Monday, April 7, 2014

A Letter from the Department of Human Services

A letter arrived with a return address of the Department of Human Services. My heart sank, as it always does when a letter arrives with a return address of the Department of Human Services.

Here’s how it feels: Did you ever get a letter from the IRS? Your heart sinks and you’re afraid to open the envelope, right? Because you automatically assume that whatever the IRS wants from you, it ain’t good. Because the IRS never writes just to say, “Thank you for paying your taxes. You are such a wonderful citizen. We wish we had 50 million more just like you.” It’s the same with the Department of Human Services. They never write just to say, “We’re having a wonderful time in Barbados. Wish you were here.”

The Department of Human Services pays the wages of the members of my pit crew. Those are the guys I hire to drag my ass in and out of bed, lift me onto the crapper, do my laundry, etc. Maybe this letter was to inform me that in order to remain eligible, I will now have to be piss tested. A lot of people have to take a piss test in order to avail themselves of certain public services. Let me rephrase that. A lot of POOR people have to take a piss test in order to avail themselves of certain public services, such as people who live in public housing. Rich people never have to take a piss test. And rich people avail themselves of public services as much as anyone. Every time rich people drive down a public street or flush the damn toilet they are availing themselves of public services. When rich people use the public court system to seal the deal on their megamergers, the judge never says, “I’ll be delighted to seal the deal on your megamerger, right after you take a piss test,”

Or maybe the Department of Human Services was writing to inform me that I broke one of their rules. It’s easy enough for them to spy on me. These days there are drones that are the size of a fruit fly. That’s why whenever I see a fruit fly in my house I smash it with a hammer and then burn it and then flush the ashes down the toilet. You can’t be too careful. Maybe a spy drone saw it when one of my pit crew guys clipped my nails. A home health aide once told me she wasn’t allowed to clip nails because that’s a “medical task” to be performed by a nurse. Another home health aide told me she couldn’t put a pill in my mouth for the same reason. So maybe a Department of Human Services spy drone caught one of my pit crew guys putting a pill in my mouth and the letter says I am no longer eligible for services because I broke a rule so now I’ll soon be homeless and friendless and penniless and I’ll freeze to death under a bridge.

After a couple days, I got up the guts to open the envelope. Enclosed with the letter was something that looked like a quiz or something—a list of multiple choice questions. “In order to better serve you,” the letter said, “please complete and return this customer satisfaction survey.”

What the fuck, Department of Human Services! Why do you go around scaring the hell out of people like that? As I read the letter, I bet they watched me through their fruit fly spy drone and laughed their asses off at the look on my face.

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  1. I know what you mean. I get the same feeling about letters from the Department Of Work And Pensions. The typeface they use is the best laxative known to crippledom.

    The last letter I got was to say:
    1. These are the rates of support you are currently receiving.
    2. You will continue on these rates, but as of April there will be a rise of about 20pence because inflation.
    3. If anything changes at your end you must write to us. If anything changes at our end we will write to you.

    It took them *eight pages* to convey that. Before I got the envelope opened, I was convinced from the weight alone that it would be a bad one.