Posted by: wrmcnutt | October 6, 2009

On Being the Pencilneck

Have you seen The Incredibles?

If you haven’t, and don’t feel like slogging through everything at the link, it’s an animated feature film starring a family of super-heroes.  The central character, Mr. Incredible, is facing a midlife crisis.  Realizing that your youth is gone and you’re more than halfway done is hard enough for anybody.   He’s trying to live as an insurance adjuster in a tiny cubicle, after having been a hero adored by millions.

His boss, Gilbert Huph, is portrayed as a pencil-neck bureaucrat who is either evil, or has such scrambled priorities  as to appear evil.  When we meet the boss, Mr Huph occupies a sterile office, each item carefully placed for maximum efficiency.  Bob is summoned because his behavior of carefully shepherding clients through the morass of paperwork is causing Insuracare to have to pay out an excessive number of claims.  Mr. Huph’s allegiance to the stockholders of Insuracare is portrayed as inhumane, greedy, and just all-around evil.  We’re meant to dislike Mr. Muph, and when Bob’s frustration at his life of quiet desperation boils over and he less-than-heroically punches Mr. Huph through about five walls, there’s a cathartic release for all of us. I can really sympathize, as I am currently trying to juggle my father’s medical bills and am caught in a fight between St. Mary’s Hospital, which wants to be paid, and Medicare, which doesn’t want to pay.

The thing is, Insuracare’s stockholders are just as likely to be little old ladies on a fixed income as Insuracare’s clients are.  What do you think that companies do with retirement funds?  Bury them in mason jars?  No – they’re invested in publicly held companies, municipal bonds, oil companies, and other financial instruments just like any other money.  That’s another side to business, and I find myself in the role of Mr. Muph.

My father has invested the lion’s share of his life’s savings in two buildings which are divided into three rental units.  Each of these are private dwellings, not commercial space.  And as of today, two of the three tenants have not paid their rent.  I know that times are hard.  I know that it’s hard to find work.  But Dad’s rents are not going to pay the mortgage on a beach house in the Hamptons, nor are they paying for the environmental controls for his Monet and Renior collections.  They are paying his taxes, his power bill, and putting food on his table.  And it is my task to be Mr. Muph, and protect the stockholder’s interests.  In this case, my Dad.

My current problem is that one of his renters took it upon himself to bypass me, go to the hospital, and sell Dad a Harry Hardluck story and get an extension on his rent.  How low a human being do you have to be to go to the sickbed of a helpless old man, trying to recover at the same time from a stroke, lung surgery, and orthopedic surgery and talk him into letting you stay three weeks rent free?  I mean, my God.  What a scumbag.

Honestly – pay one’s rent.  It should come right after food in one’s budget.  Food – Shelter -Power – Phone.  If one has any gas in one’s car, one should have already paid one’s rent.  If there is any beer in the house, one should have already paid one’s rent.  And if there is a single damn cigarette in the house,one should have already paid one’s rent.  And I don’t care how hard times are, nobody has ANY business going to the sickbed of someone who’s trying not to DIE and is eyeballs deep in pain-killers, and selling them a hard-luck story.  It’s just despicable.

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  1. The depths of human depravity never cease to amaze me.
    Like Brother Mad Dog says, there is a special place in Hell where you have to smoke your Karmic share of dog shit before moving on to your ‘final reward’. It is at times like this that his theories of the after life give me comfort that eventually, we all get what we deserve.

  2. I believe I would contact said visitor, tell him you have Power of Attorney (whether it is true or not) and that you are acting on behalf of your dad who, since he is under the influence of painkillers was in no way capable of making financial decisions, and that the rent is due NOW. End of subject.

    Also, make sure the nursing staff knows your Dad is to have no visitors other than family and those specified by you from now on.

    Nobody EXPECTS people to sink that low, but now that you know, you can stop it, and even reverse it. (Snarrrrrllll!)

    Hugs to you –


  3. I am STUNNED that the hospital staff let this guy through!!!!!
    elderly, stressed immune systems should NOT be receiving random visitors! Only family approved folks should even be allowed!

    And yes, it was sick of this guy even consider going to your dad like that. good heavens.

  4. Thanks for the sympathy. And I’m seriously considering it. But Dad thinks this guy is his friend and would be pissed off to no end if I were to block his access to visit him.

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