The Tenor of Life in a Crumbling Nation/Society

If I don’t do something - like write this down - I may explode. American incompetence reigns everywhere.

My wife was diagnosed with a bad cancer last week. We have had appointments for procedures 4 out of 5 days this week. Today, I am with her at the outpatient surgery for placement of a vascular port into which chemotherapy will be given over a period of many months.

Now, since she has procedures scheduled tomorrow and Friday, we were told to expect phone calls to confirm them and to tell us important details and instructions. Yesterday, before we left for the hospital, I went online to and forwarded our landline to my cell phone. That way, we managed to not miss the call with instructions for today’s procedure. Should be easy to do again, no?

NO! Today I cannot even load, any which way. Each time I try, I do not get the landing page, but, rather, “We’re sorry, but we’re unable to process your request at this time”. Having tried this about 25 times now, I can report that once in a while I do actually reach the login page, which allows me to get to various places before telling me my entries don’t match their records. I actually did just manage to reach the page which allows me to initiate call forwarding and put in the instructions. Then, I get “Sorry, an error has occurred” and now, again I cannot even reach the website. Try support?? No go. You must login first!! Before you can even chat with an artificial idiot.

Hardly a day goes by without at least one such event - usually more than one. Most of the time, it is only an inconvenience. Not today. In the 40 seconds or so I did have access to the website, I was able to ascertain we had - as I predicted - missed a call from the hospital. We called the number and, of course, got the main trunk.

BTW, this is a company which “gave” me a loyalty discount of $10/month about 8 months ago. 4 months later, the bill jumped up by $5 per month. I called to complain & reached a human after an inordinate wait. She very politely lied to me and said the new rate would be reversed. It never was. She also promised a refund for the two months of higher charges. Never happened either. Something is very wrong. Any day now - even if the scores, hundreds, thousands of Iran (or other)-based terrorists don’t perpetrate Hamas-style mass murder throughout the country - the bottom is going to fall out. The whole thing is hanging by a thread.

Despite such unfortunate, preventable (by competent government) realities, I am able to keep my focus close to home where it is needed. Failures like verizon’s (sic) are commonplace and at times, like here, beyond merely inconvenient.


Sorry to learn about your wife’s diagnosis. Best wishes for successful treatment.

As a contribution to your growing stack of all that is going wrong in our DIE-infested AI-ruled world – it is not just Verizon. I have gone through a long spell of stupidity with AT&T.

I have used AT&T for long-distance landline calls for many years. (Sound quality is just so much better than a cell phone). And for all those years, the local phone company sent a monthly bill which included the charges from AT&T. Then AT&T abandoned that agreement with the local phone company without advising their customers, and began to send their own bill separately. Except they sent my bills to an old address, which the US Mail properly returned to them. Next AT&T cut off my service for non-payment. Apparently, it never occurred to anyone at AT&T to call me about the non-payment – they know my phone number, after all. AT&T don’t even have an automatic system to give their customers a call when their bill is x days overdue.

Oh well! Eventually, a highly competent gentleman at AT&T’s call center in the Philippines resolved the issue. Maybe AT&T should move their entire management group to the Philippines to learn how business ought to be done? And start paying them Philippine-level salaries too!


Ironically, I had a post in draft mode that started a typical event that is an example of the almost ubiquitous incompetence in the US.

Today I had what is becoming a very common occurrence. I called the company that provides electrical service and spoke to customer service. I have a question about the rate I am charged for electricity. The customer service person didn’t know what I was talking about when I referred to rate. I tried to explain. On my bill it shows the number of kilowatt hours I use and the cost per kilowatt hour. I have a question on the cost per kilowatt hour. After trying to phrase the question differently a couple of times, she said she would forward me to another department. The call was dropped.

A customer service person working at an electrical utility knows less about electricity billing than what I would expect from an ordinary homeowner.

I noticed incompetence accelerating about 5 years ago. I don’t think it has to do will skill so much as attitude and lack of pride. But I don’t know.


I remember in Anthro 101 studying about some backward, reclusive tribe in the Amazon, hidden away in the bush. They didn’t know how to make fire. But the thing is, they HAD known how, and….they forgot.

I used to use call forwarding all the time when I was in solo practice, before cell phones. I’d send my office calls home. As I recall, it was a simple infallible matter of entering my home number and then some other simple code: #45 or sump’n like that. It always worked. When and why did they memory-hole that technology?

When and how could we “forget” how to make dental floss boxes where the part with the little cutoff blade does not collapse into box? (I dky, but that’s emblematic for me.)
My BMD just bought a new Ford Expedition. He wanted some small adjustment to enable it to tow a large trailer. The dealer we bought it from didn’t know how. We drove 45minutes to another dealer who was supposed to be the go-to guy—and HE confessed HE didn’t know how. The fact is, NOBODY known how to fix these new cars. “it’s all electronic now”, they’ll explain, dismissively waving a hand which has never had grease under the fingernails.

I had a Sears Kenmore sewing machine my parents gave me, back in the days when I used to do a lot of sewing. We gave it to one of my BMD’s patients decades go,and I’ll bet it’s still working, wherever it is. Recently, we needed one again. A succession of them kept breaking down. Needles broke. The bobbins are PLASTIC fuggod’s sake! Another example of how a machine that is supposed to be—and formerly WAS—ah efficient servant, making life easier, has morphed into a delicate invalid that has to be coaxed and coddled into performing—briefly.
Seems like all these new high-tech machines do is spy on us so they can report what we’ll wanna buy next. Thats the benign explanation; the other is, of course, so they can report which ones of us might be a threat to the new World Order.