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Friday, August 3, 2012

I'M JUST NORMAL...REALLY

BRYCE ON OUR CHANGING WORLD

- You can save a lot of paper if you just take my word for it.

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Isn't it amazing the amount of paperwork required just to live on this planet? There are a variety of certificates you need, such as birth, wedding, and occupational. Even after you pass away, the paper mill continues to churn out death certificates on your behalf. Then there are bank statements, bills, membership information and notices from all of the institutions you belong to. Let's not forget deeds, mortgages, warranties, titles, contracts, agreements, and permits for everything from fishing and hunting to operating automobiles and machinery, not to mention firearms if you are so inclined. My insurance and medical paperwork alone probably represents a small Redwood. Then there are, of course, the countless applications you must complete for a variety of purposes.

If you go to a Doctor's office or apply for some form of insurance, you have to face a series of questions, such as:

* Have you ever had the following diseases?
* Does your family have a history of this or that?
* Are you currently on any medication for this or that?
* Have you ever had a social disease?

The list is actually more extensive than this, but you get the idea. I usually begin by telling the person, "Look this is really not necessary. I'm normal." Naturally, they do not take my word for it and proceed to grill me through the battery of questions, to which I reply, "No, No, No, No, No..."

"Oh, you really are JUST normal aren't you? We really don't get too many like you."

"Just normal?" I asked myself. What do they mean by that? Inevitably, I run into the same type of scenario when I talk with my accountant about my income tax, to which he barrages me with another line of questioning, such as:

* Do you own or rent your house?
* Do you own any real estate in Timbuktu?
* Do you have any major medical expenses?
* Do you do this or that?

Again, I reply, "No, No, No, No, No..."

"Oh, you really are JUST normal aren't you? I've never met one like you."

This can make you feel somewhat paranoid if you take it the wrong way.

When you apply for a loan, the mortgage people ask you enough questions to make "War and Peace" seem like "CliffsNotes":

* Are you married?
* Have you ever been divorced?
* Do you have any outstanding debt?
* Do you have any dependants?
* How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

Again, I reply, "No, No, No, No, No..., ah, 1557?"

"Oh, you really are JUST normal aren't you? Hmm, interesting."

It's easy to understand why I get annoyed with such interrogations. I don't think Casey Anthony or George Zimmerman had to answer such a battery of questions. We could save considerable time for all parties involved if they just took my word that I was "normal." Instead, it seems like a witch hunt to prove that I am somehow "abnormal" thereby justifying the reams of paper they expend to document me.

Even if you don't write a single letter or postcard in your lifetime, the amount of paperwork you incur is overwhelming, not to mention unnecessary. So, instead of wasting reams of paper let's begin by simply talking on the level. As for me, I'm "just normal," if that means anything to you.

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.