Please Punch Me in the Face Repeatedly

I feel like a character in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil.

Have you seen Brazil?  In the beginning, a fly splatter changes the name of a terrorist suspect from Tuttle to Buttle. The innocent Buttle is apprehended through a hole cut in his ceiling, terrorized and killed. His neighbor attempts to track down what happens, but gets tied up in bureaucratic red tape at Information Retrieval.

It’s actually quite funny.

My dilemma with the state education department is not so much.

My initial certification is set to expire in 14 days. I became aware of this by an automatic email sent Jan. 3 through my school’s business office.

My reaction: Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccck!

I had assumed (what’s the expression about assumed? Oh yes, that it makes your life a living, fucking hell) that I just would be professionally certified. I had already taken the tests, said the Pledge backwards and forwards, perfected the art of shushing.

A week after the automatic email, I received a form letter from my school informing me of my impending shitcannery unless I get my prof certz.

So I’m on this. I pretty much needed evidence that I taught kids the Dewey Decimal System for three years, and I filed that paperwork under 020 (Dewey Classification for Library and Information Sciences, boo-yah).

Here’s the rub, and it’s not the good rub that relaxes you, but the kind that causes your shoulders to hunch up–my paperwork is in the bowels of the state ed department, awaiting some clerk to rip open an envelope, stick the paperwork on top of towering stack of 10,000 other applicants, and shove it under the nose of an evaluator.


Yes, this is the year 1964 for those who may be wondering. Have you seen those new giant computers that are the size of airplane hangers. They is something! I bet in the future they get even bigger!

This envelope could be opened tomorrow.

It could also be opened three months from now, meaning I get my dandy certificate 59 days after I get fired.

This is me: Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccck!

“I thought this could be expedited,” me to certification person.

“It can’t be expedited until they get the paperwork,” certification person to me

“Can I just bring the paperwork directly to them. I will do that,” me to certification person.

“You won’t be let in the building,” certification person to me.

“So my job, my livelihood, is at the mercy of a mailroom? There is nothing I can do?” me to certification person.


I guess my next stop is Information Retrieval.


  1. I cannot bring myself to “like” your post because I do not want you to assume I “like” your stinkin’ situation. Oh, what the heck. Maybe a “like” from me will brighten your day.

    I am so sorry they are torturing you this way. Bureaucracy. It’s a beautiful system that NEVER GOES WRONG!

    1. It really makes perfect sense. One day someone will invent something that will allow paperwork to be transmitted electronically and simulatenously, but until that day we just have this mail thing.

  2. I don’t know what your face looks like, but I doubt it looks very nice black and blue. Just sayin’. Either way, I’d go all Whoopie Goldberg in Jumping Jack Flash and find a way to grab hold of someone who works in that mailroom wherever it is. Maybe the building will have a ball and you can come out with success and a handmade shredded minidress. Go rogue or go home. Or be real and find someone to hassle over the phone. I know, I am the best at giving advice, no need to thank me. Truly much luck to you! Crossing my fingers and saying some prayers and sending some good vibes your way.

  3. Oh, the red tape. You must do this before you can do this but you can’t do this until you’ve done that . . . I’m hope they’ll get this fixed, but till then I know the feeling of well fuuuuuuuuuuuuck!

    1. The best part is this fuuuuuuuuuuuuccccccck is all going down in the middle of the school day when I’m seeing class after class after class, which makes it way easier to deal with bureacrats while a kindergartener tugs at your sweater.

      1. Oh, yeah, even more fun. My mom worked as an elementary librarian, and I have no idea how she managed to see class after class. And then to have stuff dropped in your lap when you can least do something about it – no wonder she hated getting calls from her own children during the day.

  4. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucccckkk. Maybe if you put some icing sugar in there and label it with “HAZARDOUS” that will get their attention? No, that seems like terrible advice.

  5. Fuuuuuuuuuuuckkkk that sounds like a total nightmare!!

    Yeah, seriously, email? That’s stupid you have to send it the old fashioned slow as molasses way.
    Good luck good luck good luck!!!

  6. Here’s what worked for me when red tape was fucking up my life. I went to the red tape headquarters and cried. Crying works wonders. People will do anything to make it stop.

