Sassy and thorough takedown of Facebook CEO Asshole Mark Zuckerberg

Stumbled on this witty article with details of the treacherous nature of the next billionaire weasel presidential contender (no insult intended to actual weasels, tiny, oft-maligned carnivores just doing their thing).   Confirmation bias, OK, because I do hate the shallow, greedy fuck and his data-driven social media money machine that exploits the loneliness and hunger for connection of hundreds of millions, but still — an excellent article, IMHO.  Click here for an interesting read.

A tasty bite from The Smallness of Mark Zuckerberg:  

(I’m not saying that small people are evil.  I am small myself…okay, we are totally evil.) 

View story at

View story at


A Work of Fiction (part 2)

I Married OJ (part two, draft one)

OJ and I didn’t wind up moving to Arizona.   When my parents got back from their trip we had dinner with them.   My parents were not the easiest people to impress, to put it mildly, but everything went fine and OJ was very charming.   They seemed to like him.   Fortunately for everybody, my fucking uncle was not at dinner with us that night, fouling the mood like a flapping harpy.   He would have made one of his indigestibly snarky comments when OJ left his usual very generous tip, after picking up the check.   “Jesus, OJ, only a 40% tip?  Was the waiter a putz?”   Actual quote, from lunch at the Jackson Diner on another occasion.  My father and mother exchanged a pointed glance at the size of the tip (they always calculated their 15% to the dime), but that was it.

One of the things I loved about OJ, which was in complete contrast to my skinflint family– OJ enjoyed the finer things in life and liked living large.   He didn’t hesitate to give his money to people who made him happy, or to buy things either of us wanted.  I saw a beautiful pair of cowboy boots one day when we were walking in the city.  They were ridiculously expensive, but exquisite.   He saw that I loved them, yet I resisted getting them.  And then, ten minutes later, I was wearing them, carrying my former boots in a bag.  “If you love it, and you have the money, why hesitate?” OJ said, after casually dropping hundreds on the boots that made me so happy.   I had never heard it put so simply and so directly.  Nobody in the history of my family had ever spoken such words, or handled money with such a light, non-possessive touch.

He didn’t care what the price was, it was just a number, he always said.  If it made you happy, it was yours. When we moved in together it was the first time I ever experienced that easy way of life.  It was so liberating, not to agonize over whether you really needed something.  If you like it– buy it!  Why not tip the sales girl who had been so helpful?   Hey, they work hard, don’t get paid much, she was great, why not show her some love, money makes everybody happy.  It’s a pleasure to be generous, particularly when you come from a family that watches every dollar the way mine always did.   I felt liberated from a cramped cage I hadn’t even realized I was trapped in.

We had two very good incomes and no children back then, although our two little rescue dogs, Heckle and Jeckle, were like our kids.   Heckle was black and Jeckle was white and OJ joked that we had smashed the racist stereotype of those two cartoon magpies by integrating the duo.   My uncle gave me shit, of course, about my new collection of high-end cowboy boots, but, that was him.  Why do we work hard to earn money if not to enjoy the things it can buy?  A question my uncle never had an answer for, funny for a man who considered himself a great moral philosopher and who lived like a penitent monk.  

I made a good living managing a health club and OJ was taking in an excellent income as a salesman.  He sold high end fine art reproductions for a company called Portal.  Portal had the license to print the works of the Impressionists, Van Gogh and a lot of other beautiful paintings.   The reproductions were gorgeous, we had a couple framed in our home.   They also had a line of fine art greeting cards and what is now called “merch” with their beautiful licensed images on them, mugs and t-shirts and things like that.   He used to say Portal’s stuff sold itself.   He was part of a team that was very close and the boss really loved OJ.  How could you not love someone like OJ?  All he wanted was to be happy and make other people happy.  He was very popular at Portal and the star of their softball and basketball teams.

In fact, my uncle himself said that the home run OJ hit at Central Park, in a pickup game my uncle was also playing in, was the hardest hit, longest home run he’d ever seen outside of a major league ballpark.  

