Your current cardio workout would look tame by comparison.

*[Train to Busan is a 2016 South Korean zombie movie, whose plot unfolds on a passenger train to the city of Busan, as the Undead take over and start infecting the passengers as if they were missionaries. Onboard Trump fans would need not worry though, as zombies like to eat brains.]

Normally, I just grit my teeth and deal with it, because I have very little choice in regards to my options, especially within the framework of the capitalist Ponzi-scheme masquerading as the American healthcare system, and even more so now that I live in such a small town. Doctors here are hard to find, and even harder for this town to keep. Whether it’s wanting to earn more money, or the grind of small-town boredom, every time I get a new doctor, it’s as if I’ve rudely interrupted them while they’re in the process of loading up a U-Haul to get out of Dodge before *Tom Horn himself enacts his merciless revenge upon the townsfolk.

*[Thomas Horn Jr. was the epitome of the word “badass”. Working as a scout, range detective, and cowboy, he also had a stint as a Pinkerton agent in the Old West. He was alleged to be solely responsible for 17 killings while employed as a hired gun. After being convicted of the murder of a 14-year-old sheep ranchers’ son, he was executed in 1903 by hanging, which is also the worst way for one to try and cosplay being a Pinata, hands down.] 

Granted, this general dislike I have for medical professionals who follow the Hippocratic oath as well as Donald Trump follows his marriage vows, naturally doesn’t extend to all the doctors I’ve had over the years, just a good 90% of them. The majority either being useless, clueless, or as I noted previously, thinking they’re God, despite not looking anything like Barry Gibb in 1977. Since I’ve moved here a little over a year ago, I’ve had more doctors than I can remember or even count, poking, prodding, questioning, and removing more fluids from me than adult film star James Deen could expel in a lifetime, but unlike him, I can’t really brag about it on the Internet.

Not to mention, it’s always delightful when a doctor who makes Gwyneth Paltrow look humble, decides they don’t need to apologize for being unprofessional, rude, arrogant, and in an act guaranteed to enrage the nicest diabetic person of Germanic descent, being late as f**k for a predetermined medical appointment. Ironically, there’s actually a German word that sums up how I’m feeling right now about such physicians, and that word is “backpfeifengesicht” which when you roughly translate it into bad English, comes off as “a face that is badly in need of a punch”,

For sake of clarity and future legalities, I would never advocate violence as an alternative conduit to reasonable discussion, I’m just saying there’s been many a time in my life, when I’d also gladly tie one of these white-coated oracles of obfuscation to the back of a sand-crawler, and go driving through a rock-filled cactus patch for a few hours or so. However, as I’ve noted more than once since I relocated to this idyllic burg outside the town of Silver City New Mexico, I tend to be way more laid back and accepting these days in relation to how I handle, if not cope with, my inherent stressors as of late. The concept of *mañana and all that.
*[The meaning of which is “in the indefinite future”, or for those of us who live In New Mexico, as the time between when you need something to happen, and the time when you die.]

In fact, when I’ve written about living here, outside the noting of my health issues, I’ve been presenting as being on the edge of singing Kumbaya, as I drink a whole gallon of *Kombucha. I know… it’s been freaking me out too, and I don’t get spooked easily. Angry Wayne I’ve been told, is apparently not as emotionally disquieting than Happy Wayne is for some reason, and he’s been laying dormant pretty much ever since my left foot was partially amputated. Sure, I have gotten annoyed if not outright vexed, from time to time, but overall… I can’t get that mad when I literally live inside a Norman Rockwell calendar, no matter what minor annoyances get up in my grill.
*[Kombucha is a fermented, slightly intoxicating, bubbling, sugared tea drink commonly imbibed for its alleged health benefits. A wide range of seasonings are often added to improve the taste of the drink, although the best way to enjoy this abomination of food evolution is to throw it as far away from oneself as possible, preferably into the mouth of an open volcano, or one of those wool-cap wearing hipsters you always see at Whole Foods.].

But that base of Zen may have shifted somewhat, because somebody out here finally pi**ed me off so much, I went and filed an official complaint about them afterwards. This action was undertaken after what I can only describe as a personal encounter so unprofessional, it may have snatched the coveted and long-held “Bitch of the Galaxy” title out of the ham-fisted hands of former PHX New Times Editor, perennial Phoenix basher, and human analog toothpaste tube, Amy Silverman, which is no mean feat, let me tell you. So, who’s my newest in-town human scratching post?

That honor goes to Dr. Virginia Hernandez, who just celebrated the shortest tenure of any of my doctors, that being less than eight minutes, which ironically, is the same amount of time that I believe she’s spent practicing how to wear that human suit in public. Now, I’m on no level saying she’s not qualified to be in her position, nor am I suggesting for a moment that she came by her medical degree by the luck of opening up a box of Cracker Jacks and seeing it laying on top, shining like a jewel, far from it. I’m just saying that as far as patient interaction goes, you’d probably get a far warmer and way more professional reception from Dr. Josef Mengele, than her.

Mind you, this is just my take on the situation at hand of course, because despite my obvious joke, I really don’t think comparing those you dislike to Nazis is appropriate. By comparison after all, your stereotypical Nazi is usually efficient at scheduling their time, and if the Gestapo was ever known for one thing, it was obviously their sense of humor, to quote the sardonic film JoJo Rabbit. I’m just saying that if one possesses all the charm of a sandpaper-wrapped tampon, then perhaps a career in the healing arts should be strongly reconsidered. But as usual, I’m getting ahead of myself, so let me set the scene and the tone of where I’m coming from.

At the moment, and for quite some time beforehand, my life has been revolving around doctors, waiting rooms, and sheer physically embodied frustration. Let me put it this way, it’s really hard somedays to tell who’s been waiting in the doctor’s lobby longer, me or that tattered copy of Time magazine featuring our newly-elected President, Bill Clinton.

Odds are, it’s me. If there’s one maddening constant in the world of chronic illness, it’s that all waiting room magazines are either outdated, represent a weird niche such as neon swizzle stick collecting, or are so desperately macho in tone that one can grow a mustache just by glancing at the cover… sideways. Failing that, if there’s a TV present, it will always be tuned to the worst of the right-wing claptrap or one of those “Dr.OZ” type shows, which push blatant quackery as scientific fact. And just to make sure you know your place, your doctor will ALWAYS be at least 45 minutes late for the appointment they mandate that you be 15 minutes early for, or if you have to cancel, demand that you provide at least a 24 hours’ notice, lest you face a penalty fee.

And if you complain about this treatment, they can arbitrarily dismiss you as a patient, and leave you in the lurch, with no consistency of care, and suffer no ill consequences for their behavior whatsoever. Oh, and as to the value of your time if they cancel? You aren’t getting compensated for that. How dare you even suggest that you should be, peasant. Nice racket, huh? The Mob kicks itself daily for not thinking that set of rules up.

