Sunday, February 14, 2010

Me Barbarian

As free and independent as I like to live, every now and then the larger dominant culture intrudes. Damn, I hate that.

Once in a while I have to deal with things like bankers, lawyers, politicians, bureaucrats, and judges. Turns out roaring and waving a battle ax is frowned upon. Life was simpler once.

Take bankers. Please. Technically, I've stopped dealing with banks. What financial stuff I do is through my local credit union. First rule of dealing with the civilized world: make sure they have a local office you can occupy. Much more satisfying than trying to get someone on the phone. I'm too big to throw out of an office.

So once in a while I have to deal with the money guys. Last couple times weren't so much for myself, but to help one of my kids out of a jam. For my kids, I'll deal with the foreign land called civilization. It's always a culture clash. I don't have any taxable income, but I do have income. It's a pain to show that to a financial guy when my I lack the normal forms most people have.

Life is always better when it doesn't involve lawyers. I've had to employ lawyers a few times in my life. It's one of those play by the rules sort of things. So far I've made out well enough. Still, not as satisfying as shooting the bastards. I am holding that in reserve . . . for now.

Woe to those who mistake me for a civilized person. I'm a barbarian who knows how to read. That's all. I'm a stranger in a strange land.

One of the good things about living in a small rural town is that the bureaucracy is scaled down -at least in my town. You know the people as people. It's possible to get the local town clerk to help you game the system. Always be polite to secretaries and clerks. They run the civilized world. Barbarians do well making them allies. Once had a clerk help fill out nice paperwork white lies to the state to save me a bundle in vehicle registration. It could have been ugly.

Even the politicians can be dealt with as people. Take the time when I was burning down an old boat house. It had been dragged up on dry land before I bought the property. It functioned as a shed for a number of years. Eventually, the roof caved it. The easiest way to get rid of it was to burn it down.

So there I was burning down my boathouse, minding my own business. Next thing I knew, my local Selectman was on my land wondering what I was up to. I pointed out the obvious, I was burning down my boathouse. He saw that I had waited until there was snow on the ground. He noted that the burning boathouse was no threat to anyone else's property. Then he went back home and that was the end of it.

As a barbarian, I can deal with people. I can deal with tribes. I've dealt with the local Democrat and Republican tribes. Had dealings with the local shaman called a church pastor.

Faceless bureaucracies . . . for that it must take magic. There are holy words and phrases that need to said. Sacrifices have to be made. It does no good slaying the minions of the bureaucratic beast. More spring up in their place. The bureaucratic monster has no heart. It is difficult to kill. It hides in the shadows, yet it's tentacles reach out to entwine us all.

Civilization can be hard for us barbarians. If it wasn't for the hot showers and cold beers, I'd give up on it entirely.


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