Saturday Evening Post

iced coffeeWhat a wild and wonderful week! Grab a cuppa and snuggle into a rocker. Clyde has his dander up about reading. Yes, reading. The rain seems to have stopped for now, so I’ll turn on the fans. Let’s talk.


Flashes from the BistroFirst Hoozah! goes out to twenty-six authors who poured at least 50 words of themselves into Flashes From the Bistro. It is live and beautiful. The cover was a huge amount of work ton of fun. It is just as quirky and twisted as the contents.

If there is anyone who has read them all, you know it is me. Another person I know who has read them all send me a first impression:

I must say some of the these people are in need of serious help; they are warped.”

I do not think we have gotten a better compliment! Nothing is as cool as getting intrigue, mystery and wonder in a flash of 150 words or less. Grab your copy today! (Click the cover.)


I have come to realize asking for what you want is overrated. The straw poll I did with some of the occasional and regular visitors to M3 rendered the result:

Less is more.”

I listened. I shortened the posts and stopped posting everyday. The SIB is full of emails wondering when we are going to get back to regular posts and the kind where we discuss all manner of things pertinent to life. Since I only have three manuscripts on my desk, the answer is soon.

Personal Aside

I want to say thank you to a few people. My inner sanctum has been very helpful in the last few weeks as I deal with changes with Little V secondary to the research study and the immense intrusion of more than a handful of therapists six days per week.

Happy 4thCoping with what amounts to having three new roommates is tough. We three (Little V, Man Cub and I) have been a unit for all the years since Russell died. To say having regular, daily visitors from the fringes of The Third Circle of Hell after years (all of Man Cub’s life) where months spanned between visits is unnerving is sublime.

The irony I chose unnerving may be lost on you. I am agoraphobic. I do not take to FAB strangers. They make me nervous (try anxious to the point of a stroke).

Thank you for the tele calls and email in support. They mean more to me than I tell you.

Right Turn, Clyde!

Red Dwyer's Books

I would be out of business.

Everyone in the blogosphere should know how important reading is. Were it not for the people who read, we would have no audiences. What has the orang scratching his ear this week? People who read.

No, not those who are bibliophiles or blog surfers or even cereal box readers. He is perturbed by the people who read for a living.

For many, a dream job would be to read all day long. (Pick me! Pick me!) However, there is a rather large group of people who are charged with reading aloud to their clients.

I’m illiterate.

The assumption (Herein lies the problem.) is those to whom information must be conveyed need to have the information translated from English (legalese) to English (American monosyllabic terms). Their jobs require they convey all information verbally before contracts are signed. The premise is to be certain the TOS were actually read and understood.

In the over-protection of those who reach adulthood with no grasp of their native language, they finish paragraphs with standard addenda:

Did you understand that?” OR

What that really means is…”

What’s the harm in making sure clients understand, right?


Meme I can read

More than a few of them speak to their clients on a level of condescension which is borne of the resentment in having to read to those assumed too ignorant to understand the services for which the clients have applied. In short, the clients are too oblivious to know for what they have asked.


Humans claim to communicate better than any other species. For all of our advanced language, we make very little effort to ensure the equity of such language. We make nearly no effort to create a level playing field of vocabulary or understanding and often create substrata of understanding which resembles a caste system.

Large portions of the language are segregated to those who need to know the meanings of such words and phrases. Tangential learning is forgone in a cost-benefit analysis which renders the learner bankrupt.

In what could charitably described as a salve to this compound fracture, we institute special dispensation for those who are illiterate at the hands of the education system, immigration or disability. Those charged with dispensing the language are trained to do so with the assumption all to whom they provide it are illiterate; ergo, all consumers of their services are only consumers by right of illiteracy.


responsibilityDespite read-to-client policies being standard in all government-related programs, the majority of such programs are nothing more than pork. For example, this policy is in force for all healthcare which is administered through government subsidy (Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, waiver programs). In more than 80% of cases, the patient is not the one procuring the healthcare, and the carer who does is not in need of having the information read to them.

At local offices of motor vehicles, instructions are read to applicants for licenses ranging from personal vehicles to motorcycles to tractor-trailers. How frightening is it to imagine an illiterate driver of a 65-foot, 200-ton vehicle? More than 25% of applicants for driver’s licenses cannot read the tests which as such questions as:

What is a safe distance to travel behind another vehicle?

How far does it take a car traveling 45 mph to stop?

What does this sign mean?

One Way Sign Right

Enter Ape

Right turn, Clyde.

Right turn, Clyde.

Regardless of the reason, well-intentioned or otherwise, such policies exist, the recipients of such services do not all fall into the pools of people they are meant to help. Those charged with such duties do not have a firmer grasp of the language than those who should be reading it for themselves. Condescension is not part of the policy.

Even though you may be paid to insult others’ intelligence, the money does not entitle you to a position in the caste system above those to whom you deliver.

It is enough to make an ape wonder.

Until next time,

Red Signature

Do you see a connection between our conditioning to not ask for help and the requirement help be given when it is not needed? What is the simplest solution to this epidemic? Why do we create job environments which belittle?

Hashtags: #responsibility #reading #help

Thank you for sharing The M3 Blog with hashtags and spending a Saturday evening with me.