I often like to say that if any other business worked this way in America, we as a society would burn it down, using the perpetrators of such fraud as the starter kindling. And just maybe, we should start doing just that, sooner than later. Think about it- is there any other business where you pre-pay for a service, have to wait an hour on average for it to even start, and have no definitive say over the quality of the amenity you receive? Why is it your average McDonalds staffed with only 3 people can handle over 50 customers with different needs in twenty minutes, but a fully staffed doctor’s office can’t efficiently manage 4 patients over a goddamn hour?

Here’s a small piece of advice, medical industry- take some of that money you unethically grifted overcharging my insurance company for your services, and hire office staff who not only know how to schedule realistically, but also doctors who don’t try to cram a 40 hour week workload into two six hour days. That’s a freebie from me to you, and I won’t even ask for praise regarding it. In the case of the aforementioned Dr Hernandez, our first face to face went South faster than Richard Spencer does when he hears a public statue of Bedford Forrest is being removed.

I arrived early, waited an hour, and when finally ushered in, was tersely told by the nurse that my doctor to be “always runs late”, and that “you should have been told this when you made the appointment”, without so much as a feigned apology for the delay, because that’s the way to show you’re on the ball, right? Just tell the patient from the get-go that your employee in service has no regard for other people’s time, and that they’d better not bitch about it.

Speaking of bitches…

As I walk into the examination room, I inform the nurse that it was now close to an hour past my pre-determined appointment time, and that the doctor had five minutes to get in and do her damn job before I walked out, something I can tell you she did not appreciate, or even give the merest of concern about. She then states that I also need to see the office’s dietician and my future insulin pump trainer on my way out, a visit they could have enacted while I was sitting on my ass for close to an hour, twiddling my thumbs in their beige waiting room, but why do anything close to using common sense when you can crash and burn in a pointless attempt at attaining efficiency?

When Dr. Hernandez eventually saunters in, two things are immediately obvious, the first being that her resting bitch face game is strong, and second, she really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, likes herself. Don’t misunderstand me, I like to think that my narcissism is on a par with Gene Simmons, but even I occasionally like to notice there are other people on the planet from time to time. It makes going out to dinner and a movie that much easier, as you all well know. On the positive side, she was having a good hair day, so there is that. But to be fair, you’re not ever going to mess up your coiffure with an errant hand when you’re regularly using both of them to pat yourself on the back.

When I ask her what the holdup was, there’s no apologies, but I am let’s say, treated to what essentially could be classified as an unsolicited oral presentation of her professional resume. To wit, I am haughtily informed, although I didn’t ask, how she “teaches residents”, is not “a 4 to 5 day a week doctor”, how she may “leave for a better paying gig tomorrow”, how “nothing in life is certain”, how all I’ve done “is complain”, capped with the end question of “what do you want?”, because it’s completely up in the air as to why I would be hanging out at a doctor’s office on a lovely Thursday morning. So, through teeth that are slowly grinding themselves flat, I inform this caustic wench about how I am seeking a *consistency of care” in this town, and illuminate upon the fact how nice it would be to see the same doctor more than once, as I ask her what she needs me to do to get our new relationship.
*[The concept of Consistency of Care essentially states that a stable uniformity in respect to one’s healthcare from beginning to ongoing management is crucial. Unfortunately erratic, if not wholly inconsistent service among most practitioners is perceived and rightly so, as a major flaw within the incorporated American Healthcare system.]

At this point, she starts moralizing to me about how I’m being rude and disrespectful to her staff, for as I’ve noted, as a patient, I’m not allowed to feel marginalized or irked by their inability to do their job, and she lets me know that if I don’t like it, well… I can always leave. In the business kids, we call that a “cue”, which I am more than happy to accept at face value. And by the by, nothing fills me with supreme confidence more than when a doctor I’m supposed to establish primary care with, enters the room with no documentation or first questions about my medical history that she should have at least taken a cursory glance at in the first place. Honestly, the only reason I think she even knew my name was because it was on that day’s money for nothing call sheet.

Top notch attitude there, Doc. Nice to see that combination of a Caribbean education and Illinois residency is paying off so handsomely. After all, a medical degree from the Caribbean-based St. Matthew’s University, impressively listed as 7,878th in the *world, and a residency at the 460th ranked best medical school in the **United States, is nothing to blithely sneeze at. It’s also nothing to be really excited about either, but at least the argument can be made that she did indeed, learn the basics well enough to qualify for those nifty “MD” license plates that allow you to park anywhere on the theory your skillset might come in handy at some point.
*[ https://www.4icu.org/reviews/11103.htm]
**[
https://med-colleges.com/southern-illinois-university-carbondale]

And while I have very little truck with the issue of her stateside residency, I will note that the majority of most Caribbean medical schools have an alleged shadowy reputation for being both “second-chance” for-profit degree mills, and for accepting almost anyone who can cough up the cash to attend. If you want to educate yourself, search out the topic on the Web, and enjoy the widely disparate reviews regarding her alma mater. In my experience, she apparently didn’t have enough scratch to cover the elective “bedside manner” course of study, and trust me, it shows.

Now as I wrote earlier: “I’m on no level saying she’s not qualified to be in her position, nor am I suggesting for a moment that she came by her medical degree by the luck of opening up a box of Cracker Jacks and seeing it laying on top, shining like a jewel, far from it”, I will note however, that graduates in order to be licensed to practice medicine in the United States, have to adhere to the rules set by the *Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) which requires students to pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), otherwise that degree they just earned isn’t worth squat.
*[https://www.stmatthews.edu/medical-school-faq]

I don’t know about you, but if I had just spent a few years working my butt off to graduate with a medical degree and wasn’t allowed to use it without even more additional testing to prove my very expensive education took, I’d be madder than a frozen hen, just saying. It almost strikes that the requirements for passing med school in the Caymans might fall a tad bit below the standards set for an American one. Weird, that.

Anyways, as I walk out, I inform Dr. Do-little-to-nothing that she isn’t getting paid for this waste of my time, an opinion that doesn’t sit well with her one bit, and causes her to follow me down the hall, testily noting to the receptionist at its end that all I did “was complain”, implying that no matter what she said or did, I should be billed regardless, and turns briskly on her hooves… sorry, her heels, in the direction of the next unfortunate tardiness victim she most likely refers to as her “malpractice insurance payment.”. After flipping off her rapidly retreating back with an unseen gesture, also known as a New York City wave, I then very nicely, tell the receptionist there better not be an invoice issued, as I will be calling my insurance company, and ask if I can now see the dietician they wanted me to check in with.

