Tuesday, April 25, 2023

A Song of Ire and Vice...

 "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.


Chemist said...

If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong.

Anonymous said...

North Carolina isn't the South, sir. It's been overrun by Yankees and hipsters. I hope peace and patience will grow on you regardless - it's a better way of life.

Anonymous said...

It's taking that long because you're in the RTP vicinity. I moved here and made a call to my local DMV and got my new license with 30 minutes of making the phone call. Originally from here, moved away to DC Metro and came back. Wouldn't trade it for the world.

I read your blog regularly. I know your NY lack of patience is cultural (married a damn Yankee from just across the Hudson whose dad was from Brooklyn), but honesty I'm growing tired of the continual shit-talking of my fellow gentle-folk. Continually referring to us as "fucking stupid, backwards, and inefficient" doesn't endear you to any of us. And yes, I'm well aware you don't care. I've seen the state of your beloved NYC and it's no great shakes.

Matthew Noto said...

Well, then I'll give you another reason why some of you aren't endearing (you must have missed all the parts where I recited my admiration for the finer aspects of the Southerner?):

This past week, the Carolina Hurricanes defeated my New Jersey Devils in the NHL playoffs to advance to the Eastern Conference Final.

Well-deserved. The 'Canes are a good hockey team and they played a smart series.

However, winning is just not good enough for Jethro and Cooter. They demand "respect". For what, exactly, eludes me.

To listen to sports radio here (and the incessant whining of drunken plowboys in the local watering hole) the sports media in this country shits all over the 'Canes, and by extension, Carolinians. They complain, with a caterwauling I would liken to "menstrual" that all "the talk" in this series was about how much better the Devils were than the 'Canes. Why, they'll tell you, they resent being told they aren't "a hockey town".

And, again, because dumbfuck tractor-pull-lover cannot separate himself from his hockey team, he thinks (very slowly, I might add) that this is a reflection UPON HIM PERSONALLY and he's spittin' mad over it.

Why, he hasn't had his ass chapped this badly since they outlawed incest and lynching, you'd think.

So, they ask YOU, because "Yankee" (apparently all Yankees have contacts within ESPN and know the commentators personally) why that is, and when they get the answer, they just cry more.

This is just my observation:

I have hardly seen fans this obnoxious. Not Philadelphia-level, but getting there. These guys are not only sore losers -- every loss is a "fix" -- they're sore winners, too. Consequently, no one likes them.

Second, Raleigh is a provincial backwater. It is not a destination that anyone actually LIKES to come to. NY, Chicago, Toronto, whatever their faults and present decrepitude, still offer the possibility of a gourmet meal after 9 PM. Bars that are open past midnight. If you were forced to go to Raleigh to do a job, and after it's done you've got nowhere to find recreation or enjoyment, how would you feel about it?

If it wasn't for the money, I wouldn't be here, either, and it's a testament to just how bad Raleigh-Durham sucks that someone went way out of their way to recruit me, apparently because no one here can do what do. In the whole fucking state?

To reiterate: I like Southerners. I don't get them sometimes, but they are fine people.

Matthew Noto said...

P.S. on the "hockey town" part -- hockey didn't exist here 25 years ago, and to judge from all the dumbfuck questions the supposed "hockey fans" here ask me about the game you still don't know the rules or the nuances.

You miss half the game for puck fixation and the other half taxes your brainpower.

Admit it: you just like wearing the jersey and riding bandwagons (because I recall a time when the 'Canes were truly awful and all talk was that the team might actually fold). It took a championship win to put the 'Canes on the map, and that bandwagon is still rolling.

This is STILL a (college) basketball and football town -- NC, NC State, Duke, Wake Forest are all here -- and still command more attention than anything else except barbeque and deep-fried lard.

I respect Southerners for being GOOD and DECENT People. Far too few of those in this world today. You get no points, however, for being front-runners and for reflexively whipping out that inferiority complex you've been collectively carrying since Appomattox on the slightest provocation.

Linda Fox said...

When I moved to SC, I was quite upset about the length of time that it took for my OH teaching license to be given reciprocity. The district I was working for was about 2 weeks away from moving me to sub pay (in the South, low enough to qualify you for food stamps).
I called the ladies at the State Dept of Education, and inquired what the problem was. They said that they had to verify all the college credits, licensures, and continuing education. I was dumbfounded. I asked why sealed copies of the transcripts weren't sufficient.
Because there were people who lied about their credentials. Enough to make them very wary of rubber-stamping the process. They were nice about it, and apologetic that it was taking so long.
It does help to use a little 'sugar' in your interactions. I had my paperwork rushed through in record time, after the nice lady I talked to decided to make it her personal mission to help me.
So, I'm guessing that just presenting a NY driver's license doesn't mean a whole lot - my belief is that just about anyone presenting minimal credentials can manage to find someone lazy enough or bribable, in NY, to give a license to a questionable person. Why the hell do you think that NY and other states are resisting Real ID?
As for voting - even though some of the larger voting districts seem to be in a competition to see who can manage to put more phony votes into the race, almost ALL the Southern towns (and, most of the smaller towns in the North) take voter ID quite seriously. In both Rock Creek, OH (400 voters in town), and Varnville, SC (not quite that small), they actually DID check IDs, even for people they knew damn well by sight - even family. I once had an election official - my neighbor three doors down - ask me for my ID. I thought it was a joke at first.
Nope. Those were the rules, and she was darn well going to follow them - to the letter.