Friday, June 18, 2004

I really don't like people sometimes. And its not the ones I deal with. Its the ones that people have dealt with before they get to me! I have a client who was an inmate at one of the fine correctional facilities in my state. He suddenly began suffering severe headaches for which they gave him Tylenol. He was sent back to the population 3 or 4 days in a row. On the 5th day or so, he was scheduled for a parole hearing. The parole board took one look at him and made the prison transport him to a hospital. He had suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage and eventually a stroke. It happens. But when they eventually released him from prison, he was transported to our city, 2 hours away from his hometown, with no money, no transporation, no home, no job, no nothing. So, they want him to stay out of jail?? Ridiculous. Plus, he's disabled. The hemorrhage damaged his short and long term memory. He can no longer remember how to read or write. There are certain words that he simply cannot say or cannot remember. He also interjects the word "motherfucker" in every other sentence. When he becomes agitated it is more pronounced. Its not loud, more of a low mumble, but its there. He apologizes the first time he meets someone because he cannot control it. Finally I was able to irritate enough people to get him some benefits and his parole officer got him transferred so he could live with his sister. I just want to know how our great state thought this guy was going to make it? He admitted that he would steal before he went hungry, he would run drugs again, before he went hungry. One side of his body is paralyzed. What the fuck was our great state thinking? I also had a guy call me about Social Security benefits. He had questions. They all have questions. These particular questions were not in my area of "expertise" but I looked them up anyway and tried my best to explain the government fucocktomy (thanks A.Z. for the contraction) of Social Security. This particular question revolved around offsets due to permanent disability Workers Compensation benefits. This gentlemen received a small annuity payment from a Workers Comp injury. Yes, it would offset his SSDI. They called back three times with more questions and to update me on their case. They are not my clients. They are just people. The wife calls back today to tell me that SS said the annuity would not offset SSDI because it was a commerical annuity purchased by the coal company. Why didn't they say so to start with? No, it does not offset SSDI. She called to confirm this with me because she did not trust SS. People whine to me all the time about Social Security, Human Services and Workers Comp...news flash..they don't care!!! Yes, they are supposed to but mainly their job is to deny you benefits. The wife thanked me profusely. And then she said, "You are the only person who tried to help us. No one else would talk to us." I guess I should have felt good about that, I did in a way, but otherwise I was just sad that they ended up with a paralegal busier than a one-armed paperhanger in a bad mood as opposed to someone who is paid to help them. I can't help it though. I hate to see people get screwed. I'm reminded of a conversation I had many years ago with an acquaintance who is a police officer in the fine city I work in. They had launched a nationwide search for our most famous homeless person, aptly named after the song by Jethro Tull, Aqualung. I wondered aloud why they would put themselves out like that. After all, the man had a right to move if he wanted to. "We were worried", he responded, "is his life any less important to us because of his social standing, of where he lives, of how he lives? When we dehumanize others, we dehumanize ourselves." The city later rescued him from a mental hospital in another part of the state a few years back. "Hey, we want our most famous homeless person back!" We got him. I see him in the alley, going through the dumpster. I see him laying in the doorway of a closed establishment. I see him pushing his cart along the streets. If I want to give him something, I leave it in the dumpster at the end of the alley because he will take nothing from your hand. I know he likes Westerns. I also know he used to be a lawyer.
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    1 Comments:

    Blogger Jay said...

    you know what i like most about that entire post, besides the fact that you wrote it?

    you referred to an inmate as a "gentleman" and you weren't using sarcasm.

    i can appreciate your humanity. that's amazing.

    6/19/2004 03:03:00 PM  

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