As I await a positive answer, she instead introduces me to an administrator named Nick, whom she obviously paged during my very brief hallway dust-up with the doctor, and he very quickly and competently, directs me into his office where he swiftly takes down my full statement and apologizes profusely several times about what just happened. At the end of all this, he asks me if I’d like to file an official complaint, which I do, He then goes one step further, and sets up a future appointment with a brand-new doctor, which is scheduled two days after the official meeting with my insulin pump educator, whose name is Hannah. After getting that off the plate, he then walks me over to Hannah’s office, introduces us to each other, and then leaves. By the way, Hannah for some reason, reminds me of actress Chyler Leigh, who starred in “Not Another Teen Movie” as Janey Briggs, an aspiring artist who is outcast by her classmates for wearing glasses, a ponytail and paint-covered overalls.

Turns out, Hannah’s nice, bright, and possesses a quality I tend to find really sexy in a doctor, that being she’s also Diabetic, which is a huge time saver regarding conversation when you’re one too, Not going to lie, my attention span is going to be greatly helped by this quirk of fate. You have no idea. So, after a very friendly back and forth laying out a rough treatment game-plan and my answering a ton of health-related questions, we part on a hopeful note, with my feeling secure that my upcoming training is in good hands. Granted, it’s kind of terrifying to think I’m going to be part cyborg, but it still beats having a doctor who’s fully embraced their transformation into such.

The Hippocratic Oath, first established in the country of Greece, “requires” physicians to swear that he or she will uphold a number of professional ethical standards. In fact, the creation of the Oath may have assisted the early stages of medical training by requiring unquestioning loyalty to this strict code. Conflictingly to popular belief, It does not openly contain the phrase, “First, do no harm,” which is commonly attributed to it, and it also has reworked often over time, in order to suit the values of the modern medical profession. For those of you who’ve never read it, here it is, with a few notations aimed at Dr. Hernandez:

I swear by Apollo the physician, and Asclepius, and Hygieia and Panacea and all the gods and goddesses as my witnesses, that, according to my ability and judgement, I will keep this Oath and this contract: To hold him who taught me this art equally dear to me as my parents, to be a partner in life with him, and to fulfill his needs when required; to look upon his offspring as equals to my own siblings, and to teach them this art, if they shall wish to learn it, *without fee or contract; and that by the set rules, lectures, and every other mode of instruction, I will impart a knowledge of the art to my own sons, and those of my teachers, and to students bound by this contract and having sworn this Oath to the law of medicine, but to no others.

AB: * Well, this rule was obviously chucked out the window first…

I will use those dietary regimens which will benefit my patients according to my greatest ability and judgement, and I will do no harm or *injustice to them.

AB: * Such as say… insulting them, and leaving them in the lurch, for instance?

I will not give a *lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.

AB: * Apparently though, I can in theory, prescribe you a ton of addiction-forming opioids, so we’re in the grey here regarding this one rule… just saying.

In purity and according to *divine law will I carry out my life and my art.

AB: * In other words, obey the Laws of God, but don’t assume you’re him just because you do, ok?

I will not use the *knife, even upon those suffering from stones, but I will leave this to those who are trained in this craft.

AB; * Instead, I’ll just demand that everybody should give me respect that I haven’t earned.

Into whatever homes I go, I will enter them for the benefit of the sick, avoiding any voluntary act of impropriety or corruption, including the seduction of women or men, whether they are free men or slaves.

AB: Since doctors no longer care enough to do house calls, this one can be taken off the books, I feel. And if they want to get it on with the owner of the house in the manner of an 80’s porn video, who am I to judge?

Whatever I see or *hear in the lives of my patients, whether in connection with my professional practice or not, which ought not to be spoken of outside, I will keep secret, as considering all such things to be private.

AB: * No offense, but why would I share anything personal with my doctor? They barely care about their patients to begin with.

So long as I maintain this Oath faithfully and without corruption, may it be granted to me to partake of life fully and the practice of my art, gaining the respect of all men for all time. However, should I transgress this Oath and violate it, *may the opposite be my fate.

AB; * One can only hope, but you’ll most likely get promoted, as in my experience, the profession tends to protect its own.

There’s an old retail adage known as “The Rule of Ten”, that claims for every dissatisfied customer there’s nine more who feel the same, but never speak up, past family and friends, that is. Still, this is a very small town, and word travels fast here. It’ll be interesting to see if her arrogance can keep pace with this fact and outrun it. But what do I know? I’m just an eternal patient after all, and as we’ve all seen, our words don’t count to begin with.

“You may not be able to read a doctor’s handwriting and prescription, but you’ll notice his bills are neatly typewritten.” – Earl Wilson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Legally Bland (A Coconate of Errors)

The writer who refuses to explore the darker regions of the heart will never be able to write convincingly about the wonder, the magic, and the joy of love, for just as goodness cannot be trusted, unless it has breathed the same air as Evil.”- Nick Cave

Hello, Blogiteers!

I am well and truly fried. Previous to the last fourteen thousand plus word blog I cranked out in a month, most of that work being done in my office-away-from-the-office, also known as The Little Toad Creek Brewery & Distillery, I had also recently completed three on-contract articles for ZIA Magazine, published out of Silver City, New Mexico. I also shot principal photography for two of those articles as well, because if I’m going to use up all of my “spoons” in one shot, I might as well use the good silver.

The spoon theory, which I’ve called attention to before, is a visual metaphor for disability that uses spoons to represent how much energy a person with a chronic illness has throughout the day. For every task to be accomplished requires a certain number of spoons, which can only be replaced as one “recharges” after each task completion. If you run out of spoons, you’re pretty much done, if not outright screwed, because the theory has no options for salad forks, and cruelly ignores sporks altogether.

Fortunately, all three articles were well received, both by the public and the subjects themselves, so that’s not only a huge weight off my back, but it provides me a base for hanging out my shingle in my neck of the woods as well, since I’ll have some New Mexico-centric material to push. Baby steps and all that, you know. Speaking of which, my insulin pump was approved and has arrived at my abode, so that’s some additional and long overdue good news. But as I look at the large volume of somewhat intimidating gear that’s currently sitting in mt living room, it strikes that this will be quite the adjustment, even if it is for the better. I’ll essentially be wearing it almost 24/7, which is gloomily, yet another concession to my health I have but no choice to make.

Sleeping in comfort is also going to be a challenge, given the fact I’ll have both a length of tubing and a *CGM attached to my chest like a lamprey, or worse, an ex-fiancé, but if it keeps me alive, I guess any kvetching I might feel inclined to voice, should probably be filed in the “stop griping, you candy-ass” cabinet in my personal vault located within the serene walls of my hollow volcano lair. I am digging the fact I will have a watertight “port” which can be closed when I take a shower or bath, which leads me to wonder if I could set up an Egg Nog IV for when the holidays roll in, a question I should probably ask the team that the manufacturers are going to send to teach me how to use this sexy piece of tech. I’m pretty sure it’s not the first time somebody’s asked.
*[Continuous Glucose Monitor]                    

And while I’m hoping for an upswing in my day to day overall health, I’m also optimistic that it will give me back some semblance of a relatively normal life. By that, I mean I could do without the random dizzy spells, crushing fatigue, nausea, nerve pain, and general feeling of being unwell that I deal with most of the time. More good days than bad would be a delightful thing to experience for once, and I’m hoping this is the start of a forward-moving and long-term cycle of wellbeing. Along those lines, I’m also dealing with the ongoing aggravation of filling an appeal in regards to my workman’s comp, and the two highly unethical companies that have blocked me for almost two years in getting this issue resolved. What’s puzzling is how bitterly hard both companies are fighting my attempt to settle a bill that wasn’t wholly covered by my then insurance company.

