Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Super-Powerist Presumption: A Guide for the Oppressed Part 1

I state for the record that I was born without Super-Powers, nor have any developed in me over the course of my life up to this time. Unlike the majority of other people gifted with Super-Powers, I am among the ungifted Super-Powerless, a minority tyrannized by the majority who live their lives naturalized and socialized with their Super-Powers, presuming that the Super-Powerless few also possess Super-Powers. Super-Powerist presumption is a feature of everyday life, compounding the struggles of the ungifted.

At my birth, my parents were informed that I was “healthy and normal.”

“Normal?” my mother asked. “This includes telekinesis, right?”

“Unfortunately, there were no indications of telekinetic ability following delivery. But, there may be developmental delay.”

“So, you’re saying that our baby may be developmentally challenged?” my father exclaimed.

“There’s no need to panic,” the obstetrician explained. “Odds are high that abilities like telekinesis may appear within the first two years. But, bear in mind, even children who never develop such abilities can lead productive, satisfying lives. Acceptance is crucial.”

My parents took this message of acceptance seriously. Although I failed to develop any Super-Powers, they raised me in an environment of loving acceptance, telling me frequently that with strength and determination I could set my sights on any goal and achieve whatever I wanted in life. Despite my supportive home environment, the world at large has, in fact, treated me differently—as a person assumed to have Super-Powers and scorned whenever I prove to be a different sort of person. I believe that someday, perhaps in a future time I will never live to see, the Super-Powerless will be treated with respect and seen as full-fledged human beings who so happen to exist without Super-Powers. Until this time, I hope to provide a personal and practical guide for the Super-Powerless that will enable them to cope with Super-Powerism in our society.

1: Driving

A person without Super-Powers is at a distinct disadvantage when driving. Whenever I am driving, there will invariably come a moment when there is a car in front of my car driving slowly. In response, I will slow down, patiently creeping behind the slower driver (usually elderly people who may lack confidence in their driving skills or younger drivers whose attention has been drawn into cell phone conversations). In any case, because I lack the ability to either a) telekinetically transport my car over the slower car or b) dematerialize and drive through the slower car, rematerializing in front of it, I am forced to crawl along at a reduced speed.

However, the car behind me will invariably tailgate, presuming that I have Super-Powers of either a) or b) types. The tailgating, sometimes accompanied by headlight flashing, honking and verbal abuse, will persist, sometimes despite my best efforts to indicate that there is a slower driver ahead of me by shifting slightly to the right in the lane so that the Super-Powered driver behind can get a view of the car. This rarely works, given the persistence of Super-Power presumption.

In cases like these, I advise the Super-Powerless “normal” person (yes—let’s take back that term), to pull over quickly. More than this, you must offer a friendly wave of acknowledgment, so that the driver behind you knows that you have pulled over on his or her behalf such that they may exercise their Super-Powers. It is critical, in my opinion, that we, the Super-Powerless, distinguish and distance ourselves as citizens who are not those among the Super-Powered that deliberately attempt to hold up others in the exercise of their Super-Powers. I say, let the Super-Powered battle it out among themselves, while we, the Super-Powerless, distinguish ourselves as a minority that understands who we are with pride and work cooperatively alongside the Super-Powered without pretending to be other than who we are.

Trade Imminent Fear for Present One!

Scared of complicated flow charts depicting the bureaucratic nightmare that will ensue if the U.S. government goes forward with Health Care Reform?

Why fear impending bureaucratic nightmares, when you can fear them right now?

Scary complicated flow chart of what we have now (if you happen to have health insurance at all):

Have a nice day!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Gangsta’ Moves for the Otherwise Cowardly: Vol. 1, Issue 2

Wrong Number Threat

1. Dial phone number late at night (past midnight is best).

2. When you hear unfamiliar voice answer, ask “Who is it?”

3. When person who answered the phone asks, “Who are you trying to reach?” DEMAND, “Who is this!?!?”

4. When person who answered the phone asks once again, “Who are you trying to reach?” DEMAND again, “Who the fuck is this!?!?!”

5. When person who answered the phone asks once again, “Who are you trying to reach?” yell at this person “Don’t fuck with me! Who the fuck do you think you are!!??!! I’ll come over there and fuck you up—

6. Hear dial tone, as person has hung up on you.


1. A week and a half later, dial phone number, and hear unfamiliar-though-now-familiar person answer phone. Pretend that you didn’t threaten this person and say, “I think I got the wrong number,” then hang up.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Why We Cannot Have Nice Things # 6,892,564

A Denver power company plans to charge Solar Energy customers fees for not using electricity. Although the company will absorb the fee presently, they want to impose the fee so that in the future solar energy customers will not get a "free ride." Story

Now, maybe, after the public hearing on August 5th, this won't happen. I don't really care. The problem I'm having here is people thinking this way. Installing solar panels is not cheap. It takes incentives for consumers to make the move. Of course, "the move" threatens power companies. Of course. So, eroding the incentives is the "answer."