Then the Recession hit.  It hit everybody, but, of course, in sales you feel it first, particularly if you are selling discretionary items like fine art reproductions.  Business slowed a little bit and OJ did something that in retrospect was a bad mistake.   He realized one day that the enormous sample book he carried with him in his car, with hundreds of beautiful items, was worth a lot of money.    

He started selling it off for cash to store owners who were looking for a deal.   It was a mistake.  He sold the samples and then told the boss his car had been robbed and the sample book stolen.   Although they loved him at Portal, and immediately replaced the first lost sample book, when the second sample book entered the stream of commerce, and unbeknownst to OJ there was a tiny code on the back of each sample page that led straight back to the salesman, he was done.

My uncle the piker had inherited $25,000 when his wife died.  He had the remaining $20,000 or so in a CD, which at that time paid something like 10% interest.   Then he got a letter from the IRS that made him paranoid, since he hadn’t filed taxes on his meager income in several years.   He didn’t want the IRS to seize his measly $20,000 so he asked OJ and I to keep it in a CD under our names.   It was really no problem.  If he ever needed money from the CD we would withdraw it, take him out to lunch and give him the money.  

So one day over lunch OJ told my uncle that he’d lost his job, was out looking for work and mentioned that we had a temporary cash flow problem, and that we were trying to get pregnant, my uncle was soon going to be a great-uncle.   He asked my uncle if he could borrow the money in the CD.  He told him he’d pay it back, with interest, in a very short time.  To his credit, my uncle didn’t hesitate, though it still strikes me as odd all these years later.

In the clear light of hindsight, that loan was the real beginning of everything turning to shit with my family.

Fiction Writers Beware

It has often been said that puckish reality is more boldly reckless than the imagination of any writer of fiction.  Check out this bully-coddling dickhead’s name, the CEO of the parent company of the National Enquirer.   The portrait of him is equally perfect.  

It got a dry little laugh out of me, though I am, admittedly, more than a bit immature about this kind of gag.  

Take it, Amy.

clickez ici


A Work of Fiction

I Married OJ   (part one, draft one)

He was incredibly handsome, that was the first thing I noticed when he smiled at me at Shea Stadium that early summer day, the first time we were introduced.  It is very important to be good looking in this world, I have always believed, more important than almost anything else.  He was an extremely good looking man.  He was big, and looked incredibly strong, and at ease with himself, he carried himself like an athlete, which it turns out he was.  His presence was electric.  He was unhappily married to my best friend’s sister, or had been, they were separated, practically divorced.    There were six of us in that little group, and tens of thousands at the stadium cheering for the Mets, but at the same time, it seemed like we were the only two people there, the way he looked at me.  It felt like being in a wonderful Hollywood movie.

I should point out right at the start that I am not, of course, married to OJ, the infamous OJ who was possibly the most charismatic man in America before he went insane and hacked two people’s heads off.  “OJ” is the nickname my father and my fucking uncle gave my husband around the time of that trial, when OJ used his millions, his celebrity, his charm and his newly discovered blackness to buy his way out of the murder charges.  It was a vicious nickname, although my husband, who has a perverse streak, embraced it from the start.   At first he used the name as a fuck you to my judgmental family,  referring to himself as OJ, then it just became his name between us.  Funny how these things happen.  

I was twenty-two when we met and in the best shape of my life.  OJ and I started dating right after that Mets game, more than dating, we saw each other every day. He’d be waiting for me when I got off work.   My hyper-opinionated uncle, who I already implied was something of a prick, always reminded me that my purse, stolen from under my box seat that day I met OJ, was an omen of things to come.   He even claimed that OJ had pocketed the cash in my wallet and tossed the purse on his way to the bathroom.  That’s the kind of sick fuck my uncle was.

Our love affair began as one of those whirlwind romances.  We were both swept off our feet.  From the beginning I knew this was a man who would always protect me.  His combative side was something I admired, he was fearless when facing down other men.   I felt like I could go anywhere with him and be completely safe.  He had this wonderful easy ability to calm me whenever I felt afraid, his strength felt like my own superpower.  I knew he would do anything for me.  Which was true, as he proved over and over in those early days.  He came to know me better than anyone I’ve ever met.

