So it's come to this now: a person identified as a service manager at the local Infiniti dealership left a message on my machine last week berating me for neglecting my poor little car, which is now more than four thousand miles overdue for service. Yes, "neglect" is the word. You don't want to hear the word I said when I heard this, though it was quite a bit shorter.

There are several things wrong with this approach. The first is obvious: how the hell do they know how many miles I have on the car? They can extrapolate from the available data, perhaps, but they can't come any closer than that: the vehicle is twelve years old and has no way to communicate with the Borg cube. In point of fact, the car is barely four hundred miles overdue for service, and that's on the strictest possible service schedule; were I to follow Nissan's "normal-service" schedule, which calls for an oil change every 7500 miles, I would have more than two thousand miles to go yet. (Yes, I've looked at the oil; it's a nice honey color and it reaches to the top of the stick.) The only other services at 135k are tire rotation, which I get free from the tire shop, and changing of the cabin air filter, which is at once ridiculously expensive and scarcely describable as "essential."

More serious, though, is the idea that someone has been officially designated to shame me. Now Nissan has no reason to care what I think, so long as they think there's a chance they can sell me another car when this one's exhausted its last. Similarly, CFI Care [not its real initials] isn't expending all that effort trying to get me to sign up for this program or that class because they think I'm a cool dude; they think it will save them a few dollars down the road. Even my doctor's insurance is starting to stick its nose under the tent: apparently they're pestering him to remind his patients about the joys of colonoscopy. Such "joys," of course, are few and far between:

"In difficult economic times, people are more likely to forgo necessary medical services if there are high out-of-pocket costs," said study author Dr. Spencer Dorn, an assistant professor of medicine in the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. And "colonoscopy is never the most popular service to begin with."

Said I, up front: "It is very difficult for me to see the urgency of peeling off three thousand dollars' worth of deductible for a procedure that conveniently is priced right around four thousand." The doctor, seeing that this was going nowhere, changed the subject; I got the feeling that he was irked at the instructions he was given.

In general, though, I can be counted on to resent anything anyone tells me that supposedly is for My Own Good. I'm no fool: the only person whose actual job it is to look after my interests 24/7 is the same guy who looks back at me out of the mirror and reminds me that I'm out of Windex. My parents have been gone many years now, and if the actuaries have rolled the dice correctly, it won't be that many years before I'm just as gone. Had I been completely incompetent at managing my own affairs, I'd probably have checked out of this life a long time ago. And while I'd be the first to admit that my handling of said affairs has been something less than optimum, I submit that it's been at least sufficient: I obviously don't have everything (or everyone, which is another matter) I want, and history is likely to pay me only the perfunctory compliment of oblivion, but I have no reason to think I'm entitled to anything more than what I have.

Then I reflect on the idea that God is just, which gives me hope for the far future. Undoubtedly I will have to pay for my own sins; however, I will be comforted by the thought of Nanny Bloomberg and the rest of the Food Police spending the next several millennia up to their nostrils in a vat of boiling high-fructose corn syrup, and I do hope they remember that the stuff contains no trans fats.

The Vent

  25 March 2012

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