Every summer for the past three years, I endure a little drama with my power company. This happens because I am lucky enough to be able to minimize my gas usage to zero starting in the late spring. Like clockwork at this point, I receive a notice from the power company that I will be shut off entirely for non-usage, although I am charged a (small) fee for remaining hooked-up. I call and explain the situation, receive another letter the next month, call again, and so on, until the fall. My attempt to fastidiously conserve energy is too anomalous and gets caught by the computer system, even though it's been happening for three years now. I resent having to pay even the fee, but the charges for disconnecting and then reconnecting make it "better" to pay the fee. I have no real problem making the phone calls to the power company, but each time I do so, I'm reminded once again just how the system is rigged against serious conservation. Each bill I receive comes padded with flyers with "Energy Saving Tips" of various kinds for every season of the year, although, as my experience has shown me, actually implementing such "tips" is the very last thing the power company expects. Really implementing them trips their computer system into finding that one has ceased being a customer at all.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pharmaceutical Company verses Health Insurance Provider (Predator verses Alien)

Patient X was diagnosed with serious medical condition for which X’s doctor prescribed the most effective, safe medication. The medication, however, is unavailable in generic form and is expensive. Patient X’s insurance company denied coverage for the medication—not because the medication is “off-use” for the medical condition. In fact, the medication is among the only medications specifically for this condition. The insurance company denied coverage because other significantly less expensive medications also can be used to treat the condition, although the side effects of all the less expensive medications are worse in kind and *more dangerous* than any of those associated with the expensive medication. The patient’s insurance company indicates in their letter of denial that a formal appeal would have to be the next step.

Patient X figures that the appeal process is worth the effort. The worst thing that can happen is that the appeal is denied. The patient is already paying out of pocket for the superior medication, given the fantastic change in quality of life it has effected, and has completely given up eating out at restaurants to cover the cost, and plans to cancel cable TV and switch to Hulu when the time comes. The patient has never, until now, had a serious medical condition, and is pretty pissed-off that the insurance company had decided that more dangerous medications are better, despite the doctor’s insistence that they are not. It would be more fun, the patient finds, to appeal on principle. After paying five-figures to the insurance company over the years, it would seem they could handle a little extra paperwork coming their way. So much of that money paid to them affords the administrative salaries. Why not send them a little work?

The appeal process requires a doctor’s letter regarding the denied prescription. This is easy enough to get. But Patient X realizes that the Insurance company has not been impressed with all the test results and physician’s recommendation for treatment that were already sent with the initial request for coverage. Exactly what might improve this situation for an appeal?

Patient X decides to call the pharmaceutical company that produces the medication. X explains the situation, which is quite common, as it turns out, but representatives on the lower end are not sure what to do. Patient X freely (and sincerely) expresses the fact that their medication is fantastic, and that the insurance company is clearly denying coverage on account of expense and not the best interest of the patient. “What do you have about your medication—what data do you have? Surely, you must have evidence about its effectiveness that my doctor can use to draft the letter of appeal?” This question hits a homerun. X is passed along to a manager, and then passed along to the medical information team.

A member of the medical information team is more than happy to assist Patient X. It does not seem that the team gets enlisted in a crusade against an insurance company too often. They are unprepared for the request from a consumer for hard data, but after a bit of discussion clarifying the sort of data that would be helpful for this battle, a case file is created for Patient X, the direct line to the medical team member is provided, and X is told that the doctor can call to receive the available data the pharmaceutical company has. The medical information team promises to do whatever they can to win the appeal.

Patient X believes that it is best, all things considered, to let the Pharmaceutical Company and the Health Insurance company duke it out.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Gangsta’ Moves for the Otherwise Cowardly: Vol. 1, Issue 1

The Turning Lane Cut-Off Five Exceptionally Easy Steps

1. Notice several cars stopped at traffic signal.

2. Notice that there is an unoccupied turning lane adjacent to the lane with waiting cars.

3. Increase speed, driving to the front of turning lane (speed ensures that no other cars with drivers intending to use the turning lane for a left turn will occupy the spot).

4. While waiting for the green light, edge out slightly in front of car waiting beside yours in order to assert dominance and, perhaps, give a bit of a warning to the driver beside you.

5. When light turns green, immediately gun engine and speed up, cutting ahead of all other drivers who were waiting for the light to change.

That will show them. You also may do this "for the lulz."


1. If you happen to catch any responses from the drivers that you’ve cut off, including but not limited to honking, flashing headlights, tailgating and invectives: you may proceed to do any of the following: a) Slow down to a crawl so as to punish them for insubordination, b) speed up so as to reassert your dominance, c) speed up so as to reassert your dominance, flipping them the bird or d) do absolutely nothing, as though you've done absolutely nothing, in order to mess with their heads.

2. Turn up car stereo to maximum volume, if volume is not already maxed-out.

3. Talk and/or text on cell phone throughout steps 1 through 5.