[editor’s note:  shit, this is not going to be as smooth a sail as I imagined when I was excited about setting this story down.  This is going to be fucking work.]

The problems with my judgmental family started right away.   We were at my family’s place, grilling some steaks in the backyard.  My parents were away and we were enjoying a summer evening when my fucking uncle just happened to drop by. My father’s little brother was fifteen years younger than my father, it sometimes felt he was my own brother as much as my uncle.   A brother like Cain, I should say. My uncle was five years older than OJ and from their first exchange they seemed like two brothers destined for violence.  

They clashed that first evening and the argument continued to escalate until my uncle’s heart attack twenty years later.  My uncle’s problem was that he thought he was my father.  That was one of his problems.  His larger problem was that he was a frustrated asshole, one of these intellectual types who think they understand more than anybody else and constantly remind people of all the important books he read that they had never even heard of.

OJ was a voracious reader himself, devoured books, was always reading three or four at a time.  So he took no shit from my uncle when the argument over whatever they were arguing about started.   In these situations the subject of the argument is only a pretext for fighting.  OJ never backed down from a fight and neither did my uncle.   It was sport for my uncle, this hostile intellectual jousting, and it was the first time I saw that it was also something OJ fell into quite naturally.   They fought for a while and then my uncle caught me in the kitchen and asked what my parents thought of this “pretentious ape.”   

The question caught me unawares, OJ and I were talking about moving to Tucson, Arizona and were thinking of doing it before my parents got back from their long holiday.   OJ had told my uncle that we were moving right before my uncle slipped into the kitchen.  As for my parents’ long multi-continental vacation, it’s not that they were wealthy international jet-setters, it was my mother’s cancer diagnosis, and the bad news my father was given after the operation, that caused my father to reach into their savings and arrange a long vacation involving airplanes, cruise ships and visas to a dozen or more countries my mother had always wanted to see.  

“Don’t you think your parents should at least meet this intractable asshole before you start your life with him?”  my uncle said, using the term ‘intractable asshole’, like the intractable asshole he was.  I told my uncle to grow up, and get himself a new thesaurus while he was at it.   My uncle began snarling back, OJ came in, my uncle wished us both all the best, got back into his car and roared off.  

“Nice family,” OJ said, deadpan, and we had a laugh.   That’s another thing, OJ was hilarious.

Oh, Jeez, Mom, not Context Again!

Amy Goodman reports today that Facebook stocks plummeted when it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a right-wing psy-ops for hire outfit founded by reclusive right wing billionaire Robert Mercer, had harvested the unguarded personal information of 50,000,000 Facebook users.   The data was used to target personalized messages to those leaning toward voting Trump.  As it turned out, they only needed to swing less than 80,000 votes in a handful of states to win the Electoral College [1].   A genius of data mining, like Robert Mercer, would have no trouble doing the calculations, district by district.  The data from Facebook, and the ability to reach millions for free on the ‘social media’ platform, was apparently essential to moving just enough votes to the MAGA column.

Personally, I’d love to see Facebook go into the toilet, for its insidious role in the 2016 election and its ongoing role in society, but a CEO who has acquired $74,000,000,000 before his 34th birthday ain’t going to let that happen to his creation.  He beat the odds by monetizing Facebook beyond the wildest wet dreams of the Koch brothers.   He’s thinking of running for president himself, people have said, so he will definitely fix this, and find a way to make even more money off the loneliness and disconnection of most of the people on the planet.  Winners win, it’s just what they do.

The Cambridge Analytica story, while truly horrifying, will be around for a day or two before Cambridge Analytica slithers back into the shadows where they do their important and lucrative work.   People are too harried these days, notifications from their phones dinging every few seconds, to much remember what happened three months ago, or last week, let alone recognize any larger context.  Besides, much of the conversation is just too ugly to want to listen to.

