Victors v. Dorkheads

Yesterday I noted that I got a big envelope from Kansas tourism addressed to “Anne F U Woodlen-Ashole.”

Research shows that the address was entered from a computer accessing the Kansas web site.  After that—from Kansas to my mailbox—no human being laid eyes on the address.  Both Kansas and the U.S. Postal Service do it all with machines.  Huh—some “civilization” we have here, isn’t it?

Well, I talked to a nice man in Kansas (I picture him wearing a suit and tie, sitting in a high-rise office building, and being surrounded by corn fields) and he back-tracked the address, removed it from their mailing list and apologized to me.  That was really nice.

Then I talked to someone who’s putting it in the hands of the U.S. Postal Service.  They’ve got lots of investigators who follow up on stuff like this.  The mailman who put this in my mailbox without looking at the label will also be talked to.

What gets me is this dorkhead in the dark, hunched over his/her computer keyboard, going on different web sites to hassle me this way.  Why doesn’t he/she/it just come get in my face and say, “I’m really angry at you?”  That’s what grownups do.

All the people with whom I associate try to live a life in the light.  We are people who choose happiness, try to be positive, and want to do good things.  We don’t always succeed.  We have our dark moments, but never so dark that we’d rub our hands with glee and settle down in front of the computer to bring malicious events into someone else’s life.

When I hassle people, it is for one reason only:  they have failed to do the job for which they were paid.  Since I am poor and under the thumb of Big Government, that usually means I’m filing complaints against government agencies and their representatives.

When I file a complaint, I always view it as a class action on behalf of all the other people like me who are getting substandard services.  It’s about taking care of people.  And if people who are paid by Medicare, Medicaid, HUD, the NYS Department of Health, Centro, the NYS Office of Mental Health, and so on and so forth, actually did their jobs at the level required by law then I could just sit here and um . . . ah, I have no idea what I’d do.  I’ll never have to find out because Big Government and human laziness, bigotry and greed will always give me something to complain about.

This dorkhead-in-the-dark who’s now sending me crap reminds me of when I was in St. Joseph’s Hospital and filing complaints about the substandard nursing.  I started getting hang-up phone calls in the middle of the night.  Can you believe that?  Somebody on the hospital staff—probably a nurse or his/her confederate—was making harassing phone calls to a patient.

Last year when Aaron Sorkin spoke at the Syracuse University Commencement, he said, “Develop your own compass, and trust it. Take risks, dare to fail, remember the first person through the wall always gets hurt.”  Ten thousand people sit there and take the shit that’s raining down on them, and they don’t get hurt—not in any personal, intentional way.  They just get the impersonal humiliation and degradation that is generated by a system that’s gone astray, and they have nine thousand nine hundred ninety-nine other people to complain to.

I take the risk, and “the first person through the wall always gets hurt.”  So be it.  I will not lie down and let the people in the system roll over me.  I will not be a victim; I will be a victor.

And let me tell you, standing up for your rights feels really, really terrific and makes you a winner.

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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