I’ve written more than once about the degradation and illegal firing I suffered at the metaphorical hands of my former employer, along with the curiously condescending attitude of their insurance carrier, so I won’t (mercifully) rehash it here, but I will add a small detail I did not include in any of those narratives. The amount of the bill that my Michigan based former employer and their legal Ponzi Scheme indemnification company who last year, posted revenues of 1.8 Billion, are fighting me over as if it were a box of Limited-Edition Star Wars figures, is $3,316.84. 

Yes, you read that right, I’m having to battle for an amount that’s less than what it takes to have Nickelback play at the announcement and celebration of your *Shahada. Ok, I’m not actually sure if that’s entirely true, but there’s no way those musical masters of melodic mediocrity are getting that sweet Saudi Arabian money at the same level that U2 could easily ask for. And this opinion has nothing to do with the fact that lead singer Chad Kroeger reminds me of the barista at Starbucks that you buy low-grade weed from when they close up for the night.
*[The Shahada, AKA: “the testimony”, is an Islamic creed, one of the Five Pillars of Islam, declaring belief in the oneness of God (tawhid) and the acceptance of Muhammad as God’s prophet.]                                                                                                                                                
Regardless of how Chad earns money on the side to support his penchant for writing vapid lyrics about wanting to get laid 24/7, it’s not as if I’m asking for anything past that. I’m not asking for an inflated resolution that some scumbag shyster concocted in order to pad his cut of an unethical payoff, I just want the damn bill settled, so I can get back to living my life and more importantly, concentrate on getting back to both a fighting weight, and a lifestyle where I don’t feel useless and decrepit a majority of the time. This is literally the last nail in the coffin that was Phoenix, and I want it not only sealed in the mausoleum, I want it nuked like Chernobyl afterwards. 

It’s also probably a good time to note that due to my health, the concept of working a so-called normal job is probably out of the question for the rest of my severely shortened life, no matter how or if my fitness improves. After years of working for incompetent and arrogant fiefdoms, I believe I’m done, an opinion that only gets more reinforced every time I go out in public, and see the pointlessness of working not to thrive, but to barely survive. What’s the point of working like a dog for no end if it just enriches someone else, f**ks up your health, doesn’t really aid your finances, or improve your personal relationships?

Easy answer. There is none. None at all.

I’m not by any means, saying I’m never going to endeavor to have a job again, but if and when I do get back on that capitalistic whore-horse, it will be on my terms, and my terms alone. No more faux scraping and bowing. No more sucking down abuse. And definitely no more incurring injuries for companies that if I dropped dead on my lunch break, would have my position filled an hour later, for half the wage. If my past experience working for my last employer from *Hell has proved anything to me, it is quite possible to construct a conscience-free monarchy of sorts on the backs of the broken and bruised.
*[Ok, technically they’re based out of a city in Michigan named Wixom, but if it produces business ethics like these, I can only assume it’s akin to the Wasteland in Mad Max, minus the assless chaps, which due to the impracticality of usefulness during the winter season, were quickly voted aside in favor of those PrimalLoft Packaway jackets from L.L. Bean. Also, I couldn’t think of any jokes about Wixom that people outside of Michigan would understand, so that’s on me… my bad.]        
                                   

Speaking of a lack of principles, I endured the smugly supremacist attitude of a tele-conference with the law firm who’s representing my former employer, Engelsen Moulding, and its equally unethical insurance lapdog, the Hartford. As noted earlier, I’m not going to rehydrate what I’ve already scribed regarding this contemporary *Burke & Hare, but I will note how nice it is to see that their carrion feeding ambulance chase team of shysters has [in my opinion] the same lack of personal integrity that they do. Birds of corrupt feathers flock together, and all that.
*[William Burke and William Hare were a murder for profit duo operating in late 1820’s Scotland, who after killing their victims, would sell their corpses to an anatomist for purposes of scientific dissection. Something not too dissimilar as to how modern insurance companies artificially boost their profits in these modern times by denying the one service customers have paid for.]                                                                                                                                           
The call was for the purpose of giving a formal deposition, which I had no problem whatsoever cooperating with, but the person conducting it possessed all the charm of a sandpaper condom, and the conversational skills of a drunken urinal cake. To be fair, in the beginning, it was all standard civil boilerplate, as valid questions were asked, clear answers were given, and things were skimming along smoothly, as there was no reason for me to be truly ungracious to someone I’ve never met, but that plateau of good vibes was soon eroded when this *jackleg decided he needed to play “tough” with me.
*[A jackleg is considered by definition as a person who is corrupt, dishonest, or lacks the any trace of professional standards. Not too shockingly, it’s usually applied as a descriptive slur towards the clergy and lawyers almost exclusively. Imagine that.]   

Seriously. Does nobody still use Google to do the merest of research anymore? 

I’m no badass by far, but even the simplest query into how I publicly handle my personal business would tell you that at best, I should be handled with oversized kid gloves and one of those silvery heat-suit outfits you see in all those sexy Volcano documentaries. Other than his incessant interrupting every time I tried to civilly respond to a complex question past a “yes” or “no” answer, he would also chide me as if I were a child when I did, an affront that is always appreciated when you’re old enough to remember when rotary phones were a thing, that six million dollars could get you a partially bionic body, and assurances given that we’d all have jetpacks and flying cars by now.

He also expected me to have a word for word account regarding two minor conversations I had TWO YEARS AGO, because apparently, those are the truly crucial details the three-pound sponge in my head is supposed to give priority to. Hey, legal dude? In an average day, I misplace my sunglasses at least ten times, and typically when I’m searching for them, they’re squarely sitting on my face, but you expect me to have an eidetic memory on loan from Sherlock Holmes? This, as well as the exceedingly date specific information he required, might have been able to be recalled more clearly, if they had previously informed me what they needed to know in the first place.

If I had been given such parameters, I would have gone out to my garage, moved aside my collection of evil clown corpses, found the box with all my tax records and notes in it, and had them ready to go as a means to propel the narrative forward. Instead, the subtle implication that I was lying and/or unintelligent was accentuated by questions intended to trip me up, a tactic that failed not only spectacularly, but hilariously as well. It always strikes me as incredulous when someone who lies and misdirects for a living within the laws their kind crafted, is genuinely stunned by the fact that I, a worker and average citizen, are not intricately conversant with the nuts and bolts of filing civil claims, leaping over bureaucracy, and understanding Latin legalese, which is nothing more than a vile bulwark calculated to confuse the average layman to the benefit of only the valueless vulture they’re engaging with, but I digress.