It is said that the genius of our current president is that he is a master exploiter of chaos.  While he sends out his daily shit streams over a handy app called Twitter, and fights off the investigator who appears to be closing in on some of the businessman president’s more intractable financial crimes, he has already done plenty of irreversible mischief by quietly setting a record for lifetime appointments to the federal courts.  Read this headline, see if you can keep the vomit in your mouth.

Melania Trump told the nation when she became First Lady that she was going to launch a campaign to fight bullying.   By the looks of it she was bullied out of it.  I can picture her loving husband, supportive as always “listen to me, you whore, you signed a prenup I can very easily fuck you with.   As you know, I have the best lawyers and I have never, EVER lost any of the 4,000 lawsuits I’ve been involved in– not one, NEVER.  If you want to be a poor Slovenian girl again, go ahead, make my day, try to launch your program to make people like me look bad.”   With all the other shit that has splattered against the fan, and come rippling out at us, how many Americans even remember Melania’s idealistic vow?

How many have heard of Convict Leasing?  It was a common practice in the former Confederacy, for around a hundred years.   Devilishly simple program that provided slave labor for southerners who had a few bucks in their pockets.  Slavery was outlawed by the Thirteenth Amendment the former Confederate states were forced to ratify, basically at gunpoint.   There was a nice loophole, see if you can spot it: 

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.[1]

Very good, yes:  except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.   Opposition to the Thirteenth Amendment was not based, God forbid, on the idea that slavery was moral.   Supporters of slavery in Congress made numerous other arguments about the awful harms a blanket outlawing of slavery would cause [2] .  Once the damned thing became an amendment, it was time to line up the Mac Trucks to drive through that loophole there.  There is an excellent documentary on Netflix called Thirteenth, where you can learn the full history and see American slave laborers in American prisons, at work today, for some of our greatest corporations. 

The original idea of how to control, and continue to profit from the unpaid labor of your inferiors was not long in coming, after the Thirteenth Amendment was rammed down the craws of the former slave owners.   Here you go: create a crime, like vagrancy, which is defined as, say, being on the street without fifty bucks on your person.   Nobody you like is ever stopped and forced to turn out his pockets so no decent person need ever feel threatened by such laws.  Like the drug laws today, they are selectively enforced, in the interests of “quality of life” and “Law and Order”.  The police will tip their hats to people in the fancy part of town and say “good afternoon, ma’am.  How are you today, sir?”   You only stop and frisk people you hate or fear, better if they’re big and strong and capable of hard physical work. Thankfully, you, as the lawman, have the gun, taser and billy club, and backup, when you stop these potentially savage criminals.

Across the former Confederacy these laws, part of the Black Codes, supported a system of perfectly legal slavery for a hundred years after the barbaric practice was outlawed by a constitutional amendment following the bloodiest war in American history.   It worked in two ways.   Before anyone was convicted of anything you could now go down to the local jail, pay the bond for a group of Negro detainees, essentially post some portion of the sum that would free them from a vagrancy charge, and let them work off their debt to you.  You could rent this work crew out to anyone you wanted, you basically owned them, until they paid off what they owed you.  With food, clothing, rent and sundry expenses deducted from their minimal pay, well, shoot, it could take them a lifetime or more to pay off their debt.  

You could also lease a convict work crew directly from a warden who’d send ’em over in leg irons to work your fields.   There was little danger in this, you had a few white men with guns in charge and, to keep the convicts in line, the most dangerous and brutal prisoners on horseback, trustees, armed and ready to ruthlessly enforce order among the workers.  Life is bad for the criminal class, and why should it not be?  Parchman Farm was one notorious prison/plantation where the old ways, from back when America was first great, were considered the best ways.   Prisoners died there regularly, sure, but, you know, bad shit happens to you when you’re a criminal.

