Sunday, January 12, 2020

A Time to Shill (The Politics of Posturing)

“Lawyers spend a great deal of their time shoveling smoke.”- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Hello Blogiteers!

What a day for a daydream, eh? And also a nightmare, if my early morning a couple of days ago was any indicator, for that was when I got to partake in a pointless video conference with not only the jackleg who represented both my former employer and their unethical as a Sith Lord business insurer, the Hartford, but with a “judge” of the AZ Industrial Commission as well. The reason why that descriptor has been placed within the confine of quote marks, is because in my personal opinion, this self-alleged impartial overseer came off as a neutral magistrate in regard to my case very much in the same way that Dr. Pepper presents as a qualified medical professional.

A heads up for you, my loyal readers- if one finds themselves complaining about this particularly  succubustic Legalzilla who clearly made up their mind about a case before hearing any details, and bluntly suggest that an act of metaphorical fellatio was performed on the opposing side's  latrine lawyer to their immediate supervisor, be aware that said administrator is going to get very flustered with you, and suggest that you're possibly not a nice person. Interestingly however, they also will not deny the validity of what you said, and while this doesn’t prove your personal opinion correct, it doesn’t disprove it either. Just know that in the end, these bloviating bureaucrats will close ranks to shield their own long before protecting the public whom they claim to serve. It does make me wonder though, if the judicial staff at the AZIC have to provide their own knee pads, or if there is a general fund from the state for that sort of thing.

A question for another time, I guess.

There’s an old axiom among photographers that the camera adds ten pounds, and I have found this to be the case within certain situations, but when I saw the physicality of my legal adversary on my phone screen, the first thought I had was possibly inquiring about how many cameras were currently being pointed at him, because he looked like he could produce his own gravity. I’m not being flippant, but I gave seriously thoughtful pause to the wonderous notion that if he accidently dropped a Mc Donald’s ketchup packet into his lap, it would circle his beltline of its own accord.

And no, I’m not trying to body-shame, as I myself currently look like what might happen if James Hetfield ever falls into a dehydrator head-first, but I’m also not going to lie when the thought that came into my head after “Jesus, put down the fork, dude”, was that if I ever found myself between him and an open crate of Chocolate Twinkies, I’d be a dead man walking. And with that series of playful jokes, I smugly display the sense of advanced maturity I’ve been working on with great intensity for at least the last twenty minutes or so. In my earlier days of writing, I might have voiced the acerbic and erroneous conviction that these so-called professionals career path was the natural choice for persons far too unattractive to work in porn, but who’s innate ethics proved way too strong to allow them to freely sell counterfeit Ecstasy to Kindergartners.

See? Those are the kind of clearly obvious jokes I would never even think of making these days.

I guess what legendary sci-fi author H.G Wells once stated in his novel Love and Mr. Lewisham is accurate, regarding the development of one’s personal maturity, that being; “There's truths you have to grow into.” This lone concept by the way, has proven itself to me more than once, but as someone who like the majority of us, grew up among so-called adults, one of the truths I’ve held rather tightly to as I’ve aged is that too many of them are supreme moral failures within the lives they were gifted. The foremost career demographic that always comes to mind concerning this assessment are naturally politicians, as you might expect, but running a close hair-gelled second would be the practitioners of the carrion fueled industry known as the legal profession. And in third place? That honor falls to any person who works in one of those annoying theme restaurants in Las Vegas where the wait staff sing and dance while you’re trying to eat your overpriced and underdone cheeseburger.

No, “Corky-not-your-real-name”, I actually don’t want to hear you mangle yet another Buddy Holly song, as the plane crash he died in skillfully did that quite some time ago, but thanks for the shrill reminder to all of us why college, if not trade school, is so damn important. Speaking of which, my personal experience with law school graduates has always been uniformly unpleasant. Whether it’s seeing just what level of shameless odiousness one person can achieve in the pursuit of an unethical buck, or the fact that most seemingly have an inner compass that guides their moral path very much in the manner that a catholic priest would of a Boy Scout troop, if he were still allowed to be in charge of one. It brings to mind the classic joke that goes; “Q: Why did New Jersey get all the toxic waste and California all the lawyers? A: It’s because New Jersey got to pick first.” Which is still one of the best decisions NJ ever made, in my humble opinion.