Yep. He mockingly asked, without wanting the context or background story, why I “took so long” to file an appeal. Because as we know, a company posting assets more than the GDP of some small countries can have all of its plans derailed by a lone individual who after dealing with severe medical concerns that could have killed him, wants what’s due him. If I knew I possessed this much power, I wouldn’t be wasting it on these gargoyles of greed, I’d be using it to get Space 1999 back on the air, after resurrecting Martin Landau first. 

And considering they had my phone number and Email on file, I’m not going to believe any of their garbage that in this day and age that they couldn’t find or get a hold of me. Once again, how hard is it to use the Internet to track someone down? They never seem to have a problem finding someone when that person owes them money, I’ve noticed. When it’s in their interest to pin a person to the wall, you’d think that they had cloned an army of Pinkertons to get the job done.

So rather than finally being able to settle this obviously valid claim, I find myself armoring up for yet another battle royal of principle where the past sins of others are concerned. It reminds me of that scene in Marvel’s Endgame that has Lebowski Thor suiting up against Thanos- sure, he’s not in the best shape to go and kick the ass of someone who so desperately deserves it, but he’s not going to back off from his principles, either. If the Industrial Commission dismisses my case, I’ll just file a civil lawsuit against Engelsen, and take it from that point. 

This resolve has only gotten stronger after I received a letter from the law firm stating that they wanted the commission hearing only to deal with the issue of whether I filed my appeal in a “timely fashion”. In other less slimy words, they’re trying to dodge their obligated responsibilities by issuing the slur that I somehow, with my $3,316.84 claim, have singlehandedly and maliciously, delivered to the doorstep of this 1.8 Billion juggernaut, a truly major, if not insurmountable, inconvenience.

The horror. How could they ever possibly recover? Oh yeah… by using some of that 1.8 Billion most likely skimmed off the top, from the benefits they’ve withheld from their overpaying clients, that’s how.

Let’s review the timeline thus far: I was illegally filed for being Diabetic, filed a discrimination claim that was bobbled by bloviating bureaucrats at the AZ Attorney General’s Office, and eventually filed a workman’s comp claim with the Industrial Commission Office after being billed by my physical therapists clinic for costs not covered by my then insurance carrier. The claim was denied when the Hartford essentially went “okay, we won’t do any due diligence, like talking to the actual therapists who worked on this guy, because that’s way too ethical for us”, and sent me a form letter saying as much. 

I then filed an appeal, and heard nothing… for months. During this time period, my amazing GF Ashley got a job offer from a small Norman Rockwell type town in New Mexico where we currently live, and we spent a few weeks wholly concentrating on packing, boxing, taping, and cursing at the life we had to move one state over.

Roughly a week and a half after we arrived there, I noticed my left foot had puffed up to the size of a small football, and went to my local hospital, where it was determined that I had developed gangrenous gas in my leg, and was in need of immediate surgery in order to save not only my leg, but my life. The cause was a wound on my foot that I had suffered in Phoenix, which from the outside appeared to be healing, but was in fact, not. The end result was that I underwent four surgeries, the last of which removed my little toe and a sizeable chunk of my left foot. In retrospect, it could have been worse, for I could have died, so I’m oddly okay with the outcome, as much as it sucks. Not to mention, I’ve always hated running, and I never was a good dancer, so at least now I have a viable excuse for not coaching my local youth soccer league, or hitting the dance floor at weddings.

All Catholic black humor aside, I spent a week and a half in the hospital, and almost five months recovering at home, flat on my back, with my left leg elevated, either staring at the ceiling over my bed, or stuck on my couch, doing the same thing. Weirdly, I was more concerned with not losing my leg or my life, as my healing factor was impacted by the complication of having Diabetes, which was a major concern among my medical team whose loyalty I cannot express enough gratitude for. I dealt with the isolation and concurrent depression by writing about the experience, which I seriously believed kept me from falling into even deeper despair, or turning to more destructive outlets for easing the psychological effects of what I was suffering.

But let’s face it, I really should have ignored all that I was dealing with, and made the supreme effort to make the Hartford my topmost priority. Silly selfish me. So, when I got back on my feet literally and metaphorically, I sent a letter off to them for an update. No response. I then sent a direct message via my now defunct Twitter account. No response. I called them and through a series of escalating pass-the-buck phone calls, discovered they had denied my claim again, and NEVER NOTIFIED ME. Their bulls**t reason this time? My former employer based in Michigan said I wasn’t hurt working for them, because being several states over and all, they would have the insight to what was happening in Phoenix.

Not to mention, the Hartford’s cubicle monkey claimed that since my doctor never specifically said that the injury he identified and sent on to physical therapy was work-related, it wouldn’t be classified as such. Because as we all know, after doctors make a diagnosis, they also investigate the cause of it as if they were Scooby-Doo and the Gang. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times when it’s been established that I’m suffering from the flu, the doctor turns around and lets me know that I obviously contracted it from the sick third child of my co-worker Janice. I’m sure you can relate. 

Another line of asinine questioning that was set forth, is why I didn’t have multiple follow-ups with my doctor after my injury was diagnosed. This struck me as particularly stupid, since my non-sports-medicine GP wasn’t going to be treating me, or overseeing my physical therapy to begin with past the point of his referral, since I was already seeing the people I needed to see to get the dominant issue fixed.

Sigh… and people ask why I’m still lighting candles and sacrificing virgin ferrets hoping for *Apophis to follow through on the forecast that it will smash into the Earth, ASAP. Lawyers like this, and companies like that, are the reason why we still need to print usage instructions on shampoo, if not Preparation H. Say what you will, but as a writer and artist, I can assure you that jokes regarding my profession are almost non-existent, but you really can’t say the same about lawyers and corporations, now can you? Actually, I take that back, as there’s only two lawyer jokes…

The rest are true stories.

As one of those jokes goes: “What’s the difference between a vacuum cleaner and a lawyer on a Harley?” Simple. Only one of those things has the dirtbag on the outside. Bada-boom, Bada-bing.
                                                                                                                                         
I cannot wait for the day that I wake up well-rested, hopefully pain-free, and the only pressing anxiety that I have to initially face is whether I have enough Captain Crunch or Lucky Charms in the pantry, versus wondering if this is the day I stroke out, go blind, are fated to face any more amputations, have my kidneys fail, or if I lose the rest of the dexterity in my nerve damaged wracked hands. In other words, I’d like to focus on me and my health exclusively, rather than shysters, unethical entities, and bills whose weight should be borne by others, much like I still carry the burden of the injury I sustained working for people who couldn’t care how, when, or where, unless they can manipulate those factors into shirking their responsibilities.

