“If you are going to sin…

“If you are going to sin, sin against God, not the bureaucracy. God will forgive you but the bureaucracy won’t.” Hyman Rickover

Man, did Hyman have it right.  Over the course of the last five weeks, I have been engaged in an epic battle to talk to a human being who works at the licensing office. At this point, I’d settle for the guy who owns the lunch truck in their parking lot.  As a result of this communication break down, I have taken the dramatic step of writing down the phone number of the office in charge of making sure they (the licensing people) do their job.

Please understand that it has taken a great deal of thought and analysis to finally get to this place.  I have hit the number for every possible option on the licensing board’s phone system with the hope that someone, anyone, will pick up the phone and talk to me.  That event, actually speaking to someone, would bring me tremendous joy. Even if they hang up and pretend we got disconnected.  Even if they want to discuss their daily horoscope. A tiny bit of confirmation that human life does actually exist in that office would mean so much.

So I wrote down the phone number of the people in charge of the people that may not exist knowing what will happen if I take the next big leap and call them.  They will be pleasant, offer some defense as to why my three emails and four voice mails have been ignored and promise me action.  Action will come in the form of someone from the licensing board finally calling me within a few days to find  out what I want.  Maybe.

There are a few possible scenarios that play out in my head from there.  The one that comes up most frequently involves part what I know and understand to be true about bureaucracies and part cognitive distortion.

Because I called to “get them in trouble”, they will reference some law from the 1800′s and a court ruling from Austria in explaining why what I want just isn’t possible.   I will gently remind them that we live in NJ and that the Board didn’t exist in the 1800′s, so any law created at that time probably doesn’t apply to my situation. They will provide their reasoning as to why I am being difficult and wish me a good day.  They will then make several notations in a database. The database of “problems”. Probably the only functioning database in the state.

One month later I will have every regulatory agency in the state communicating their sudden interest in how I manage my practice along with requests to arrange “friendly” meetings.

So, I will wait until I get a call back.  If I don’t hear back from them in two weeks I will call their superiors and, IF someone picks up the phone, quickly hang up on them.

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