…Two steps back. Sigh.
I try not to be full of hate. And I’m not. But I now have a deep and abiding hatred for bureaucrats, and the bureaucracy from which they come. I would gladly attend an event during which bureaucrats were boiled in oil. Let me tell you all about it, okay?
A month or so ago, I took three days of state-sanctioned classroom training in school bus driving. The idea was, of course, to get a job driving a school bus. And in the bargain, I’d get my passenger certification which would allow me to drive any passenger conveyance in the state of North Carolina. This would open my job possibilities considerably. But when I was filling out the forms in class, I made a great big mistake: I answered the questions honestly. See, if I’d never mentioned that pesky old quadruple bypass surgery I had in July, I’d probably be driving a bus full of apple-cheeked, well-mannered children, eager to learn, to school every day and life would be a bowl of cherries. That, by the way, is probably the first and last time I’ll ever use two fruit-themed metaphors in one sentence.
Anyway, my instructor told me that because of the heart thing, I’d have to get my cardiologist to fill out a form that would then be sent to Raleigh, where someone in an office would undoubtedly stamp it APPROVED! And then, I’d be able to take my roadwork, then get the CDL and then start my new career.
So my cardiologist filled out the forms, assuring the folks in Raleigh that my heart was not likely to stop during a bus run, and we sent them in. Oh, there’s one thing I forgot to mention: Because of the way things are set up, if these forms were not sent in in a timely manner, or if they came back with the REJECTED! stamp instead, not only would I not be able to get my CDL, but my regular, plain old North Carolina drivers license would also be revoked.
Today, a couple of envelopes came back from the Ministry of Cars and Trucks, or whatever it’s called, in Raleigh. I was excited, thinking it was my clearance. But it was not. One was a letter demanding more information in the form of three blood pressure tests within a ten day period. No problem. But the other one demands that I have an echocardiogram and/or a stress test. Without these tests, I’ll not only give up hopes of getting my CDL, but my regular drivers license will also be revoked!!
Now, do you have any idea how much an echocardiogram costs? It runs into the thousands. We have no health insurance. I now owe close to 150 grand for my heart surgery, and I’m unemployed. But unless I can file an appeal of some sort, or get a cardiologist to do a test pro bono, I won’t have much choice other than to order up that echocardiogram and have them put it on my tab. Really, in the scheme of things, what difference will it make?
Two things strike me about this: Thing 1.) I could have avoided all this by being dishonest on the application. They’d never have known and everything would be hunky-dory. Thing 2.) I’m a lot healthier now than I was a year ago. And a year ago, I could’ve gotten the license with no problems at all.
So, what I’d really like to do is to drive a school bus. A school bus full of bureaucrats. A school bus full of bureaucrats from which I could leap to safety just before steering it over a cliff. With the bureaucrats still in it. Just thinking about that makes me smile.