© Red Dwyer 2013
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  1. That study has just started, hasn’t it? It does not sound as if it’s going to be an easy thing to get through the next few months of it.
    Binky recently posted..Launch Pad BribeMy Profile

  2. I knew a man that could not read that had a driver’s license. I’m hoping he memorized what each sign meant. He could read numbers and built things, remodeled houses.

    People don’t typically ask for help anymore because it’s less annoying to do without than to be spoken to as if you have brain damage. Which as you know makes it legally impossible for you to enter into a legally binding contract once they find you incompetent. The one they appoint to make the decisions for you has to be declared competent enough to make the decisions.

    The problems is the ones explains don’t have the common sense to ask if you have questions, and usually after you zombiefy yourself reading the books that pass for simple guidelines they try to glaze over it to make it fit what they feel like doing at that moment in time.

    Oh heavens, now I have a headache.
    Laurie recently posted..Flash in the Pan: RegressMy Profile

    • The main problem is they need you not to be incompetent. In order to get around it, reading to you suffices, as it is assumed you know your own language when you hear it. It makes my eye twitch. My response was, “I am on page eight. Please get to where I am. I have already read this.” Ugh.

  3. Helloooo. I’m from the government and I’m here to help you 😀


    The dumbing down of the populace is just another way we are enslaving ourselves.

    I’ll just stop there.

    MJ Logan recently posted..Basic Campfire Building is an Adventure SkillMy Profile

  4. benzeknees

     /  August 4, 2013

    In some of my various vocations I have had to help people read paperwork. I have always tried to make it as confidential as possible, so I would not be embarrassing someone who could not read the language of my country. I never wanted to make them feel they were less than me, just to help them.

    • I believe you were trying to help. I am not a person who needs such help, so being required to receive help I do not need is quite a different animal.

  5. I’m with Mr. Logan on this one!

    On the 12th I am going to be the victim of a system that belittles its victims and tries to do them harm without the basic knowledge to understand the condition of the victim.

    All while talking down to them as if they are small children…

    Love and hugs!

    Prenin recently posted..Saturday – Insomnia and depression.My Profile

  6. I used to get very upset at the reading. Now I figure it’s just their job, and try not to let it get to me.
    As far as belittling, I’ve never felt that, mostly because I don’t pay the functionary enough attention and don’t really care what their opinion is.

    As far as language, it’s necessary when using all the big words to narrow down all the possibilities and explain what the document is all about.
    I’m very in favor of using a 50 cent word everyone knows instead of a two dollar word that exists just for people to make things more difficult.
    El Guapo recently posted..Friday Foolishness – Clima(c)tic EditionMy Profile

    • While I endorse language easy to understand for all public documents, it is not the language I use, even informally. A background in the legal field makes me rather angry when someone attempts to explain to me what words mean… and they get them wrong. I just have no patience for those whose assumption I cannot understand is easier than asking me if I am capable.

  7. I have never had the experience of being read to, in applications or forms. Or maybe I forget the experience and take the forms home to digest on my own. I do not understand well when read to. I need to read it myself to fully comprehend what the agency or person is asking for.

    Thinking about you with the onslaught of strangers in your home. I would hide in the bathroom. xxx
    Gail Thornton recently posted..An Interview with Poet Laurie ChildreeMy Profile

    • To be frank, I spend a good deal of time in the boardroom when they are not here. Logistics makes it difficult when they are here. xxx Thank you. <3

  8. I would go with the idea this is their job, ignore them or they will never go away. Get the head nod to a fine art, go with yes it will make them happy and they will go away faster.

    Anything more, any discussion of why they are stupider than cow piles; well it simply means you must waste energy and time. Your energy and your time. Think of the value.

    I am sorry I have been so absent. I will try harder.
    Valentine Logar recently posted..Fall Flash IIMy Profile

    • I made the point to let them know they were behind where I was reading. I do so want them all to go away. Eleven more months. Eleven more months…

      I am not convinced. xxx

  9. I cannot imagine not understanding the language well enough to pore over documents / forms on my own, with a list of pertinent questions afterward. I too do not benefit from someone reading to me without reading the words myself.

    Since the ‘readers’ are in a comfortable position and know the ins and outs of required documentation, maybe they get to think they are special and lord it over someone who is not familiar with the legalise. Not a good scenario.
    tess kann recently posted..The Noose – Trifextra Week 79My Profile

  10. I don’t have a clue.. I just don;t have one single stinking clue.. I alwaus think of the Gary Larson Far Side Cartoon when being read to ..”what you say ‘Sit Ginger Sit!’ What the hear Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah” cracks me up… I did not realize some of this. f they make you nervous – I can only imagine how they must feel about you… bwahahaha <3 Lizzie
    Lizzie Cracked recently posted..As if Birds With the Freaky Eyebrows Weren’t Enough… Now It’s Candy, and I am a SUCKER!My Profile

    • I adore Gary Larson! Before the calendars came out, I clipped them out of the paper and collected my favorites. It was fun to color them in during French classes in between naps. 😛 After chewing on them for the last few weeks, I am fairly certain they are getting the picture I am not interested in their comfort beyond dismissing what normally passes for a dress code in favor of clothes they can wear to play in the yard with my children.


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