"I have learned a very important lesson about life below the Mason-Dixon, and relate it here for the benefit of the other Yankees who intend to move here: if you ever need anything simple, yet important, to be done, remember that these people have two main modes of operation -- Ass Backwards and Slower Than Joe Biden. No wonder they lost the War..." -- The Overlord
The Scenario: The Overlord must undergo yet another background check related to a government contract. Due to Non-Disclosure Agreements, I can only say it is for a contract issued by a state government agency (I can't identify which one. I'd like to, because it's funny as hell), who must investigate your beloved Galactic Tyrant to ensure...who knows what.
One of the requirements for this contract is that I must be fingerprinted.
No problem: The Overlord worked for many years on Wall Street where periodic bonding was a foregone conclusion. The FBI, SEC, Treasury Department and former employers have multiple copies of my prints on file. I have no issue with giving anyone my fingerprints, especially if there's a paycheck in it.
Be that as it may, said state government agency is not satisfied that the various federal government alphabet soups have copious examples of my digits on file. They want a set of their own. Not only that, but they want me to pay for it, too (I'm told reimbursement follows).
So, how difficult is it to get fingerprinted? In most places, certainly New York, not very.
In North Carolina? About as easy as getting your new Bud Light spokestrans impregnated.
I can go to a variety of private companies who routinely offer these services to the corporate or government bureaucracies around here, but for one snag: I haven't got any form of North Carolina state identification yet. My driver's license is still a New York State license, and I have to obtain the proper paperwork to obtain a NC state ID card.
So, you go to the DMV...
...and discover that you need to make an appointment to get a new driver's license and that the wait time (because COVID) can range from several weeks to several months.
They're that backed up.
State law requires that anyone who gets fingerprinted for such purposes be a legally-recognized resident of the state, for some fucking stupid reason.
So, you go to the local Sheriff's Office and ask if they can do this for you. They can. But, naturally, you encounter the same roadblocks -- no State ID, no fingerprint, make an appointment and wait because COVID.
Unless, of course, you commit a felony, and then they don't necessarily care what form of ID you're carrying.
But who has the time?
So, my options are as follows:
1. Wait the several weeks/months that it will take to get a NC-approved ID, which includes excessive (sez me) proofs of everything from address to employment to residency upon Planet Earth, or
2. Travel back to New York, where I can get this all done in under a fucking hour...
And The State In Question can kiss my fucking ass. There's a readily available solution -- ask the FBI for my fucking fingerprints, I'm sure you would have no issues in doing so if I was a felon -- but they don't wish to do so, probably because of some really esoteric and fucktarded bureaucratic imperative.
Most likely, the high school dropout who scored a 61 on The Test wouldn't be able to "earn" a living shuffling papers, rubber-stamping them, and stapling them together before losing them and making me repeat the whole fucking process again.
We live in a world of instantaneous data transfer and yet here I am required to get my fingerprints -- taken with ink, placed upon a specific piece of standardized cardboard (no electronic or digital images allowed!) -- for reasons that no one can explain to me.
And I get to pay for it, too.
And believe me, I have asked why this is necessary, and all anyone can tell me, whether here in North Carolina or The State In Question, is --- because that's just how we do it.
Only The State in Question tells you that over the phone and the State of North Carolina insists on doing so by snail mail.
I'm beginning to despise the phrase "because that's just the way we do it." Because you hear it everywhere here in Hell's Crotch.
Why does it take so long to get a freakin' Big Mac?
Because that's just the way we do it here.
Why can't I get/do/access X without first doing (totally-unrelated, time-consuming and annoying) Y?
Because that's just the way we do it here.
How is it that I can purchase a single slice of cake at the local pizzeria after 5 pm, but not a single slice of pizza?
Because that's just the way we do it here.
One gets the distinct impression, sometimes, that they've been doing all sorts of things that way since Jamestown.
These people are really only efficient in two, very-specific categories, which are Barbecue and Inbreeding.
Oh, and Amber Alerts...
Because I get at least one of those on an almost-daily basis on my cell phone. Hardly a day goes by in which a child somewhere in the Tar Heel State is not reported missing or kidnapped. It's both heartbreaking and indicative of something that Thomas Sowell once wrote about ("Black Rednecks and White Liberals", a very good book) concerning Southern Culture.
And that is that people here are willing, able, and ready to take The Law into their own hands when it doesn't work in their favor (and, one imagines, getting fingerprinted -- for free! -- as a result).
So, if somewhere a gap-toothed meth-addled Mommy, or an overall-wearin' deadbeat, moonshinin' Dad drives off with Junior right after being released from rehab or the county lockup, and in defiance of a court order, well, that's as common as the shredded tires that litter the highways, or the puddle of tobacco spit accompanying almost any gathering of men over age 60 around here.
Now I had previously encountered these phenomenon in my prior foray into the Wilds of North Carolina, when I lived in Charlotte some 20-plus years ago, but never to this extent (both the kidnappings and the tobacco spit). I thought I would be used to it, or at least understand it better and so deal with it a bit easier, but fuck no.
And that is because of the major differences between the people of Charlotte and the people of the Raleigh-Durham Municipal Sewer System.
That is to say, both are your stereotypical Southerners, but in different ways.
Charlotte, at least back then, was a bit more civilized. It was the "genteel" South of mint julips on the veranda, where everyone was related to a Confederate Colonel, of Cotillion Debutante Balls, and Old Money. The South of Gone With The Wind, minus the plantation.
This is the fucking Caveman Redneck South.
This is Tobacco Road. This is where Jethro and Cooter hold sway. This is the sort of place where people will think nothing of towing their Redneck-engineered pigcooker (a contrivance constructed of old 55-gallon drums spot-welded to any old trailer you can find) behind their pickup...with a fucking pig cooking over a burning fire inside of it.
(I did, indeed, see precisely this very thing this past weekend. I shit you not. Cletus was exceedingly proud of it, too).
This is a sort of Bizzaro Mayberry in which it appears the only people who ever procreated were Otis the Drunk and Floyd the Barber, and probably only with each other (take THAT Official Bud Light phag!).
And all the resulting offspring is approximately 100 pounds overweight, too (well, if you can take your Barbecue wherever you go...).
Have I found anything I actually LIKE around here? Because I make it sound as if this is some alien planet with the absolute worst examples of humanity to be found, and that is simply not (completely) true.
As I've said many times during these rants, that while everyone is happy to be this fucking stupid, backwards and inefficient, they do happen to have some of the better human qualities that keeps me from strangling at least one a day.
The problem, then, is me. I have to learn to have a shit ton more patience, for sure, because while I have found myself in a Purgatory of truly thick people, they do mean well. They are nice. Exceedingly polite and generous. As earnest and honest as the day is long. I think I can honestly say I have rarely been among finer people, from this point of view.
Heck, get a flat or break down on the side of the road, and these folks will pull over to help you and in the process give you some BBQ (straight from the trailer!) and a cold one (never Bud Light-in-the-Loafers!) while they rebuild your for-real broken-down tranny (not the other one that needs surgery and drugs, not to mention a rubber room).
It's the rest of it that drives me batshit. Because it makes no sense.
I see them using cell phones. I know they're driving vehicles with GPS. They have internet access and satellite television. I work with a bunch of them who are computer whizzes, for fuck's sake.
But the simplest things seem to be beyond their capabilities.
Like getting someone's inky fingers to leave an impression upon a piece of cardboard.