Well that, and the interesting factoid that no matter where you decide to gas up your car, an attendant will always be on hand to go and pump petrol for you. Remarkably, New Jersey is the only state that doesn’t allow drivers to pump their own gas. This is because of the Retail Gasoline Dispensing Safety Act and Regulations that was passed in 1949, which states that the unusual prohibition is for the safety of motorists. From the text of the act: “Because of the fire hazards directly associated with dispensing fuel, it is in the public interest that gasoline station operators have the control needed over that activity to ensure compliance with appropriate safety procedures, including turning off vehicle engines and refraining from smoking while fuel is dispensed.” Given how much I’ve grown to dislike the act of filling up my own tank, due to certain physical limitations I now suffer from, I can get 100% behind this.

In fact I’m so impressed by this that I won’t even mention how New Jersey is totally responsible for giving us Bon Jovi all those years ago. Oops… do me a solid, and just ignore that faux pas, will you? I have no real grievance with Mr. Bon Jovi, but I’ve always felt that the master-tape for his song “Living on a Prayer” needs to be burned and then buried in a salt pit, because that’s how you truly eradicate the purest of evil ear-worms as a rule. Coming back from that unanticipated tangent, my morning before the unanticipated clusterf**k to come was fairly typical- I awoke, had my two bowls of Apple Jacks and a cup of Earl Grey, and sat patiently on my living room couch in  New Mexico, cruising my social media with no expectations whatsoever. There was one concern I had been anxious about for the last month or so, however. This of course, was the uneasy feeling that the jackleg of obesity I was about to soon face was going to attempt derailing my case using not hard facts, but soft technicalities.

Just one time. That’s all I want. Just one time, it would be really nice if my gut instincts could finally be wrong about something. Anything. I’d really look forward to this new experience, if it meant that I’d finally witness people being held truly accountable for their actions. But as Fate would have it, we live in a pre-rigged world where the hardscrabble populace is routinely abused and discounted by the very people who were tasked with protecting them in the first place. I’ve previously written about my interaction with the impotent Civil Rights Division of the AZ Attorney General’s Office and its intrinsic failure to do the heavy lifting that was required, so it almost feels like I’m trapped in its hastily produced sequel, but with a far lower budget, and a cast nobody’s ever heard of, save for Kevin Sorbo.

For those of you who mercifully don’t know who Kevin Sorbo is, he’s an American actor with a dramatic range regarded as somewhere between that of a urinal cake and a slice of Provolone cheese. He’s best known for starring in two B-Grade TV shows, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and Andromeda. These television studio tax write-offs should be noted for their respective cultural benchmarks- Hercules exhibited weekly why its spinoff show Xena: Warrior Princess was far superior, and Andromeda proved that the normally reliable Star Trek lightning doesn’t always strike the same success twice. Sorbo, who’s wackadoo political views are just as wretched as his films, may also be one of the main reasons I received a lifetime ban from Twitter due to my consistent postings on his page that if it weren’t for the discount bins at Walmart, there would be no existent archive for his straight-to-DVD career. Sorry. I went off track yet again. My sincerest apologies. Mainly for making you aware of who he is. Close your eyes and think of a far better actor, and you’ll be right as rain in no time. I promise.

Normally, when I’m challenged by those I consider to be soulless, I like to do it from inside the secure confines of a demon-repelling circle of salt, but to be quite honest, it’s really hard to lay one of those out on a whim and get it just right. Plus, I’m also not sure how such old-school tactics might work against entities who aren’t even in the room with you to begin with. After all, when it comes to the governmental agencies within Arizona, the only one I’ve ever seen do their jobs correctly is the DMV, and those overwhelmed people get all shades of undeserved crap from it’s customers. You hate waiting 45 minutes to get your tags? Try waiting almost two years for the justice you deserve, only to watch it get sodomized with a razor-studded strap-on, who’s owner then dares to lecture you on the finer points of why you should have appreciated their modern interpretation of a *Tijuana donkey show.
*[A donkey show is the descriptive term for a type of live sex show widely considered as an urban legend, in which a woman performs an act of bestiality with a donkey. These shows were rumored to be located in the Mexican border city of Tijuana, and while one can easily find both women and donkeys there, it’s quite rare to see them being anything other than very close platonic friends.]

