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An impossible request

The company where I selflessly dedicated 32 years of my working life rewarded me with a paltry pension when they threw me, too early, on the scrapheap of redundancy (to be fair, I did ask them to). Every so often they get in touch and ask me to confirm I am still alive, and such a request arrived on Boxing Day.

It was reasonable enough; in fact so reasonable as to be meaningless. I had to sign a piece of paper, have it witnessed by absolutely anyone that wasn’t a relative, and then send it back in the stamp-free envelope provided. Easy, except the return date was on or before 17th December. Failure to comply was cessation of pension.

Given that their letter was dated mid-November, something had gone rather wrong. I sent them an email, suggesting they don’t send their mail by boat, and predicting a Daily Mail headline about stressed oil company pensioners fearing for their pensions following an impossible request. I demanded a response by a date two days prior to my mail.

It was one of my better efforts I feel; but it is as nothing compared to the missive sent by fellow ex-employee and the man who got me started in this blogging business, now Jakarta resident, Billy the Brush. I reproduce his mail below, with no permission at all having been sought:

Dear XXXXXX,
Thank you for your letter dated 15th November 2017 together with an unfranked, self-addressed envelope received here in Jakarta only yesterday, 21st December 2017. I might say that, given the company’s recent excellent quarterly results, I was somewhat surprised to find myself having to fund your postage.
Sadly, and for reasons I am sure you will understand, I am unable to comply with your request to have the form you enclosed completed, witnessed and returned to you no later than 15th December 2017. That said, I can report having gone about the task you have given me with some gusto, having already completed the form and indeed got it witnessed and signed by my excellent houseboy, Samsul. Please note that Samsul, in common with many Indonesians, is possessed of but a single name.

I can confirm that Samsul and I have no ties of blood or family though I believe I can confide in you that he speaks no English and would sign anything if I gave him 50,000 Rupiah (approx. 3 pounds sterling). Fear not however, as I confirm that I am in good health and still alive – a confirmation which is doubtless behind your request, and indeed your threat to suspend my pension payments if there is “failure to return this certificate.” Knowing the company as I do, I rate that this latter as diminishingly small however I can confirm that would be a most unwise step unless you actually enjoy social media crucifixion 😊
I can confirm that, hopefully, Samsul will be delivering the completed form to the “Kantor Pos” later today after he has performed his many household duties. As to when it will arrive with you in the Centre is something rather more difficult to predict due to the vagaries of the Indonesian Postal system, possibly compounded by my considering the costs of registered post or DHL beyond my means due to the outrageous bank charges I must pay every time you send me my pension entitlement.
Trust all otherwise well in the Centre!

Merry Xmas and kind regards,

Quite excellent, I wish the old boy maintained his blog of loveliness rather than playing golf all fucking day.

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. I blame naming conventions myself.

    Stay with me on this.

    Companies, that is to say, incorporated business entities, were originally created so that it would be possible to assign legal rights and obligations to the business, instead of inferring them upon a single individual in what could be an organisation of hundreds or thousands of people. Then some bright spark with too much time on their hands discovered that “incorporated” is derived from “incorporeal”, which means “not corporeal : having no material body or form”. Clearly they then concluded that an incorporated entity has no fucking brain cells. At least: that’s how they seem to act.

  2. Billy the Brush hasn’t appeared in these pages for many years, glad he’s still about.
    Pleased also to see that he retains a delightfully orotund turn of phrase.
    His failure to take anything remotely seriously is bound to ensure that he lives forever!

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