This Is Embarrassing and Not Funny
I had to drink 200 grams of brandy to calm down. I discovered yesterday that at some point during my four-flight journey to southern Europe, I had lost my U.S. Passport. Between my four boarding cards, the bag-tag I had to present when my luggage was lost, and all of the COVID paperwork, I probably left my passport at some airport counter somewhere. F me.
The fact that I lost my damn passport is both concerning and frustrating, but that’s not what had me sucking down 45% ABV liquor mid-afternoon. No. There is something else that really bothers me:
In the 1990s and 2000s, every time I traveled abroad, I’d gain new respect for the U.S. Even the Western European countries didn’t have their act together. Employees taking 2 month vacations, rampant inefficiency, terrible customer service….. an all-around inability to get even simple shit done. Let’s not even talk about other parts of the world (that shall remain nameless) where you can’t get a chicken sandwich in less than 90 minutes and/or every good or service exchange features a mandatory 15-minute haggling session.
Now though, in 2021, the tables have turned. All of the local agencies and government personnel have been nothing but responsive, polite and helpful. From the cops to the airport authority to the border control folks. In contrast, our State Department is shitting the bed in grandiose style. Despite the Federal Government (regardless of administration) exercising about as much financial discipline as Floyd Mayweather at a nudie bar, our embassies are acting like they’re operating on a shoestring budget. When I call, I can’t get to a live human. Even the emergency services number which states that it is designed for the purposes of reporting death, serious injury, kidnapping or stolen passports, takes you to an IVR robot that fucks with you for about 5 minutes until ultimately telling you to the go to the website or send an email. Website!!!? Email!!? You want some dude who has just been stabbed outside a bar in Zagreb to peruse your bureaucratic site for instructions. You want him to write you a nice email? Are y’all fucking kidding me?
If this were 1887, I could yell at some Oliver Twist-looking kid to run to the embassy and tell the Ambassador that an American needs help. Surely a search party would run out and find me within 45 minutes. Now though, the website explicitly tells you to make an appointment. When you click on the calendar though, lo and behold, the embassy isn’t taking appointments at any point this year. A bit of a Catch-22, no?
Thus, we default to Mr. Jamoke’s favorite form of communication – email. Nowadays even the 23-year-old grunts at chickenshit companies feel they’re too important to read and respond to emails, yet my hopes of one day returning home rest on the shoulders of a career government bureaucrat stationed abroad? Golly I’m screwed. I’d be willing to bet a handsome sum that the ambassador had more brandy in his system upon concluding his Monday lunch than I did – and that’s while “working”.
The country as a whole is out to lunch these days. My last, virtual company happy hour featured a cross-dressing employee dressed as a stripper dancing on camera to some crappy pop music. No joke. Listen, more power to Starlight or whatever his/her/them’s alias was but this is presumably a place of business. Side note: I suspect that if I (as a regular, straight dude) show up to my next virtual happy hour wearing nothing but a leopard-print speedo and start thrusting my johnson at the camera, people won’t be nearly as supportive.
Our youth are a bunch of narcissistic morons who fall into a depression if one of their 25 daily selfies gets less than a hundred likes. The most popular show amongst females in 2021 is a straight up porno. The most popular drink in America is a rebrand of Zima. Hell, we can’t even report the news anymore. “Talk show host SLAMS Congressman XXXX on twitter”…. What!? What am I, an 8th grade girl keen for gossip and drama? I don’t give a shit if Sarah talked smack about Jane on the internet? I’m looking for Notable Events Weather and Sports (NEWS) – with an emphasis on the “N”, you fucking clowns.
If none of you all see me by September, please dispatch a distressed man in a top-hat to the embassy on horseback. Either that or write a message in a bottle and throw it in the Atlantic: “If anybody sees a jamoke, please return him to America.” If possible, use an empty bottle of brandy, the Ambassador will surely find that one.