But before I get into delivering yet another well-earned Artbitch exsanguination, some necessary past context must be presented. When I first filed all the appropriate paperwork with the AZIC, there was a portent of what was to come. Unfortunately, I relied on my sense of cynical optimism, rather than just going ahead and outright suing both my ex-employer and former supervisor, for shirking the dual responsibility of my medical bills and the callous violation of my civil rights due to an act of discriminatory firing. Go big, or go home, as my macramé coach was fond of saying.

Like most government offices, the AZIC has a front desk person whose sole purpose is to either direct you or answer your questions, and the one AZIC had as their point person was very nice and capable, but also sadly cursed with a massive stutter. One that could have made King George the VI come off smoother than Benedict Cumberbatch wearing a smoking jacket, reading a wine list. Once again, I’m not being a jerk, just remarking on the fact that certain afflictions need to be taken into consideration when one chooses a career path. Since my hands have a tendency to shake as if I have Parkinsons Disease on the best of days, I shouldn’t be the first person you’d tap for performing acts of microsurgery or a bris, and I’d submit for your perusal that a public contact person probably shouldn’t have to take almost five minutes to eventually spit out the phrase “How may I help you?” It’s the same reason as to why I wouldn’t trust a proctologist or urologist who had steel hooks for hands. Sure, they might be able to do the job fabulously, but that crucial first impression isn’t going to set my confidence in stone concerning their abilities anytime soon.

Just my two cents.

So, I filed the paperwork, and eventually they got a hold of me to get the ball rolling. Except that’s not what happened. In fact, my filing languished for close to a month, and I only found this out after physically going back down to the agency’s office to see why I hadn’t heard anything in regards to my claim. Turns out, I needed to list the date of my injury, which I could not do, due to the fact I didn’t actually recall the specific day it had happened on to begin with. What I mean to clarify is that while I knew the time frame in which it had occurred, the exact day on which it had was unknown to myself, so I was forced to pick an arbitrary date within said range. When I asked why nobody had bothered to contact me about the problem, as this truly was a time-sensitive issue, I was met with a lazy shoulder shrug, an eye-roll, and a response of “I don’t know”, which as far as my personal experiences have shown, is seemingly the official motto of almost every so-called citizen protection agency located within the state of Arizona.

As I hope I implied earlier, I will never criticize any employee of the DMV ever again, since those poor bastards work within a Mad Max Thunderdome, and yet somehow, still get the job done with the limited resources they possess. This tax-dollar wasting agency on the other hand, couldn’t seemingly hire any employees that know how to do a competent follow-up using a phone, email, smoke signals, or cuneiform, so I can only imagine what their collective brain trust upstairs must be like. Oh wait, I do know that. And it’s just as disorganized as you’d think. For instance, even though there was over a month of prep-time for what I believed was to be a tele-conference, AZIC contacted me no less than five minutes before the hearing was scheduled to start, and informed me that it was in all actuality, supposed to be a video-conference. Other than the fact I was still in my Avenger-print pajamas, the real issue was that where I live, the internet can be as reliable as the wedding vows of Donald Trump.

You can see the problem, but these slack jaw simpletons didn’t. After all, a lead of several weeks to make sure the kinks are worked out beforehand is hardly enough time to work with when you willingly spend most of it playing grab-ass with the very same people you’re chartered to keep in check. In order to combat their glaring, if not incompetent oversight, I was forced to download a Google app now removed, which demanded access to all of the data on my phone, because I need to have even more of my life violated due to the actions of morally corrupted overseers. Granted, that’s only my take on the situation in relation to individuals whose only interest in seemingly doing their jobs, is to try and collect the steady paychecks that in my opinion, they don’t deserve and don’t truly earn.

