Saturday, February 11, 2012


Good Morning!

Welcome to the view from the top shelf! This will be a self-serving page where my views of the moment will be posted (not that my views will necessarily be the same next week). It's also a page where others may dump their opinions within the realm of good taste. You are all invited. I have long wanted a place to react to little thoughts that cross my mind daily but until now had no place to put them. Well, here it is.

The first thought I had has probably already been posted somewhere, but it's worth repeating. Bureaucracy is such an insideous appendage of particularly our governments and corporations that it plays like an out-of-tune fiddle on our psyches. It's what Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz calls "Red Tape". Unfortunately for Mayor Katz, it's now lost in the Red Tape Department. But for what it's worth, here it is:

Gawd! Even the word is spelled funny – confusing. Probably made up by some high falutin Frenchman trying to justify government screw-ups. It seems in fact, to be a profession. There are people called bureaucrats who practice it, and they mostly belong to governments. I think it’s a catch 22 phrase. You don’t know if they are called bureaucrats because they screw up so often, or they screw up so often because they’re bureaucrats.
That got me to thinking about a phone call I got the other day from a fellow I hadn’t seen nor heard of since the mid 1950’s. He read in the paper that I had died, so he phoned to see if it was true. Well, I hadn’t been invited to the funeral so I was pretty sure I hadn’t died, I said, so we went on reminiscing about old times.
Well, there you have it: bureaucracy. Somebody screwed something up – either the newspaper or the grim reaper, or – somebody else had my name. No matter – didn’t affect me one way or the other.
In my imagination I could visualize the poor grim reaper, pulling spirits out of bodies here and there according to his list, stuffing them in his bag and schlepping them off to St. Peter’s warehouse for sorting. What a thankless job that must be.
“Hey Reap that’s a heavy load. Just put ‘em over there. I’ll get to them in a minute.” Says St. Peter, grabbing a fistful of papers.
“Okay now, let’s see who we got here. Andrushko – here, Arnason – hell, Bowers – hell, Bowman – here, Carter – here, Carstairs – hell, Dalgleish – hell – Nice you got them all in order. Makes this paperwork a lot easier. Endersby – hell, Eggertson – here, Epp – he – hey Grim, where’d you get this soul?”
“Rosthern Saskatchewan.”
“Aw shit! What’d you go there for?”
“That’s where all the Mennonites are. And I easily found this jerk.”
“The list says Rothesay, not Rosthern. Can’t you read?”
“Well, there ain’t no Epps on Rothesay, unless you mean the ones on the Edison corner. You’ve got to be more specific about your addresses. I’m no mind reader you know.”
“Listen dummy, if you can’t read something, at least check with me before you go draggin’ your sorry ass all over the country. You’ll have to take this one back.”
“Take it back? Are you nuts? They guy is already laid out in his coffin and the funeral is scheduled for tomorrow. I can’t get there until late tomorrow afternoon. By then he’ll be buried already. What should I do – have him rise out from the grave?” The newspapers would have a field day.”
“No we can’t have that. That’s the last thing we need – is to have Victor Epp rising from the dead. He’s not exactly a candidate for that sort of thing. Shit! What to do, what to do! You know this is going to cause trouble all the way to the top.”
“Not my problem,” said the Reaper. “I just kill ‘em and haul ‘em – according to the list. If the list is wrong, that’s your bureaucratic headache. You deal with it.”
“Headache is right. What am I gonna tell Satan? That was his catch.”
“Give me the correct address and I’ll go get the right one.”
“It’s not that easy. There’s all kinds of paperwork. It’s a bureaucratic nightmare. The guy you stiffed belongs here with us, while the other one belongs with Satan. You have no idea what the repercussions of this sort of an error can have.” St. Peter buried his head in his hands.
“I’m going to have a drink” said Grim Reaper. “Call me when you’ve got a new list.” He took off.
“Hold up!” St. Peter said. “I’m coming with you.
So there you have it – bureaucracy. It’s everywhere.

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