Mike's Views

... non-violent, revolutionary, anarchist

The Insufferable Bureaucracy Of Parenting

Please know that I am in my 37th year of continuous parenting.

My 15 year old son has been playing high school tennis. Tennis season is over, school is out, finals are done and summer vacation is here. Monday he will be starting summer tennis practice.

Wednesday night the email arrived. He cannot attend summer practice because he has not had his sports physical exam. What? I thought it was a done deal, but turns out that was from last May, and here it is June and of course it's only good for 365 days.

The notice had arrived, previously, announcing physicals this May, $20 at the high school. We missed it. The paper disappeared, got shuffled under something or thrown out in the trash. The exam date came and went.

So I got on the phone. I seemed to remember there were local providers who would perform a sports physical quick and cheap. Good luck on that score, the local urgent care wants $75. So I got on the phone. Our insurance covers it 100% but only with one clinic. Fortunately it's part of a group, and they got us an appointment for today, Saturday. Only an hour's drive to the branch with an opening.

I filled out the packet from the school. Preparticipation Physical Evaluation. Date, Name, Date of Birth, Sex, Age, Grade, School, Sport. Has a doctor ever denied or restricted your participation in sports for any reason? Do you have any ongoing medical conditions? If so, please identify below. Have you ever spent the night in the hospital? And so forth. 54 questions. Signature of student. Signature of parent/guardian. Date....what day is it again? I may spend the night in the hospital.

Authorization For Emergency Treatment Of Minor. Date, Name, Date of Birth, Sex, Age, Grade, School, Sport. Hey this is 2015 already, we live in the electronic age. Enter this stuff in a database once, and it is there FOREVER. "Oh, we just have to make sure it's right..." Yes, sweetheart, you have to make sure, and I have to fill out these godawful, miserable forms.

Athletic boosters donation form. Athletic Contract...Name, Grade, Date, Student Signature, Date, Parent Signature. Athlete's Code Of Ethics...Date, Student Signature, Date, Parent Signature. High School Interscholastic Sports Personal Information...Name, Grade, Date, Student Signature, Date, Parent Signature. Parental Consent...Date, Parent Signature...What day is it? Who am I again? Deliver me. Deliver me from evil amen.

Insurance Verification. Parent/Guardian Approval for Student Participation in Field Trip. Interscholastic Federation Clearance...Age Verification, High School Attendance, Residency, Miscellaneous...Parent Signature, Date, Student Signature, Date. Concussion Information Sheet. Symptoms may include one or more of the following: Headaches, Nausea, Balance Problems...22 symptoms. I am feeling some of the symptoms now.

Signs observed by teammates, parents and coaches include: Appears Dazed, Vacant facial expression...14 more signs. I am feeling dazed and vacant. Student-Athlete Name Printed, Student-Athlete Signature, Date, Parent or Legal Guarden Printed, Parent or Legal Guardian Signature, Date. Hey baby, how about a date tonight? Got lotsa dates...

Forms in hand, we headed out this morning for the hour's drive to the clinic. Walked in the door. More forms to fill out. HIPAA, Name, Address, Signature, Date, Insurance Coverage, Signature. More, more, more, an interminable flow of forms to be filled out.

I am tired. Tired of lawyers, tired accountants, tired of managerial types all so afraid of lawsuits. Tired of everyone else who just accepts this red-tape-enamoured, self-perpetuating bureaucracy. Tired of a culture of acceptance, you can't fight city hall. Tired of paper notices consuming so much of my life. Tired of smiling and saying please and thank you while I am feeling aaarrrggghhh!, get this mountain of paper off me, out of my life. Call me irresponsible - call me unreliable, throw in undependable too.

Whisk me away on a psychedelic cloud, let me hear wolves howling at the moon, let me see eagles hunting in pairs or trios, flying just above treetops following the curvature of the land. Let me go back to an earlier time, when kids went to school and came home and all parents had to do was work and put food on the table. I hear that old, oaken bucket a callin' my name.

Let me go back to my own childhood, a time when I didn't have to fill out forms, a time when I loved to go up in a swing, up in the air so blue. Take me away from the traffic, from the press of humanity, away from the crowds of people oh so much more socially adept than I, who are happy with endless forms and happy with endless bureaucracy, happy, more than happy, to go along and get along and be part of the community, the family of man.

Hand me over to an alternate universe. Release me and let me love again. Take these chains from my heart and set me free. Let me off the hook, acquit me and absolve me from this responsibility for perpetual and ceaseless paperwork.

Deliver me, once and for all, from the insufferable bureaucracy of parenting.