To be fair, the first twenty minutes of this farce were what you’d expect, with my answering the standard boilerplate questions, but soon it became obvious that the deck was purposefully stacked against me. In retrospect, I don’t even know why I bothered to participate, because from my POV, I had the feeling I was no more than a third wheel on someone’s first date. Why do I hold this personal opinion, you ask? It rests on the fact that despite the Hartfords’ established history of shady obstruction, their multiple unresolved consumer complaints, and a purposeful failure to notify me of my valid claim being denied, none of this was EVER taken into any form of serious consideration. The latter issue by the way, was the causation of why I missed the ninety-day window in which I had to file an appeal,

Also ignored was the myriad of my health issues, which had kept me sadly bedridden for close to five months, and It was also implied that my not being expertly versed in the laws regarding workman’s comp in the state of AZ was solely my fault as well. Apparently, that sort of innate knowledge is something one should just know instinctively as a rule. One other thing I found interesting, was that rather than say “excuse me” or “may I interrupt” when I was answering a question, whenever the judge felt the need to interject, she’d start waving her arms spastically as if she was doing the Wave at a Steelers football game. While that by itself was fairly insulting, it paled in comparison to having to watch this falsely neutral judge bend over backwards to shield the opposing attorney from bearing any responsibility.

At no point did he state that my injury claim was invalid, he just whined that I had taken “too long” to present my case, which by the way, I’ve been F**KING DOING FOR THE LAST TWO GODDAMN YEARS. When at one point, I accidentally misstated this jacklegs name, I was informed rather snottily what the correct pronunciation was immediately. Not by him, but by her. I’ll tell you right now, if I had known that the persons assigned to assist me were going to gleefully hold me down as I was run over by two combined well-funded and unethical entities, I would have forgone this bulls**t and just sued the life out of the responsible parties involved, which is now what I am going to have to do. I could honestly care less about the actions of my employer’s jackleg, since scumbags are gonna do scumbag things for other scumbags, but the magistrate who in my opinion, did everything they could do to make sure he did so unimpeded?

I can only assume from my POV that being bought and paid for must come with one hell of a comprehensive dental plan for somebody to justify renting out their ethics. To clarify, I’m not threatened by any woman who’s smarter than me, more capable at being truly ruthless, or can throw down an arrogant front just as hard as any dude. I do however, have more than a few bones to pick with anyone I find to be unethical, uncaring, and totally incompetent at grasping the basic tenets of Humanity, which the rest of us seem to find as natural as breathing.

At the end of the hearing, which I signed off on by cutting my video feed and commenting on open audio that the duo who had wasted my time were “f**king idiots”, for which, I will only utter the traditional “sorry, not sorry”, as a capstone. It’s pretty well known if I feel that I’m going to crash and burn at warp-speed, I’m going to enjoy riding the bomb like Slim Pickens did so happily in Dr. Strangelove. Not too surprisingly, I did run through a brief and very angry mental litany of what I felt were appropriate words to describe the persons I had just dealt with. And as you might well imagine that when it came to the jackleg, I blazed through every obesity joke I knew first, because as someone who has German relatives who both personify and tell them, it’s a shallow pond to begin with.

Sadly however, when it comes to derogatory names or terms for women, there seems to be no end to how deep that well goes. It’s been quite clear to me for a while now that online at least, there are a lot of very angry anti-feminists out there. While a man of lesser words if not intellect, might use some gender-specific terms to render an opinion about the female judge in his case, I’d like to think I’m better than that. I’m not, but I definitely like to think that I am. In that aspect, it’s just like when I talk about how good my microwaving burritos game is. It’s not that impressive overall, but I can still bring it when necessary. I try very hard not to be marginalized as your ‘typical guy”, and unlike most of my gender, I don’t view fraudulent chivalry as a means to get on a woman’s good side.

In person, I tend to be quite respectful to both sides of the human coin, and it’s extremely rare that I use the type of language to describe someone publicly that one might overhear while lounging inside a New Orleans cathouse. But in this instance afterwards, you would have thought I was auditioning for the main role in a Tarantino movie. After hissing out a half-dozen combinations, most of which rhymed with some variant of “brother-sucker”, I came back to the most vile of all the feminine-targeted insults, that being the dreaded, last-resort, and apocalyptic one that begins with, and is noted with great and fearful trepidation as, “The C Word”. And no, it doesn’t stand for “condescending”, or “churlish” in this case, but it could. Breathing room is always nice, but it doesn’t apply here.

Nope. It stands exactly for what you think it does, and for once, I really don’t feel too bad for thinking it.