As the saying goes: People suck. Nice people swallow. And Lawyers? Well…

They remind the rest of us how vital a role that always knowing who your father is plays in truly good character development. As someone who’s traversed the Creative backchannels for decades, I’ve met my share of brigands, rogues, pirates, scoundrels, reprobates, snake-oil salesmen, and the like. But unlike their legal contemporaries, these people at least possessed the romanticized charm of a buccaneer as a saving grace. I’m not planning on having children, but if I ever did, I’d rather see them become adult film stars rather than lawyers, it would be for me at least, far less embarrassing to tell people what they actually do for a living overall. At least when they fu**ed people over, all parties concerned would be left satisfied.

I, on the other hand, will have to make a ten-hour round-trip drive with an injured shoulder, to a place I’d rather not spend any more of my valuable time in, just to have my character slurred, my injury discounted, and my request for fair play mocked. Its almost as if I’m back in the dating pond again, except this time there’s no chance for angry make-up sex. As I said earlier, if the Industrial Commission dismisses my case, I’ll just file a civil lawsuit against Engelsen, and take it from that point. Except this time, I’d be holding them responsible for my discriminatory illegal firing, and whatever other legally sound charges my lawyer would think are viable. 

One of the funny things that was relayed from the AZ AG’s Office was that Engelsen claimed I wasn’t actually fired in the first place, because that supervisor didn’t have, and I quote, “the authority to fire him”, which strikes strange, as my supervisor before the one who illegally fired me, apparently had the power to not only hire me, but conduct the job interview where I was hired, and fire one employee later on who didn’t work out, as well.

This response also implies that this was information I should have also known, because the top brass in Michigan would have obviously wanted me, a low wage part-time slab worker in Arizona, who was responsible for packing and shipping boxes and basic data entry, to possess this hidden knowledge for no other reason than if Toni tried to fire me later, I could tell her I knew she didn’t have the authority to do so. Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Quick show of hands- how many people reading this who are currently working blue-collar slave-wage jobs in the right-to-work state of Arizona think that their supervisor/s couldn’t fire them right now if they wanted to, no matter the reason? Yeah, that’s about what I thought. 

But let’s play Devil’s Advocate for a moment, even if it’s just to amuse ourselves. If Toni had no authority to fire me, then why didn’t my former employer contact me regarding this fact or to get my side of the story, and if she really hadn’t done nothing wrong, why jump ship so quickly after being questioned only once by the AZ AG’s office? That’s a lot of cover your ass coincidences going on, no matter how you look at it. 

Unfortunately, I can’t include Toni’s [in my opinion] vile and wholly fabricated statement within this narrative, for as I noted in previous screeds, in order to acquire a copy, I would have to sign a non-disclosure-agreement first, and there is no way in Hell I will ever do that. I’ve got nothing to hide, but they obviously don’t want this issue discussed, and I plan on keeping it all in the public’s eye, warts and all, letting the Fates and court decide.

Gah. Done with this for now, although sadly, I’m sure I’ll be revisiting it at some point in the very near future. But let’s talk about something more upbeat for a minute, shall we? My GF Ashley and I just recently had our first get together at our abode, and it was a smashing success. Everybody liked the home-made food, the alcohol, our interior décor, and most importantly- everybody who was invited got along, which by itself, is worth its weight in Ding-Dongs. I can’t even begin to tell you how nice it was to be socially available, something we both haven’t really engaged in since moving here a over a year. But for whatever reason, I haven’t felt the need to be out and about past settling into a routine of writing for at least two to three hours a day, and that’s ok.

The eventual game plan is that as my health and stamina hopefully improve, I’ll be able to get up and airborne again, both career and life wise. And I for one, am openly wondering what my new challenges will be in the future. Hopefully, I can re-establish myself as a writer and arts advocate out here in the wild mild of New Mexico, and if so, beyond that as well. And if I can’t, well I guess I can always go back to pole-dancing… if they’ll have me, that is. All jokes aside, the depth of grist to write about in my corner of the world is inspiring, to say the very least, and the subtle shift away from what I was writing about previously has been both liberating and somewhat terrifying, if I were to offer any measure of a personal insight.

One of the definitive goals is to start writing about “heavier” topics, as I move through these, the newest chapters of my life. The only way I’m going to be able to fly higher than I ever have before, is if I take on some new perspectives, and rid myself of some long overdue to be removed dead weight. This outlook directly inspired the previous screed before this one, and I’m hoping to continue with a steadfast resolve in this vein. I’ll just have to see where this literary lycanthrope takes me, as the new lands to be conquered expand before me. I also have on my metaphorical stove, a simmering bouillabaisse of short stories I’d like to serve up and share, along with a smattering of small-town intrigues to explore, a Pandora’s box that before I open it up, will definitely be mapped to within an inch of its life first.

Speaking of boxes full of the world’s evils and ills, as well as writing about things that are heavy, it seems my previous blog buddy, and unintentional punchline to a joke that the historic city of Chicago never asked for, Frankie Coconuts, loved my piece where’s he mentioned near the end credits so much, he posted it on his Facebook page which serves both as a platform for him, and an early warning sign indicator of his mental illness for all of us, so that his exceedingly small fan base “comment” on it. Granted, as you can see from the screenshot below, Frankie has as much pull in that department as he had when he ran for the job of city clerk, way back in 2010, a position he did not get. 

Only two negative comments? C’mon man, either bring your “A” game trolls and sycophants up to the plate, or just go home already. If I wanted to see you embarrass yourself this bad publicly, I’d just use facts and reality against you in a debate, and watch you run away as usual. In fact, considering how much and how fast this feeble firebrand retreats every time he’s cornered online, it’s amazing he hasn’t slammed into a past version of himself, ala’ Superman, while he does it.

What’s even more fun for me, is that out of all the emails and messages I’ve received in regard to this particular blog, which also happens to be one of my longest stand-alone pieces, is that none criticized me at all, and I wound up picking up not only a few more fans across the breadth of my social networks, I managed to get an even better public sense of what more than a few people in Chicago think of this human pork sandwich analog as well. That new knowledge came courtesy and with thanks, from many of the jokes within those missives that described him as : “the special needs Mr. Clean”, or “what it would like if Pixar made a “Racist Paranoid Penis” cartoon”,and my personal favorite: “the shit-stack from Chiraq.”

Yee-ouch. I may be from the concrete Thunderdome that is New York, but even we don’t pull the pin on that whole “Chiraq” slur unless we want to kill someone’s Chicago Grandmother from a distance.

Hell, we don’t even make fun of the band Chicago, and that’s even after late singer Terry Kath accidentally shot himself and was then replaced by Donnie Dacus. Sure, they’ve never really been the same since, but there’s no need to kick them when they’re down. Besides, Peter Cetera did that already with his stunning imitation of a mannequin singing, so why add insult to grievous injury? 

