The Catbird Seat of Indignation


I have been suffering from some rounds of bureaucratic pushback lately. Things that I think are easy to accomplish, or at least not particularly challenging, have instead become ridiculously complicated. They are, if you’ll excuse the lame commercial usage, my Maalox moments. Not to get too crunchy on you, but in spite of the setbacks I am still a huge believer in karma. I have an abiding belief and faith that any walls placed in front of me today can become doors into which I’ll enter later. Until that actually happens, though, I nevertheless have to deal with selected s***storms that rage around me.

Except for two incidents, I will spare you the humdrum details of all of my battles. In nearly every respect they’re not much different from the kind you too encounter on a regular basis. Each one involves confronting a tangled mess of red tape, my attempt to unravel it, and ultimately throwing up my hands in disgust because of an inability to obtain a resolution. Still, I am heartened that which each battle waged, those with whom I’ve clashed have met a more enhanced and “spirited” antagonist than I’ve ever been in my life. Out with the George McGovern vibe, in with the Dick Nixon. I am taking names and drawing up an enemies list.

Source: Associated Press and the Daily Mail
Source: Associated Press and the Daily Mail

It’s possible that my not being employed in an office anymore is responsible for this new approach to conflict. I am slowly losing the essential workplace decorum that I created to survive clashes such as these.

Where I used to not even think twice about having to suck up to someone crucial– be it a lowly clerk that could move paper, or a highly placed manager who held the keys to the kingdom– I no longer have it in me to grovel for something that by any reasonable criteria I should be given without having to build a dream team of lawyers to get it for me. I now have zero tolerance for those who are surly and unprofessional. If you display unprovoked attitude or give me any lip, I’m giving you some right back to you. Retirement allows me a perch to rest on that metaphorical catbird seat of indignation.

Don’t mess with me. I’m now actually quite proud of being able to give as good as I get.

With such backbone firmly in place, my remonstrations were duly put into play recently versus the crack staff of the Macy’s store credit department. I refer to them as “crack” not out of sarcasm but with sincerity. They simply got the best of me. Without the cache I once had by subtly referencing that I was calling on behalf of a federal judge or prosecutor, your humble blogger learned that representing just himself only opens some doors — primarily the automatic ones at the local Publix. Despite my best efforts in pushing back at a churlish representative with whom I had the pleasure of verbally sparring, she was able to conquer me simply by refusing to cooperate with my request for information. She held all the keys.

I was going toe-to-toe with Macy’s because of a blemish on all of my credit reports. It seems that sometime back in the 1990’s my ex-wife added me as an authorized shopper to a charge account that she herself opened. I am nearly certain that I never used the card, nor do I think I even had a Macy’s card in my wallet. Nonetheless I was listed on the account. When my ex later lived through her own version of financial debauchery after our marriage ended, there were a few accounts such as the Macy’s one in which I became a victim of collateral damage. One by one I have worked to remove as many of those blemishes as I can, but this particular account has proven to be a persistent and particularly nasty one to eliminate.

My ex has been cooperative, agreeing back in November of last year to call Macy’s and ask them to remove my name from her account. In fact they did so right after her first call. However, my follow-up need for them to also update this information with the credit bureaus has been the more challenging task. I was told to write them a formal letter affirming that I am no longer responsible for my ex’s account, which I did immediately. After 60 days I called back to verify that the work had been done, but they refused to speak to me. It took my ex to once again call on my behalf and confirm that they received my letter. They told her — not me — that they would transmit the updated information about me to the three major credit bureaus in the next 30 days. I am grateful for an otherwise amicable divorce so that I’m not fighting this credit war on two fronts.

Nonetheless, Macy’s if you’re out there, I’m still indignant and proud of it.

Another less serious recent pushback came courtesy of my bank. For the last two years I have been secretly jealous of Gorgeous’ debit card with Wells Fargo.  She took a graphic of a cute cat that she found on the Internet, uploaded it to her account page, and promptly requested and received a new debit card with the cat’s picture on it. Seemingly every store clerk she hands it to compliments her on what a pretty kitty she has. It’s not even her cat!

Feeling left out, I too decided that I was going to get in on the personalized debit card. I know what you’re thinking: it has to be the Genesis Abacab album, right? Of course it does and I couldn’t resist. I was going be the coolest hipster in our local retirement community. You gotta love those album colors, and believe me it beats that cat on Gorgeous’ card any day.


In spite of the Wells Fargo rules that clearly state no commercial or copyrighted picture may be used, I went ahead and uploaded the Abacab graphic (sans the group name and album title) and requested that my debit card be personalized with it. Tony, Mike, and Phil are very good buddies of mine, and I’m certain that they would have been happy and proud on my behalf. However, within three business days I received an e-mail from Wells Fargo informing me that my request had been denied. They included a link to their official rules.

Totally foiled… and also seriously busted. Karma works both ways.

So it would therefore appear that you still have to pick your battles, even in retirement. Some are worth fighting for, and others, well, not so much.

Careful if you build your own catbird seat. And be extra cautious about mocking your spouse’s favorite cat picture.

