Smoog's Scorecard: Life-105, Insurance-82, Smoog-0
Life is full of unexpected, and generally unwanted, surprises. Through no fault of our own, we are thrust out surprisingly from our mother's vagina and dumped, be it ceremoniously or not, into a bloody, messy, chilly world that cuts our umbilici, sticks suction tubes up our noses, smacks us around, and dumps us on a freezing cold surface that makes us pee ourselves. Life is very good at getting us prepared for it at a very early age. We just don't have very good memories about Life. We're constantly getting lulled into a false sense of security by Life as Life takes a short lunch break while we're having our first love affair or acing our first college exam or getting a clean bill of health from our annual physical. Life likes to snack a lot. But Life obviously suffers from a great many food allergies, because it seems that after every good nosh time-out, Life comes back like Great-Aunt Marjorie with the colitis, barging through the door uninvited smelling of Ben Gay and Camel Lights and giving you concussion-inducing noogies, then complaining about its bad gas and spending 5 hours in your bathroom making disturbing moaning sounds.
come hither - back off
So we invented Insurance.
Insurance is the thing that we designed so that we could be really stupid, careless, and whimsical for the vast majority of our lives without paying the consequences. Insurance is also designed so that even when we're being really intelligent and careful and Life still pukes up its woes upon us, Insurance will deal with it. After all, Life is not only like Great-Aunt Marjorie, Life is also a lot like Benny the Loan Shark. Life may believe in no down payment, no monthly payment for 5 years, but Life also believes in staggering interest. Oh sure, Life will let you take out a small loan so you can have your fun - and then Life will show up at your doorstep six months later with a baseball bat and brass knuckles demanding you sell a kidney to pay off your debt. Therefore, we decided that, instead of having to deal with huge payouts occasionally in Life, we'd settle for some minor inconvenience and deal with itty bitty payouts every day of Life. We accepted that, while it was possible that Life could well get caught up in the all-you-can-eat buffet around the corner and never actually return to kick our asses while vomiting on our shoes, if Life does eat some bad shrimp, Insurance will stand up to Life and everything will be A-OK.
That's what Insurance was meant to do.
Unfortunately, Life being what it is, Life made a backroom deal with Insurance. You see, Insurance is run by people who also have a Life. These people, knowing all too well what Life is capable of, want to make sure that Insurance keeps paying their bills and putting a roof over their head. Thing is, the best way for Insurance to do that is if Insurance takes other people's money, puts it in the pockets of the Insurance people, and then lets Life throw up on people anyway, thereby keeping said money in the pockets of Insurance people. See, Insurance people were given a bum deal. Life happens, whether we like Life or not. It happens to all of us. Sooner or later, we are all going to get spewed on by Life. Unfortunately for Insurance, this means it has to carefully ensure that those wee daily payments for Life are never outweighed by the kneecap-crushing interest charged by Life.
This means that while we think we can count on Insurance if we pay for it, Insurance has other ideas, and does in fact let Life in through a window to rob random individuals blind if it means Insurance can stay in business and keep Life from fucking it up.
Subsequently, Insurance has become rather like a beauty contest with blind narcoleptic judges. Sometimes beautiful people win Insurance. Sometimes really ugly people do. Sometimes there are no winners because the judges are too busy sleeping it off to notice there's a contest going on. You submit your application form, get a manicure and a haircut, buy a new dress, and still run the risk of getting no Insurance at all.
Insurance has also decided that, since Life keeps making Insurance pay people to meet the crazy interest Life keeps demanding of them, it will start playing around with those itty bitty payments we make every day to avoid Benny the Loan Shark. It has decided that there are some people who just seem to keep feeding Life bad seafood, pissing Life off, and guaranteeing that Life will send Guido and Nunzio to their door for a "good talking to", and that those people should be punished for it. However, Insurance uses the same blind narcoleptic judges to decide who those people are. So now Insurance is not only a lot like a beauty contest, it's also a lot like bingo. People keep buying more and more cards and more and more dabbers in the vain hope that one day, some day, the time will come when they can stand up and scream, "BINGO!" and get back all those televisions and computers and silver tea sets and rent money that Life nicked from them.
Sadly, only one person gets to yell, "BINGO!" One person, out of all those crabby dabbing people filling that smoke-filled hall of Life, will get that chance. The rest will be forced to keep buying more dabbers and more cards with what little they have left of their grocery money in the hopes that both Life and Insurance will smile kindly down upon them.
Life and Insurance have been throwing some rather disconcerting frowns in my general direction lately, I'm afraid.
For example, I have 3 cats. Therefore, I have pet insurance. Or, should I say, I had pet insurance. I made the silly mistake of allowing for monthly automated debits from my chequing account from the pet insurance people. This month, a huge amount of cash was withdrawn, double what was normally taken. I called them up. "Hey," I said, "I realize that paying for the shit Life deals a feline isn't an easy job and all, what with cats enjoying things like jumping off balconies and developing crystal condos in their urinary tracts. But, um, what the fuck?" It turns out that the pet insurance people charge not only a monthly premium for each cat, they also charge an annual fee for each cat. They just don't tell anyone about it. It's not on the website, not in their pamphlet, not in the insurance documents, not in their letters - it is a nofee. It is the Annual Fee with No Face. This pissed me off. So I cancelled my pet insurance.
I wouldn't have had to cancel my pet insurance, however, if it hadn't been for my money woes caused by another insurance company. This time it's for me. I've been off work since February, on stress leave. I worked for an Alien, after all - who wouldn't be on stress leave? Well, after months of racking up huge charges on credit, I finally passed the qualifying time for the Alien's group insurance policy's long term disability pension. So I applied in June. Then I called the first week of July. It's in process, waiting final approval. And the second. In process, waiting. And then the third. In proce- oh. Oops. On the third week, it was oh-so-suddenly discovered that the insurance company had "accidentally" failed to start my claim due to an employee's "personal problems". I told them I knew all about personal problems - if they didn't get a move-on with the insurance claim, I would have the personal problem of having to decide which one of my 3 cats I should first cook up and eat for sustenance.
Insurance has informed me that it is "expediting" my claim, but that I will still need to wait at least 10 business days to discover if Insurance thinks I'm either worthy of yelling "BINGO!" or that I haven't been adequately stressed in the past for it to qualify as a "pre-existing condition," or aren't quite bleeding enough to be considered "long-term", or don't quite waggle my eyebrows in the right way to sway my claim assessor.
I am playing Beauty Queen Insurance Bingo, my friends. I am modelling the latest in spring swimwear for the blind narcoleptic judges while putting my rent on credit. I have a rainbow selection of dabbers, reloads of ink at my side, 48 cards in front of me, and I am dabbing for my Life.
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