While I’m not saying it isn’t deserved, given Frankie’s inability to compart himself as a functioning adult, I’m also pretty sure that his truly knowing deep down that everybody thinks he’s a walking after-school special for what happens when you drink all the Kool-Aid at once, must sting on some level, even if he doesn’t want to admit it to himself. However, that’s ok. I don’t mind doing it for him. At heart, I’m really a giver, and I think it shows.

But then again, so are many of Frank’s so-called “fans”. See, after I posted the link for the blog on his page, my favorite sentient Coconut actually became a tad more civil for a fashion, right before he blocked me for posting facts about the history of his Cheeto Jesus in relation to defrauding charities. Frank along with not liking the basic tenets of reality, also gets a throbbing mad-on whenever you dare back up your claims with these things us mere mortals call facts. Now, being blocked by this vapid windbag isn’t really something I’d get normally annoyed over as a person, but as a writer? 

It’s rare when someone or something supplies you with non-stop unintended comedy and idea grist, so if you’re a saturnly venomous bearer of barbs, having your inspiration source cut off mid-stream can be quite vexing, to say the very least.

Nevertheless, the internet still carries onward as quite possibly the last true stronghold of free speech to be found on this planet, and just because I can’t access his page, doesn’t mean that my readers, fans, fellow libtards, cucks, soy-boys, snowflakes, and Demorats can’t, something I think Frank never honestly considered, More on that later. After all, he’s reactive, not proactive, which is why he fears and runs away from anyone who presents a measured argument against his general idiocy. One of the emails I received was from a person who claimed to not only know Frank on a personal day to day level, but who also noted his political reputation among those in the know as such:  

“When a large group of varied people refer to you as “colorful” that’s a socially diplomatic way of saying you’re either completely and insanely effed up, or are one of the biggest mother**king a**holes that walk the planet.”

An opinion I don’t share, as I think Frank has the capability to be both. This is America after all, and we dream big here, something I like to think Frank does too, even when he has no basis for it in the first place.For instance, here’s how Frank presented the link to my blog piece:

I particularly like two things here, the first being his description of me as being “winded”, due to the fact that unlike Frank, I can communicate without the use of block text memes, and second, his description of me as a “Liberal Guilty White Boy” and “Hipster”. I wasn’t aware tham using facts, statistics, and archived research materials makes one feel guilty in the long run, but then again, I generally also don’t take the advice of people who pass out deluxe hand-bound copies of The Monkey Wrench Gang as standard Christmas gifts, either. If I had to hazard a guess, I don’t think Frank actually read it as much as looked at the pictures, something that I’m equally sure also applies to the two fem-bots who commented about it on his page as well. 

And as for calling me a Hipster, here’s the definition of what that actually is: “A person who follows the latest trends and fashions, especially those regarded as being outside the cultural mainstream.” Frank by the way, is eleven years older than me, and if one matches him up against the criteria this definition sets forth, he fits the profile way better than I do among his chosen demographic. So, let’s review some facts here. I’m 50 years old, haven’t bought a new album in at least six years, have no idea what trends are currently dominating popular culture, fashion, or influence, still eat cow-based hamburgers, and if I became any more vanilla mainstream, my portrait would be on the side of jars of mayonnaise, loaves of Wonder Bread, and any advertising material loosely associated with AARP. 

Frankie on the other hand, has tapped into the current psychosis that comprises the ignorant ilk of Trumps base, brags about strapping on his secondary dick to go face school teachers, and spouts paranoiac masturbatory falsehoods as if he has two mouths and eight hands whose sole purpose is to keep himself pleasured at all times, but I digress yet once more. 

His point of view is definitely not the mainstream, thank Odin, but he still proudly lays more claim to being a self-made buffoonish laughingstock than I will or could ever be. And just by looking at him, you can tell he buys the shitty beer and cheap pepperoni, more often than not. Throw in the incontrovertible fact that Frank is an intellectual patriot very much akin to the way that Niki Minaj is looked upon as an accomplished songwriter, and the alleged psychological issues he presents openly are made concrete. As I said earlier, I’m currently blocked from seeing Franks moronic meanderings deep within the land of Facebook, but fortunately, others aren’t, and were nice enough to send me some deep cut screencaps of his randomized thoughts. 

Since the prior set posted in the last blog were such a huge hit, I’m more than happy to do a follow-up of sorts for those of you who enjoyed it so much. Let’s get it started, shall we?

To kick it off, here’s Franks overview regarding Michelle Obama, and what he feels her role in America’s ongoing racial discussion was, and should have been, in his humble opinion.Not too subtly implying that in her role as First Lady, she didn’t do nearly enough to open a civil dialogue with the very same people who posted images of her husband as a monkey, he finds it to be a supreme failing that she didn’t extend a hand out to certain groups who if they could, would have placed burning crosses on the White House lawn during her tenure there. It’s also noted as a character flaw by his standards, that she didn’t try to give credence to the motivations behind the depicting of her President husband being lynched, the baseless accusations that he was a Muslim asset not born in America, who also happened to be secretly in the closet, and that their kids were adopted, as she hid the fact she was in actuality, a transvestite.

But thankfully somehow, Frank figured out who the real victims of targeted racism in this scenario were, that being the entire white middle-aged male demographic of these here United States. It does make me wonder though, does Frank hold Melania equally responsible for her fraudulent Einstein visa, her role in helping to break up Trumps second marriage by being his mistress, her plagiarism of Michelle’s words, or the stunning tone-deafness of her anti-cyber-bullying campaign that worked so well in curbing her husband’s habit of Twittering like a ten year old? I’m sure he was going to get around to it subsequently, but what do I know?

After all, according to Frank, I’m just a White Boy who’s racked with liberal guilt.

Next up, Frank posts his agreement with the obsessively paranoid opinion of Congressman Louie Gohmert, a Texas (where else?) senator who’s claim to fame is not the bills and laws he’s helped pass, but for issuing statements so dense, that his only competition in major league ignorance is Frank and his mango man-crush.As the screencap shows, Gohmert’s extraordinary super power isn’t just his ability to be highly misinformed beyond belief on the most common-sense issues or current political positions, it’s also the stunning unawareness of his statements regarding them. Past gems by Gomer include:

“So the good news is, if you’re unemployed and you go to apply for a job and you’re not hired for that job, see a lawyer – you may be able to file for a claim because you were discriminated against because you were unemployed.”

“The dirty little secret on Wall Street: Eighty percent of the Wall Street executives’ and their spouses’ donations go to Democrats. It’s like they’ve got some kind of little sweet deal, where we’ll call you fat cats and demean you and stuff, but you will get richer than your wildest dreams.”

“We’ve got some people who think Shariah law oughta be the law of the land, forget the Constitution. But the guns are there, the Second Amendment is there, to make sure all of the rest of the amendments are followed.” 

“There is no clear place to draw the line once you eliminate the traditional marriage, and it’s the same once you start putting limits on what guns can be used, then it’s just really easy to have laws that make them all illegal.”

