Yesterday, I received written notice at my office address that I am going to be sued by a local law firm representing the city. The threatening notice states that I owe the local municipality $567.00. How I incurred this debt isn't specified. I was also informed that a lawsuit will be filed against me if payment isn't received by their law office within five days of the date of the letter. They added, ominously, that there would be 'no additional notification' before suit is filed. It was the first and only notice I received and, clearly, it was spit out of a machine.
The format of the notice was straightforward, but stark and menacing, too. Obviously this 'law firm' uses a template to threaten scores of people in this manner every month. No doubt, my name, address, and a case number were entered by some firm-employed 'collector' working on commission.
No lawyer actually examined this $567.00 case. I am certain of that. I must say, though, that they have mastered the art of intimidation by machine. The letter immediately induced a sense of paranoia in me. The template sounded very big and stupid—like a template that wouldn't hesitate to smash a 2x4 across my kneecaps if I fail to appreciate that 'no one in dis city gets away wit not paying no proper respects to da mare’s friends and associates.'
I am also certain of another thing. I don't owe the city any money. I, along with a couple of hundred other Americans, share a name in common with the CEO of a well-known, mid-sized US corporation. The corporation was referenced in the notice I received.
Of course, I resent the fact that this law firm operates in a way that could lead to the careless assumption that I am the person who, apparently, owes the city. There is absolutely no reason to assume I am that person, and absolutely no justification for sending me such a threatening notice. I shouldn't assume, though, that the erroneous notice was due to simple carelessness. Rather, I suspect that this law firm has a systemized approach to dealing with these matters.
Human thought, particularly intelligent thought, is a scarcer commodity than systemized action. Rather than spend intellectual resources to locate the person who owes the money to the city, the firm employs non-thinking cogs who simply cross reference names and addresses leading to the mailing of hundreds of threatening letters every month. There is little doubt that some of the letters reach parties who actually owe the money for which payment is demanded, but I strongly suspect that many of those who receive threatening letters are like me—we aren't the people who owe the money, if indeed, any money is actually owed by anyone.
Causing worry and inconvenience to the innocent means nothing to the pigs at the top of this legal shit heap. In their own lives, these officers of the court employ low-paid, dehumanized cogs to address most of life's petty inconveniences, leaving them free to enjoy the fruits of a lifestyle built upon powerful political connections and constant, but legally non-prosecutable, corruptions, both great and small. The corruption is, itself, mechanized.
As much as I feel that there is no reason on earth that I should be minding my own business one day and discover that I must call this law firm to establish (to their satisfaction) that I am not the corporate big shot who owes the city $567.00, I decided that I must resolve this matter now, so that I won't find myself wasting more time later, proving to a judge that I am not Mr. Big.
The thing is, I was looking for the notice this morning and I couldn't find it. I may have accidentally tossed it last night when I was straightening up my office. Yes, a parapraxis. I guess I was even more resentful of the notice than I realized. I'm sure that somewhere deep inside of me, I had visions of leading my little tribe into the encampment of 'Steele, Cheatem and Robb,' where a bloody massacre would ensue.
In one sense this is funny. Can you imagine? Some cog in the legal wheel just looks up addresses associated with names and then sets the legal ball in motion. The cogs who work in the law firm's collection department must have searched their investigator's database, and picked out someone with the right name to be the recipient of this threat. Perhaps my office address gives the false impression that I have more money than the other people who share a name with the CEO. Or perhaps everyone who shares the name receives a threat. It could be that it's a system for smoking out the guilty by eliminating all other suspects, the burden of proof falling upon those suspects.
If I can’t locate the missing notice, I suppose that some paralegal cog will pull up a template and spit out the paperwork needed to file suit against me. Every month, the firm probably files dozens of suits on behalf of the city, against people who have been threatened and have failed, for a variety of reasons, to eliminate themselves as suspects. No doubt, these lawsuits can be filed in one visit to the courthouse. Someone will bring a box of papers to the clerk's office, and wait around while a cog from the clerk's office stamps all the suits as 'filed.' I'm probably being too generous in ascribing so much humanity to the process, but I don't want to overstate my case.
As the entire process continues, the 'machine' law firm will continue to engage its own cogs and templates, as well as the court’s cogs and templates, to squeeze money out of any human turnip that fails to escape the money 'press.' If there are enough turnips in the press, only a little cash is needed from each to make the firm’s partners fabulously wealthy.
This is possible because everyone associated with the process will function like a machine part, except for a few turnips like me. If and when real lawyers or judges even touch these matters, the outcomes, in most cases, are essentially a fait a compli—a few signatures will just make everything official. Occasionally, someone will protest. In this city, where the phrase 'public servant' is an oxymoron, such people are labeled as 'crusading nuts,' because they don't believe they should be obliged to go along with this form of mechanized cannibalism. We are urged, instead, to figure out how to become cannibalistic cogs in the local machinery.
Some of the names on the law firm's letterhead sounded familiar to me. Maybe they come from 'da mare’s' neighborhood or perhaps 'dey’re friends wit da mare's friends.' Most likely they attended the local, freestanding, open-admissions law school, where many politically connected yokels pick up their law degrees. As I looked over the names on the letterhead of the threatening notice, in the back of my mind, I could ever so faintly hear the 'deezes, dems' and 'dozes' of this city’s politically powerful.
I'm sure that this law firm has a fat contract with the city. The collection of debts that earn them $200 or $300 a pop, are probably their bread and butter. Of course, taking their relatively low rate of reimbursement per case into account, and considering their overhead, if they are to get rich off of personal connections to the political machine, they've got to have their own machine to collect on these debts. There is absolutely no place for a human mind, human judgment or a conscience in the process of getting rich by cannibalizing your fellow man. A finger here and an ear there will suffice, only if you can lop off many fingers and many ears. Thinking about justifications before every bite, just won't do.