There Oughta Be a Law!

July 13th, 2015 by elaine

You know what they say about old people – they remember things from their way gone past and don’t remember what they had for breakfast.  So, last week I wrote about “Let me Count the Ways” echoing in my head, and today the title of this piece.

What I had for breakfast this morning!  Some orange slices,  a share of a fresh kiwi, toast slices from my home-made baguette, jam (bought, no more homemade left, not a bit!), and freshly ground black coffee, our favourite Honduras mi-noir.

Sooo I remembered that phrase, “There oughta be a law”, just like that, and it rang as a sardonic joke.  Couldn’t remember who said it or if it was just one of those things that went around.  I googled it, and that’s the way it came up almost instantly.  Indeed, there was a cartoon series bearing that name when I was growing up.  AND a contemporary cartoonist borrowed it (it’s probably out of copyright), just like me, for a one-off cartoon.  I love it! Have a look:  http://nealo.com/2004/11/26/there-oughta-be-a-law-nov-26-2004/

The thing is, it was a joke, a familiar irony, a commentary on how exasperating people can be, or our expectations, or our governments — whatever!   It could make you smile or nod your head, or perhaps even chuckle.  But now…be careful when you say it, it might actually happen! If it hasn’t already.

The story I mentioned recently about a woman running into a store, leaving two kids in the car for about 4 minutes and getting arrested,  charged with child abuse, carted off to jail, her kids crying while waiting for Grandma to come and rescue them. Then the social services having to determine if she is a fit mother….and that’s how the story unfolds.  And do you know why?  Because there is a law on the books in that community against leaving kids in cars.  I don’t know how the law is phrased, but I know this:  if the law is there, it is the duty of the police to uphold it.  And the police are not authorized to play judge, to be thoughtful, to judge the person’s character, the situation, none of that..

This sort of thing is happening in every area of our lives, blatantly and subtly as well.  Everyone who passes through an airport, regardless of age, is treated as a potential terrorist. Even that little babe-in-arms I saw whose tiny shoes were  ordered to be removed. We take that for granted now – we figure it is the price we pay for our safe passage, for our security.   But listen, the wave is spreading, the corporations have sneaked into the “security” business.  You do want your banking privacy secure, don’t you?  You do want your credit card  platform secure don’t you?  You don’t mind a little inconvenience, do you?  Layers of passwords, personal test questions, being treated like a potential fraudster, do you mind?

I do!  I resent it.   Because we are never given any credit for being, never mind a decent human being, how about an old and faithful customer?

Here’s a touching story.  To celebrate his father’s birthday a son buys his parents tickets to a show he is sure they will enjoy.  He purchases the tickets online using his credit card.  He lives in another city.  He emails his parents a copy of his order and all the relevant information, but no tickets.  They will be at the box office the night of the show.

It turns out that parents can pick them up with appropriate i.d. and the credit card of the purchaser.  Papa makes a phone call to box office defining the situation.  He is told to get his son to send us the tickets.   Everything will be fine.

Son doesn’t have the tickets.  They are waiting for him at the box office in the city where he will not be.  He re-sends the order thinking the tickets will somehow surface.  Mama studies the internet box office and sees the stern requirements, and also notes that the tickets are neither cancelable nor refundable.  (There goes “Keep your g.d. tickets!)” Mama finds an email address and emails infor@…..very politely explaining the situation.  Gets a very polite email in return saying:

Your tickets will be at the box office under the name of your son. To pick up the tickets, you will need a procuration from him, saying that he authorize you to pick up the tickets,  and a copy of the credit card that was used for the purchase.

Papa says, “Let me handle this.”  Mama says nothing.  Papa writes a letter explaining his age, who he thinks he is, who he thinks his son is, and who he thinks his wife is.  He also says, “I am not a fraudster.

He gets no answer.  Mama drops a hint about all this to the son, who quickly, in spite of being very busy emails the writer of the above saying he authorizes his parents whom he names to pick up the tickets and he actually, recklessly, includes a photo of the credit card in question.

A different person responds with a most cheerful email addressed to the whole family.  He has received the son’s “procuration” etc. and everything is just fine and will be in ma and pa’s file when they arrive to claim the tickets.  He cheerfully adds:

Thank you for cooperation, we know it might appear to be a lot to ask to some people but law enforcement of (referring to the POLICE of his city) often salute our way to repress possible fraud by asking these critical information to all third party customer.

Mama is not pleased:  She writes back:

You are too kind!  Please, just to keep matters straight and above board,…. , do not believe for one moment that my husband and I believe the (POLICE ) really care about us being able to defraud you, we know it is the credit card companies who worry about this sort of thing.

… …So, frankly, you people have taken away all the joy of this lovely birthday gift. This is yet another example of outrageous corporate behaviour and ludicrous excuses about the POLICE STATE, when of course, it is the CREDIT CARD COMPANIES’ exploitation of the “security” issue.

Why do they worry about little folks when international hackers know how to strike gold and do it every day?

There oughta be a law to protect us from lies, double-talk, and  the erosion of our dignity.  There oughta be something like, say, a Bill of Human Rights.

There is?  Already?

©Elaine A. Zimbel 2015

Posted in Eighty and then some..., Letters to the corporation, Uncategorized


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