“If nothing else came out of all of this debacle over Obamacare, one thing that should is a class-action lawsuit against the University of Chicago Law School for people that had Obama as their constitutional law professor.” 

If you go online, this pretentious hypocrite has a whole range of asinine and typically untrue commentary on topics ranging from Muslims to of course, former President Obama, but I’m certain you already saw that coming. And if there’s one thing Frank likes, it’s to be in the company of his fellow idiots. Speaking of fellow idiots, here’s where Frank promotes the so-called movie, “Q- The Plan to Save the World”, which according to our low-end Gene Siskel, is only for “Americans who want to know the truth”, which as we’ve already seen, doesn’t typically line up with the actual reality that Franks world tends to ignore. So, what is the synopsis of this world-shattering cinematic truth-bomb?

For sake of honesty, I need to point out first that this isn’t a movie in the traditional sense of that description, it’s actually a YouTube video, produced by an even bigger nutbar who goes by his non-sheep name of “Joe M”. In essence, it’s a short “documentary” regarding a shadowy cabal of Anti-American offenders that secretly control the United States, and whose end goal is to destroy everything pure about this country. According to this painfully produced inanity, the only hope we have is for the amateur citizens and professional nimrod members of the wackadoo group QAnon to rise up, step forward, and save us all from this from this faction of doom. 

The video has been accessible via YouTube since June of 2018, where it has been viewed over a million times, which one would hope was done under the guise of inciting unintended laughter, but sadly, I’m afraid the majority of those views were posted by people like Frank who see this type of fallacy-loaded tripe as gospel. 

This in and of itself is somewhat ironic, as at no point does a solution to save the world present itself anywhere in this video, but as long as it reinforces the paranoiac worldview of its fans, I’m pretty sure they don’t care.

Getting back to Franks favorite scapegoats, that being illegal aliens, we have this meme posted as “evidence” that every non-American who comes here is under the employ of nameless cartels who with no coercion involved, get them to do everything from smuggling drugs via landscaping to destroying the American economy, when they’re not murdering American families, that is.

Now, I might point out that this tragedy happened in Mexico, and not in any of the sanctuary cities that Frank likes to rail about, and I could further add that the ongoing theory being considered by the local Mexican authorities is that a case of mistaken identity may be the underlying cause for these abominable murders. However, this might punch a hole in Franks attempt at disguising his xenophobic racism as community concern, so I’ll leave this critique with this small factoid- by all demographic studies, immigrants, legal and otherwise, commit far less crime than Franks native-born Chicago-American citizens. Darn. Reality has no respect for bigotry, does it?
Now, I might point out that this tragedy happened in Mexico, and not in any of the sanctuary cities that Frank likes to rail about, and I could further add that the ongoing theory being considered by the local Mexican authorities is that a case of mistaken identity may be the underlying cause for these abominable murders. However, this might punch a hole in Franks attempt at disguising his xenophobic racism as community concern, so I’ll leave this critique with this small factoid- by all demographic studies, immigrants, legal and otherwise, commit far less crime than Franks native-born Chicago-American citizens. Darn. Reality has no respect for bigotry, does it?

I seriously have no context for this one, so I’ll just assume either the city council has a woman on it who emasculated Frank, or a transgender person who he wishes would return his frequent calls.
And for this one, I’ll just remind everyone he lives in Chicago, so griping about corrupt politics is kind of like how New Yorkers complain about a rat stealing your pizza in the subway. It’s amusing at times, but in the end, ultimately pointless. 

My take here? Considering the story was widely covered, and the corporation involved wound up firing all employees directly involved after their own internal enquiry, I’m going to have to view Franks claims of conducting “further investigation” with the same cynicism that Donald Trump only weighs 239 pounds, has the best words, is really smart, and has never known any of the people in his administration that are either under subpoena, facing a prison sentence, or have a connection to Russia. 
Simple summary for this: guy who needs a gun to face school teachers is incensed that local politicians he obsessively posts about as if he’s Mark Chapman following John Lennon’s Instagram, require personal armed security in a city where guns are not only smuggled in from surrounding states to help create an atmosphere of unchecked violence, but also where persons like himself upload thinly veiled threats online. And yet, Frank has no parallel problem with the costs of protecting Trump on weekly golf trips, wherein he fraudulently and smugly, overcharges the American taxpayers for his use of a resort he personally owns. No need for comment here, as this is just an amalgamation of desperation and delusion getting wasted on a combo of Thunderbird Wine, homemade moonshine, undercooked pork rinds, and a really bad batch of mescaline, at best.The demographic that purports to have faith in this overly optimistic misbelief, are also the same slur-spewing slackjaws who think news that portrays their president accurately, is “fake”, that climate change is a “hoax”, and tend to view common sense and logic with the same disdain I reserve for bologna sandwiches, avocados, corn on the cob, and pizza topped with pineapple or sun-dried anything. Calling yourself the “silent majority” when you truthfully are no more than the 1/3rd rabble that is as relevant to the national discussion as Trumps marriage vows have been to his roster of ex-wives, is just sheer density spitting in the face of reality, and that’s on a day where all your dimwitted ducks lineup. These lemmings have no more power than when they crawled out from under their rocks in 2016, and 2020 will be no different.

What I find hilarious beyond the pale, is this collective’s hivemind thinking that the numerous investigations, the truthful testimonies and what they are exposing, along with the majority of formerly loyal rats leaving the ship, will have no consequences in regards to Trump’s re-election campaign. While minor cracks have been seen spreading within the structure since it’s erection, the width, the speed, and the intersecting of them has been increasing on an almost minute by minute basis. And if you need proof, look no further than one of Trump’s ego-rallies as of late, where he presents no concrete policies, no new or implementable ideas, and most definitely, no verifiable track record of beneficial stand-alone accomplishments. 

However, there will be plenty of excuses, rationalizations, blame-shifting, bizarre and wholly fabricated fallacies, and an ongoing series of increasingly unhinged rants about Hillary, Obama, the Free Press, and whomever he’ll deem as today’s Enemy of the People, depending on who the Fanta Fascist feels would provide the best deflection to help redirect the heat and focus on him at that moment in time. Eventually, this national nightmare will end if the Fates are keeping tabs, and this ichor-dripping demagogue and his brain-dead cultural fodder army of which Frank is an ingrained cog, will get what’s coming to them, no matter how much they think they’re immune.

As Frank likes to publicly threaten, “There will be consequences.”

But these future penalties are never coming for those of us who’ve always been on the right side of History. Nonetheless, it’s obvious that Frank and his harangue platoon are in for one hell of a disappointing assessment when their role in all of this is noted for posterity. When the marks are made aside their names, and the bell is rung to meet the God they think will absolve their sins against Humanity, I can only hope they’re allowed enough time to acquire an asbestos wardrobe first.

Assuming that God would pretend to know any of them in the first place, of course.

“I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends… that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them.” -Adlai Stevenson