Speaking of criminals and prisoners, I’ll show you a chart (reproduced in Matt Tabibi’s excellent, sickening The Divide), before I shuffle off to make myself some lunch:


Locking up drug addicts and low level drug dealers does not seem to be halting the illegal drug trade or reducing the numbers of Americans with drug problems.  In 2017 we set a new record, on the way to making America great again, 67,000 dead of drug overdoses.   They have been calling it the Opioid Epidemic, Jared Kushner was supposed to solve it in his spare time.   Driven by wildly profitable Big Pharma players like the Sacklers, owners of Perdue Pharma (inventors and marketers of the lucrative, “non-addictive” time-released painkiller OxyContin) the craving for such drugs has been exploited by criminals now, too. Our president has a solution he is starting to speak of regularly:  Kill the motherfuckers who sell the drugs.  The death penalty, the only thing that can possibly stop them.

It’s the only way, as history has shown over and over, the deterrent power of the death penalty will discourage anyone who is not insane, desperate or very wealthy, from engaging in illegal behavior that will result in execution.    It will certainly work as well as the trickle down economics that are at the heart of the president’s plan for the masses of American losers, even if it doesn’t put a dime into the pocket of the selfless CEO of our once great nation.  It will work as well as mass deportations and protective tariffs, let’s be honest here.

By the way, thinking of some of the Stable Genius’s recent moves to Keep America First, two big initiatives Hebert Hoover used to try to stave off The Great Depression were  mass deportations of illegal immigrants and protective tariffs for American-made goods. He imposed tariffs on thousands of imported products and, while deporting a lot of ‘undesirables’, manfully avoided any impact on Americans from the worldwide economic Depression that followed from a decade of wild speculation and record profits for entrepreneurs and organized crime alike, (coupled with the ongoing demand on Germany to pay all costs associated with protecting the world for democracy during World War One).  Herbert Hoover, a truly great president, rolled up his sleeves and fucking solved the fucking crisis.  You could look it up.  Or simply check your phone, that notification is from one of your 20,000 closest Facebook friends.



[1]  The U.S Supreme Court yesterday refused to hear the appeal of aggrieved parties in Pennsylvania who want to overturn the ruling that Pennsylvania’s gerrymandered electoral districts must be redrawn because they impermissibly favor Republican candidates.   Trump won the electoral votes of Pennsylvania by a whopping almost 47,000 votes, a robust 0.7% of the votes cast there.     source


[2]  With no Southern states represented, few members of Congress pushed moral and religious arguments in favor of slavery. Democrats who opposed the amendment generally made arguments based on federalism and states’ rights.[29] Some argued that the proposed change so violated the spirit of the Constitution that it would not be a valid “amendment” but would instead constitute “revolution”.[30] Representative White, among other opponents, warned that the amendment would lead to full citizenship for blacks.[31]

Note that current American politicians, guys like our beleaguered Attorney General, make identical arguments, one hundred and fifty years later.  USA!  USA!!!

Walking down the street where I grew up

Strolling in Queens the other day I turned the corner and walked up the hill to the little house I used to live in [1].  As I walked up the incline Michael Siegel or I used to sprint down chasing a ball that got away, or where we made our networks of twig and blossom dams to try to halt the flood from the sprinklers in its race to the Turnpike, I was thinking of that old cliche ‘you can’t go home again’.   My childhood house was right there, tastelessly retooled, with a car that left muddy tracks on the sidewalk parked at a rakish angle on the unkempt lawn.   “Classy,” I thought, as I snapped a picture for my sister.   The lawn is now mostly dirt.

You can’t go home again, unless you want to be arrested for breaking and entering.   Even then, of course, nothing remains of the home you once knew.  The people are strangers, the ones you shared the home with once now mostly dead, the decor is completely different, the smell of the place is unrecognizable.  A pointless exercise looking at what has become of your former home.  Home, of course, is kept in your heart, in the memories of the time you lived there.  The comfort you felt there you can feel anywhere, in a way, as the entire world is now your home.    

The little house my father grew up in was a place of abject misery.   His rough uncle Aren owned the house and paid the bills.  My father’s father had two eyes, a nose and a mouth, and tried to keep an unaccountably mischievous expression off his face as he shrugged through a life of extreme poverty.    There is a hint of that expression in his eyes in one of the two existing photos of the man I am named for.  