Until next time…

Not Gorgeous’ actual debit card

20 thoughts on “The Catbird Seat of Indignation

  1. I immediately got off of all of our credit cards. I was the primary on some and not on others but the companies were gracious and did what I asked. I didn’t do it out of fear that Loser would “ruin our credit” I did it out of fear that the WTC would somehow try to use MY identity. There was evidence that “somebody” was trying to get my personal information and the companies IMMEDIATELY notified me. I still worry though….he and the WTC have access to my SS# and Loser and I are still tied together via credit reports 😦


      1. Same here. After forty years of having one name and suddenly you have another one…and have to get everything changed back…it’s was a drag! Of course, Loser wanted me to keep his name “because it would be easier on me.” Right! He couldn’t understand why I got rid of him and he couldn’t understand why I would possibly want to get rid of his “glorious” name. My sister had been divorced for twenty-six years and when her ex tried to buy a house, he couldn’t get a loan because HER credit showed up, coupled with his. They had to jump through a million hoops to get that straightened out!


  2. When I was married to my ex there was someone with two hours who had the same exact name with very bad credit. Occasionally one of the bad ratings would show up on my ex’s records and it was always a pain to get corrected. Some thing are worth fighting for and perhaps you can settle for a kitty on your credit card….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, God, I can’t imagine having to think about an unintended identity mix-up. That’s almost as bad as identity theft. Slowly but surely I have managed to straighten out these issues. It just takes patience… something I need to pull back from my memory banks!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. tonyatthebee

    Good for you, not backing down and not taking it any more!!! I am looking forward to not having to back down in retirement as well. There’s always that little voice in me that says, wait, don’t complain too much, it could end up getting back to your employer. I also have to watch myself at work, trying to keep my frustration level in check, especially as most of my colleagues on other staffs are really dropping the ball lately and giving lousy service. Hard to complain when we are all still in the same sandbox. My joining you, pitchfork in hand, for ‘The Revolution’ with Madame La Guillotine singing in the streets must wait at least six years and seven months! Sorry to hear about the problems with the Department Store especially since you did not even know that you were included as an authorized shopper. I had an identity theft experience with the old Hecht’s Department Store chain when I first moved to DC that took many calls to resolve. Hope that your issue gets resolved soon. BTW, thank you for my word of the day: Churlish! 🙂 Not sure how to react on the personalized debit/credit cards other than this: might it have been an unconscious attempt on your part to meet all of your Genesis idols even if it meant a meeting in a judges chambers for copyright infringement? I am not a doctor but I play one, so just sayin’. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Damn, you totally caught me on my actual ruse: have the band sue me so I could meet them in person. The easiest way to get their autographs, albeit on legal documents!

      You are absolutely right. Fear not getting my boss involved probably stopped me from really giving people a piece of my mind. I’ll wait for your own retirement before we embark on la revolution!


  4. Thank goodness your ex was willing to come to your aid (which was only right since she messed up). I wish I could get back all of the hours I’ve spent on the phone over the years trying to straighten out a problem someone else (usually the company I’m talking to) caused in the first place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was grateful for her help. It’s better when you have an amicable break instead of a nasty one. It’s not a perfect relationship, of course, but we communicate and always try to help solve a problem when one comes up for one of us. I’d much prefer that than the alternative.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Eddie

    What if you submitted a photo of you in front of a poster of that cover? Or, wearing a shirt with that cover? Just wondering where copyright ends since you probably own the poster and shirt.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Macy’s is awful – I’m not surprised you are having problems with what should have been a simple fix. About 15 years ago, I bought a chair from a Macy’s outlet. I think it was $99. Instead of putting on our credit card which I had handed to him, the clerk opened an “revolving credit” account and put it on that. There must have been a reward for employees who opened the most revolving accounts. We always pay off our credit cards every month and did so with our Macy’s account. We never realized that the chair was not billed on that. And we never got the statement from the new account. Interesting right? When we started receiving letters that our “installment” for our $99 chair was past due, we paid it in full immediately and closed this “revolving” account. However, the blemish on my credit record was there for years. So good luck with this!

    And for the record, you don’t need a cool credit card picture to be the coolest hipster in your retirement community… It’s practically oozing out of your pores!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why, thank you! Hipster me!

      Wow, that Macy’s cashier really did some damage to you; I’m so sorry to hear about that. Honestly, it was their credit representative’s attitude with me on the phone that really set me off. I do understand how they couldn’t give me much information since the account itself was my ex’s. But since I did follow their previous rules by having her phone in to request the change, my writing the letter they requested, etc., I just couldn’t understand the utter contempt with which I was being treated merely for making an inquiry. Steve Martin’s “Well, excuuuuuse me!” was a temping retort to make.

      It will be interesting to see if this does disappear from my credit record. I have had some earlier success with eliminating things, but since this one was truly out of my control I’m very wary about it. I will keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. “I was going be the coolest hipster.” Ah, Marty, so YOU are the one. While Portland is purportedly full of the same, I have yet to find even one person who is willing to admit to actually being “A Hipster.” My wife’s sister was visiting from Norfolk, VA and we took her to a rather quaint place called the Tin Shed for breakfast. She was thrilled, and said, “This is a Hipster place, isn’t it?” She could not wait to go home and tell people she had been to a Hipster joint right out of Portlandia. Funny thing is, as usual, no one in that crowded Hipster Joint would own up to being an actual specimen of that elusive creature. But, now I can brag about knowing a real live Hipster, even if he does now reside in what would seem to be a decidedly unHipster locale.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely, Tip! Only crass fogies like myself deign to try and become that which is unseemly when you’re relegated to self-anoint. But why wait for the hipster train to arrive when I’m always stuck in traffic and can never make it to the station on time anyway? I declare myself a real live hipster!

      Portland is full of hipsters even if they’ll never admit it. I can’t even grow a long beard, unlike *someone* we both know who shall remain nameless. Now HE’S a true hipster and not a self-proclaimed one!


  8. Pingback: Becoming The Frozen Man – Snakes in the Grass

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.