I love independent films. I went to one last night called “The Wackness” about a drug dealer kid in NYC in 1994, who falls in love for the first time and finds himself and whatnot.
My favorite scene was when he and love interest are having a deep talk and she says, “You know what’s wrong with you? I always see the dope-ness in life and you always see the wackness.”
1994-lingo aside, it was an interesting way to describe pessimism and optimism. Readers who have been with me a while know that I like to focus on the positive and even try to be optimistic when my car is stolen, but not burned. But there are certainly times when enough “wackness” in the bureaucracy of public schools gets to you. This is one of those times, in which one must vent a little. May I present to you:
An Open Letter to “The System”
Dear Public Education System,
I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with your bureaucratic ways. I am not working in your System this summer, and yet you still plague me. As an aside, are you, “The System,” a close relative of “The Man?” Do you meet on a bi-annual basis and discuss ways to keep people down? Is there a secret password to get into this meeting, or is there some sort of top-secret retinal scan situation?
I am writing because I have been receiving endless letters highlighting your dysfunction all summer and with each one, I think, “Aha! That’s where the money for public education goes!”
First, I have been receiving letters from a school district I haven’t worked for in several years, threatening to suspend me if I don’t get my “I’m free of Tuberculosis” paperwork in. You have threatened on 3 occasions to put these letters “in my file” and suspend me. You do that, System. You suspend me from that job I left years ago. By the way, my new district only lost my TB paperwork once. Take that!
Second, I haven’t been paid for my work from April and it is now almost August. Thankfully, as a civil servant, my paycheck from February more than covers living in the Bay Area for 5 months (cough cough). Each day, I hope for that check, and today, I was so excited to see a letter with your name on it in my mailbox! Alas, it was not my wages, but rather a giant, important packet about the System’s position on Northern Ireland. I promptly returned my signature that I will indeed abide by the MacBride Principles in the event that I do business with Northern Ireland. You know, for all those cross-continent business dealings I do working in the local public school.
Third, my sick days are still inaccurate from a year ago. I really don’t know how I can take .047 sick days anyway. Could you please move the decimal point sometime this millennium? Please refer to the 47589475983473 prior communications on fixing this simple error that could ruin my life when I want to take maternity leave someday. Oh! And by the way, thanks for considering motherhood an illness.
Lastly, I want to thank you. I don’t want to be a Negative Nancy all the time, now do I? I want to thank you, The System, for improving my angry letter writing skills (the final draft of this letter will have some angry looking font, like maybe Ariel Bold Italic). I also want to thank you for the Bureaucratic OCD I have developed in documenting everything in triplicate. One thing You have taught me is that if it isn’t in writing, it didn’t happen. And finally, thanks so much for giving me a way to fill my summer vacation hours!
P.S. Someone once said to me that sarcasm is rooted in anger. What? Me? Sarcastic? Never. I love everything about public education.