Do you sometimes get the feeling that if it weren’t for you nagging the people around you, nothing would get done? Or at least it wouldn’t get done correctly? I have had some experiences recently that have confirmed that very sentiment.
Here’s the situation: there was little time to squeeze dinner into Monday evening’s schedule due to our church’s Vacation Bible School start time of 5:30 PM and the fact that we had gone in early to set things up for the program. So we decided to call in a pizza order and run home quickly enough to eat it and take Kianna, Evelyn’s service dog, for her walk before returning to the church.
I ordered a “large pizza, half bacon, half mushroom.” Karlyn enjoys the bacon topping; Evelyn and I like the mushroom. What I discovered is that I was not specific enough, because, much to our amazement, when we opened the box, we found a pizza with the bacon AND mushroom mixed TOGETHER on one half, and the other half with only naked cheese! I apparently should have specified that we wanted the bacon on one half with the mushroom on the other half. I shall do so the next time I order pizza from this particular establishment. (Karlyn has photographic proof of this oddity.)
Another instance of incompetence involves the State of New Jersey. (As soon as you mention any form of government — local, state, or federal — you know that incompetence will automatically be part of the mix.) In short, New Jersey provides a small stipend-type thing to us to help with Karlyn’s expenses which is automatically deposited in our bank. About six months ago, we pulled our accounts from Bank A and opened new accounts in Bank B. We needed to inform New Jersey about the change so they would send the deposits to our current bank. Evelyn completed the forms needed and sent them with a voided check from Bank A along with the account number for Bank B.
Just this week she received a letter from New Jersey saying that the request could not be completed because she failed to send the documents mentioned in the previous paragraph! It does not bode well when you follow through with the requirements, only to have them lost somewhere in the vast bureaucracy (or at least that’s what it looks like) and then have them become your responsibility again. But what are you going to do? I told Evelyn that I felt like taking the forms and voided check personally to whoever is sitting at that desk in Trenton and hand-delivering them. But who’s to say they wouldn’t end up at the bottom of a never-shrinking pile of paperwork after we left? It’s this kind of incompetence that frustrates me more than anything.
Finally — I’m embarrassed even to have to tell this story — I opened an email from a group called Fight for Reform. The email carried the subject line: “Save Public Radio: K. KRAFT — Not Asking for Money.” So, OK, I believe in public radio (even though I never listen to it, another confession that embarrasses me), and it appeared that all I had to do was complete a survey. I shoulda known. The sole purpose of the survey, just like all such surveys, was to cement the idea in my head that public radio is valuable and needs to be saved. Having established that, didn’t they end the survey with an appeal for a $3.00 donation!
THEY LIED! How can they blatantly declare in the subject line that they were not asking for money, and then come right out and ask me for a donation anyway? I don’t care if it was $3.00 or $3,000.00 — they sucked me in by telling me they weren’t going to ask for money, but they did anyway. It was embarrassing because, once again, it exposed my gullibility and misplaced trust. I was so happy when I clicked the “Unsubscribe” button and they provided a box where I could explain my reason. You’d better believe it when I say I told them, all right.
Incompetence frustrates me. Dishonesty angers me. I really do try to do the best job I can when asked to do something, and I have always tried my best to be the most honest person I can be. I haven’t succeeded totally on either count, but not because competence and honesty have not been my goals. I pray that I can still strive to maintain those goals with whatever time I have left on this ol’ earth.