    1. At this point, crying will not be a problem. I’ve had the added bonus of my car battery deciding to conk out right now. I expect when I walk outdoors I will be immediately shitted on by a bird.

  7. Ugh, that sounds horrifying. Is there a phone number for anyone related to the mailroom people? If so, I would be calling them approximately once per hour until something happens. (Seriously, sometimes bugging people on the phone makes things happen. I’m never sure if it’s because you’re then a human being to them, because they never really noticed that it mattered what they did until you told them your butt was on the line, or because they hate talking to you on the phone and want you to stop calling, but sometimes it works.)

  8. I overheard two girls in the library saying that they didn’t understand “the weird numbering thing” for the books, and would “prefer to use Wikipedia” because “it’s, like, the encyclopedia anyway.”

  9. Ahhhhhhh. The filing room – hell on earth. Designed to make us sweat so we get the experience of being in hell. For when we actually go there. For going gangnam on the filing room staff. Because we’re fucked and we know it.

  10. I loved the movie Brazil, but I wouldn’t want to live in it.

    I think you should try to deliver the paperwork in person. Just say you’re there to install some ducts, or something.

    1. Thanks. Thursday was an improvement over Wednesday. Someone actually said “we can get your paperwork out of the mailroom” so that is a good thing. I won’t feel 100 percent until I get the certification.

  11. You see, how smoothly things run now we got compuculators, calputers… electricated abacuses… moving-picture key-boxes.
    I’m trying kcuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuufffF – in the hope it will make time go backwards and you’ll be able to get on this sooner!

  12. What is it about government and computers? I was so psyched this year when I found out NY was finally letting me do my voter registration online. Until I got a letter from my county saying my registration was rejected because it wasn’t signed. I called them and they were all “I don’t know why the state is doing that. We need an ink signature. What’s an electronic signature even mean? How would that work?”

  13. Good luck with it all – the real thing college taught me was how to work within a bureaucratic fustercluck.

    And brilliant Brazil reference – your ‘cool’ index doubled ~ which will help you get a job in 60 days.

    I say trap a clerk in compact shelving and – well, compact them….put them in 201.764

    1. Nice Dewey reference. I had some “success” yesterday. Someone realized the inanity of it all and got my paperwork out of the mailroom. Won’t breathe a sigh of relief until I have that little slip o’ paper though.

  14. Holy crap. I don’t know what type of district you are in, but when I was on the local BOE and we had these types of issues, we just passed a resolution for rehire pending certification. The BOE can do that. (At least in my state.) We, in fact, did it all the time, but the Superintendent has to initiate it.

    1. Thursday was a bit brighter so I’m hoping this will all work out. My paperwork finally made it to the right person. This, of course, doesn’t mean something horrible won’t happen because why not, right?

  15. Weebles is right. They are the ones that need to be punched in the face repeatedly. Of course, that’s why they don’t let you into the building.


    1. I think they owe me the cookie box, but thankfully the paperwork has left the mailroom as of yesterday because someone from my district actually called and said “please find her paperwork.”

    1. That really fucking sucks. I’ll be sending you all of the positive juju jazz apple-finger kardashian pants vibes I can muster up. That sounds awful, but I promise it’s a good thing. It’s pretty pathetic to think one needs to rely on luck in a situation like this… Doesn’t seem right at all. Only the best vibes going your way.

  16. I would be more worried for you, but honestly I think you could make a living coming up with a Speaker7 dictionary. “Shitcannery” would need to be one of the first entries.

    But seriously. I hope everything works out!

  17. Oh my god. Crazy. Last year I sent in my paperwork to be authorized as an Ed Tech (recertification as my old one just expired) and the same thing happened. Which is nothing happened.It’s like we’re back in the pony express days.

  18. Bureaucracy rocks, no? I work for the Man (you know, the Hope and Change one), and a friend of mine got a job in my agency last year. She just got a notice from the personnel department that her application is being considered. You know, her application for the job she’s been doing for months. I said “welcome to government.”

    Good luck. My suggestion is to be super sweet to everyone and maybe cry if being sweet doesn’t seem to be working.

  19. Whaaat. That sounds horrible!!! I hate when you’re faced with situations that are completely out of your control but they hold important factors of your life in their hands!!

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