But as I said, I’d like to think I’m better than that, and besides, it’s also not really that accurate of a description to begin with. If I were forced to look at it fairly, she lacks the warmth, the depth, and the visual interest required in order to carry that assessment forward with full honors, so there is that in her general favor. Once again, that’s just my personally held opinion for whatever it’s worth. And I will happily acknowledge that her supervisor deemed my POV to not only be highly inappropriate, but correspondingly, right on the razors edge of being a tad bit too caustic for him to comment on past a few weak-ass excuses. What can I say? I’m a people person, and I think it shows. A small side note: when you call the AZIC and inform them that you wish to file a formal complaint against one of their judges, don’t be too surprised that there is no definable path to accountability whatsoever. I claim this, because when I attempted to lodge such an action, the front desk clerk had no idea how to complete my request. He had no knowledge of a form, or website, or any governing division of the AZIC that was in charge of resolving such an issue.

Sigh… what cabal of meatheads writes policy for these agencies? Is it that group lobotomies are a thing now, and I’ve just never noticed? Speaking of which, after being placed on hold for no less than ten minutes as the front desk clerk scrambled to find me the right route to take, I found myself on the phone with what was yet another disingenuous AZIC official, who hemmed, hawed, and deflected the concerns I was voicing. And while my tone was exceedingly sarcastic, it was also focused on the issues at hand. In retrospect, I probably should have started off this soon to be worthless conversation using flattery, rather than observational cynicism, because there was no way this person was going to do anything but duck reality and cover for his employee, unless his pompous ass was being kissed like a Popes’ ring first. Once again, just my opinion.

When I noted the stunning lack of an easily accessible public forum in which to formally hold his staff member accountable, I was informed, (and that rather tersely) that I could write a letter to him, and he would “look into it”. Oddly, that answer didn’t lend any additional credibility to his platitudes that my concerns were going to be rectified or even dealt with at all. With the benefit of hindsight, it’s probably a good thing that no one owns the royalty rights to the vulgar phrase “go f**k yourself”, because if they did, I’d currently be working four jobs just to cover the usage check I would have had to cut over the last few days. And while I’m not proud of it, that is exactly how I ended our conversation, because after close to two years of being crudely jerked off by people wearing sandpaper gloves with no happy or remotely tolerable ending in sight, I finally have hit my personal zenith for dealing with the piles of other people’s bulls**t. Maddening as this has been, what’s truly galling is that I’m expected to be the only one who‘s not only civil, but overly grateful, for the graciousness so-called, of being mocked, lied to, and discounted by the agencies who were supposed to help me settle this to its perceptibly logical conclusion.

To quote Nick Fury of SHIELD:It's stuff like this that gives me trust issues.

So, what’s the next step? Now shocking as it may seem, despite the love I have for hollow volcano lairs, along with dreams of possessing both a jump-suited army of minions, and a reasonably priced Death Ray, and even factoring in my penchant for hiring racially ambiguous yet earthily sexy, female secretaries who keep sleeping with dispassionate but heroic British secret agents, I’m still not a Bond villain. I’m not going to announce the minutiae I plan to utilize to legally bring to bear the full force of equitable justice to those who’ve shirked its glare for far too long. But this is me we’re talking about, so my approach has to have a touch of the creative, to say the very least. I’d feel like phoning it in otherwise, and Odin knows I can’t get down with that.

Sure, the usual machinations are to be expected, since my case will have to be settled in the cubicle peoples’ court, and I’m pretty sure that demographic of the judiciary wouldn’t appreciate me bringing in my personal Harkonnen Capo Chair, no matter how well it fits both my persona and wardrobe.

I’m not sure why, but for some strange reason, furniture with skulls as part of its structure really freaks out the straights, but if it helps remind my former employer and supervisor that they’re not above the law, then I guess it will be energy well spent. And if I don’t win in the end, because Life isn’t always fair, at least I’ll have it within the public record of who and what, I went up against. I once wrote that there are hills to die on, and hills to avoid, and a lifetime of experience will tell you which is which.

So, if this is the hill I metaphorically expire on, then I’m going to make sure that everyone will know why.
SciFi writer Isaac Asimov once observed that “Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.” What I take away from this sage advice, is that at the end of all things, one finally gets the opportunity to truly rest. But until then?

Stand for what’s right. Raise Hell as often as possible. Make the unjust weep at the mere mention of your name.

And always leave more scars on them than on yourself.

“The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, and wretches hang that jurymen may dine.”

- Alexander Pope


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