The photo is taken in the dark sanctuary of the First Hebrew Congregation of Peekskill where he worked as an unpaid janitor.   He wears a suit and a fedora, stands next to the wife, wedded to him in an arranged marriage, who hated him, his younger son on the other side of the wife, also in a suit.  My father must have been off making the world safe for democracy when the photo was taken.  That elusive expression on Eliayhu’s face, close to breaking out into a chuckle, but well-practiced in holding it together, one of the only clues I have about my grandfather.

There is no hint on my grandfather’s face that this is a man capable of rage.   It certainly was not allowed him, that much is clear.  I would imagine that only my grandmother screamed in that house.  In the little house I grew up in we all screamed at each other.   Progress, I suppose, if you want to think of it like that.  

I stood in the street between my old home and the Gerwitz house, and smiled to see the little jockey, much tinier than I remembered him, still holding his arm in the pose that he used to hold the lantern.  A wooden sign with the address, minus one digit, has replaced the lantern.  Gerwitz was a rich man, my father told me, but his former home, a showplace at one time, in the old parlance, has fallen on hard times. Like the American Dream itself, I thought, as I took out my phone again to immortalize the joint in a photo and share it with friends and strangers on a website here in Cyberia.


Pretty shabby looking manse for the richest guy on the block.   Of course, during my childhood, having a million dollars made you a rich person.  Nowadays that’s like having a quarter.  Chump change.  A million dollars will hardly buy you membership and annual dues at Mara-Largo, if you intend to do anything else with your money.  Back when Gerwitz was rich a Cadillac cost $6,000, same as a year’s tuition at Harvard, at the time America’s most expensive university.   Nowadays… forget about it.  I don’t know where Sam Gerwitz got his great wealth, he may have been a lawyer, or possibly in advertising.  The source of his fortune is a mystery I have I no worries about.  Sad, though, to look at the shithouse his once-majestic showplace is now.

If you are born to a family with enough money, and you do nothing to get disowned, all you need to do is grow up, inherit it and watch your fortune grow.   You are entitled to feel entitled because you don’t rely on entitlements like the poor people, parasites who grow fat like tics sucking on the wealth of others.  

Back in Germany at one time these “takers” (as opposed to ‘job creators’)  were classified as “useless eaters”, they lived their lebensunswertesleben (“life unworthy of living”) until the state made the arrangements to be done with them.   The German State in the late 1930s started its infamous mass killing program with eugenic euthanasia, gassing mentally defective German citizens, clearing their madhouses and asylums of people who did not deserve to eat.  

The family members of the murdered were lied to about the cause of death of their random institutionalized defective.   Few others in Germany knew or much cared what happened to a weird and unproductive group of chance mutations, Mongoloid teenagers, demented men and women in their forties, fifties and sixties, the retarded, schizophrenics, adolescent catatonics. 

Civilized people, moral people– informed people who learn about a program to kill ‘useless eaters’ — people with feeling human hearts, of course, largely would not agree to their government rounding up, roughing up and killing society’s most helpless citizens.  It is a historically high bar, though, this simple morality.   When angry, desperate people are whipped up enough, and pointed at the enemy, as often as not the blood of the weak will run in the streets.



[1] The Little House I Used to Live In is also the title of a beautiful instrumental by Frank Zappa, a wonderful version of which he played on the Live At The Fillmore album I was in the audience for back in 1971.

Individuals part 2

It is good to remember that individuals, while generally better than members of an enraged mob stomping off to do something atrocious, are still individuals, subject to immense variation.  I was reminded of this two or three times after I wrote yesterday’s feel good piece.  

The sympathetic woman who took my initial call about a brusque postal supervisor who gave me a polite “tough, fucking shit, sir” when I complained my rent check had been inexplicably returned to me, and the equally nice woman, a Ms. Linton, I was later informed, who fielded my follow-up five business days later, were two very decent individuals.   The first, whose name I did not get, was not, as it turned out D. McNeil, the woman who was out to lunch when I spoke to the second kind individual at the Postal Inspector’s.

