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We all have strengths and weaknesses. Areas where we are good and areas where we leave a little bit to be desired. Generally, we enjoy things we are good at, and so we move towards professions which make use of our strengths without punishing us for our weaknesses. So what, then for people who are unambiguously incompetent? People for whom a strength is an area where their incompetence is unlikely to result in major catastrophe?
Maybe I just led a charmed life in Australia, where all incompetence could be excused as corruption. Maybe I just never happenned to deal with people in institutions who were so glaringly incompetent that their normal actions led to a detrimental result for everyone.
Anyway, for anyone who didn't know, or found their way here by mistake, my surname is spelt L-U-B-A-N-S-K-Y. It really isn't that difficult. Ok, I accept that if you are only hearing "Lubansky" once, verbally, you may make a mistake. However, if you are copying it from somewhere, and getting it wrong will result in inconvenience for you and inconvenience for me, it is inexcusable. Don't get me wrong - if the consequences are irrelevent, spell it how you like. The mis-spellings in the scorer's book at cricket amused me. And I'm used to seeing the y morph into an i on invitations; seeing an r mysteriously materialise after the b; even seeing random vowels appear, change and disappear like a quantum dynamical expression of vowel mechanics. I'm used to it, I accept it, and I occassionally see the funny side (with attendant benefit that at least no one else has my name).
For a couple of months when I started work here, I had to keep convincing people I existed because, at some point "sky" became "ksy", which meant that various systems just didn't accept my existence. I think I exist now. Over the last 8 months since I called Swansea "place of residence", I have seen as many different variant spellings as I did in 26 years living in Australia. Maybe more. And even worse, at times when it mattered. I have had to fill in more forms because credit card applications didn't believe that Mr Lubanskey existed. I am in the process of buying a house with the purchasers being Dr A Lubansky and Mrs R Luobski. I am beginning to understand the bureaucracy: it is because there are people who are not competent to breathe if they are not specifically told to.
Even worse, though, is the nonsense we are going through to get a mortage. Rebecca and I are putting down a reasonable deposit - enough that if we leave town, no mortgage company is going to lose money if they have to sell. We both have reasonably well-paying jobs, even if we could both earn far more if we decided to decrease the social value of our work and chase a buck. You'd think mortage companies would be throwing themselves at us to lend us money. You'd think...
Eventually, we found one that would. Yet, over time, they managed to lose our visa details, tell us one thing and then tell us that it wasn't acceptable, delay the paperwork for as long as possible, and, finally, send us the letter of offer. For the wrong product. For the wrong fucking product. How hard can it be? The box is ticked for something, and you copy it out. You don't need to think. You don't need creativity. You just need to copy out a set of instructions.
Anyway, with time on our contract rapidly running out, we would like to move into the place we are buying soon. I think the mortgage company have managed to drag their feet sufficiently that we aren't going to be able to do it in the order we would like.
So, dear readers, the exercise for today: you have probably all seen different politics or philosophies expressed in terms of things such as cows or bridges (example here. Today's exercise: explain a philosophy or political orientation of your choice in terms of incompetence. For example: Liberalism - everyone has the right to be as incompetent as they like as long as they don't affect anyone else; Communism - from each according to his ability, to each according to his incompetence. Nostalgia - people aren't as incompetent as they used to be. Germaine Greer - Australians and men are incompetent - how little they recognise my competence.
My favourite procrastinations
The Head Heeb - Jonathan provides a balanced view on various Israeli and (former) colonial states in less developed regions of the world.
The Bladder - a sports satire site. Well worth a look.