Ms. McNeil knew nothing of my complaint, her name had simply been on the automatically generated email that had been sent to me confirming that my complaint was being seriously investigated.  She confirmed that it was being investigated at the local level, by the person best suited to evaluate it, the brusque postal supervisor in question, who now had my confidential complaint in his hands, with my name and address.  

Ms. McNeil knew nothing of the case, put me on hold to read the case notes.  Five minutes later she was back, still not sure why I had wanted a return call from her.  The case had been ‘escalated’ to the individual post office level.  I asked her what the sense was to have my complaint in the hands of the man who had created the problem when, instead of being helpful, gave his tour de force of super-cool tough guy customer service.  She sort of agreed there was only a limited point to him investigating himself.

Unlike the others, Ms. McNeil didn’t bother to apologize on behalf of the Post Office for this Clint Eastwood-like customer relations specialist, though she did agree that it would have been better customer service to have told the customer holding the mistakenly, inexplicably returned rent check, “this should not have happened.  I will put it on the truck now and your landlord will have it in two or three days.”   She said it would have been better if he’d said something like that, instead of handing me a fake complaint number to call, instead of crossing out the barcode so the idiotic mistake would not be repeated.  She agreed that had he said that an apology of any kind would have been unnecessary.   She asked me wearily what I expected her to do at this point.

“For starters, I still want the Post Office to deliver the rent check they’ve returned to me twice,” I told her.  She explained again about the bar code, how it had to be crossed out and covered with a label.  Sadly, there was no guarantee it would be delivered this time either.   She then mentioned the original idea I’d had– have the post office put the thing in another envelope, readdress it and send it again.   Ms. McNeil liked this idea.  Eventually she told me she would ‘escalate’ the complaint, sending it to the area supervisor, the person to whom all branch supervisors answer. I asked for the email address to send my photos of the twice returned envelope.  She placed me on hold.   While holding I was treated to an endless stream of upbeat ads about the many unbeatable services offered by the Postal Service.   I listened, for as long as my patience lasted, which was about three minutes.  I hung up and dialed the number I had for D. McNeil.  

A pleasant recorded voice told me the person at this number had not set up their voicemail and then announced I would be transferred to a representative to assist me.  There was a beep, then another recording.  It said “your session cannot be continued at this time.  Goodbye.”

Twenty minutes later Ms. McNeil called me back with a fax number where I could fax all the photos I wanted.  I told Ms. McNeil I’d gotten rid of my fax machine years ago.  I asked again for an email address.  She sighed, having no idea why I was being so difficult about these simple things.  She was sure they probably had an email address, would I like to hold while she searched for it again?

I thanked her and walked over to the local post office.  The two Chinese American clerks there had always been very nice.  But all the one I spoke to told me is that she could cover the bar code, send it out for sorting again and hope for the best.  “But,” she told me in strongly accented English, “some Postal employees do not do what they’re supposed to.  You can never tell.”   As for putting it in another envelope, they had no such envelope, I had to go to the main post office for that service.   She agreed it wasn’t fair to make me pay more postage for another envelope, the only option available.  Then she looked at me with intensity and said “But if I give you envelope I have to pay, nobody pay me for the postage.  You think that’s fair?”    I didn’t.  They had no supervisor available at their little Utopia Branch (heavenly though the place otherwise is.)   The two Asian-American clerks regarded me seriously until I agreed it wasn’t fair that one of them should be forced to pay.

I had a sudden thought that none of this was fair.  Our fucking world is off the fucking rails, every business we encounter here in America, with rare, beautiful exceptions, is managed from the style book for psychopaths.  I bought the envelope, it cost me 63 cents.  I paid in cash.  I  addressed the blank envelope and re-mailed the twice returned rent check to my landlord.  I apologized to the wide eyed clerk, who had begun staring at me, seeming truly hurt by how I seemed to be making such unfair demands of her.  When I handed her back the envelope I said “thank you, ma’am.”   She smiled.  I walked back into the sunshine trying to get over the feeling that I had been successfully pissed on, for more than a week.


“Greeked” for posting on this website.  The envelope was addressed as neatly as circumstances yesterday allowed. 

Peace be with you.