In the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt DLC “Blood and Wine”, Geralt finds that a man who owes him money has deposited it in a bank account under his name. What follows is a dive into the deep, dark, shark infested waters that we like to call: Bureaucracy.
Most of us have been there. It could be a bank, the DMV, or some government building. “Oh I’m sorry, Sir. It says here that you’re an intergalactic space waffle, I’m afraid I can’t help you. You’ll need to get form 209-B to prove that you’re human. Have a nice day.” Often time it just ends up in a catch 22. You’ll need a special piece of paper to get what you need, but you need to have what you need in to order to get the piece of paper.
I remember I was in my second year of college, and I had just been in a series of apartments before running out of options and ended up living with my brother and his (at the time) girlfriend. While I was there, it took about a week or two to find a new place. I met the people who lived in the same building, they liked me, they told me I could move in.
Except, I ended up living with my brother for another couple of months. I needed to get something from the government. Without it, the rental company can’t have me signing the contract. I applied to get the form, but it was being sent to my last registered address. They took a bulldozer to my last address.
I tried explaining to the guy on the phone: “Asshole, (I didn’t really use such terminology) my last address no longer exists. If the post guy shows up, what’s he gonna do? Mime out the act of placing the letter in a mailbox? Just let me come pick the damn thing up or let me give you an address to send it to.” “I’m sorry, sir. But I can’t do that.” “Why the hell not?!”
Months go by and in this time my future house-mates are left with an empty room that they have to pay for. I want to come in and start paying for it, I really do, but the government is drilling bureaucracy down my throat.
Then finally, someone grows a brain cell and tells me to just swing by a particular office and pick it up. “Thank You!” I say, in an exaggerated voice. I show up, the lady behind the counter hands it to me. I open up the letter, and pull out a single piece of paper. One piece of paper that basically says that I’m living off a fixed income and so I’m basically broke. That’s it. I turn to the lady and ask: “Where’s the gold ingot? They made it sound like it’s the most important piece of document on Earth.” She just smiled and shrugged.
So when I was playing that quest in The Witcher 3, I was having flashbacks to this nonsense. But it was brilliant at the same time. From what I understand, the whole thing was referencing the film “The Twelve Tasks of Asterix”. The 8th task was to find Permit A38 in “The Place That Sends You Mad”. Mad indeed.
Well, dear reader. Have you experienced any maddening instances of bureaucracy? Do you live in Europe? If so, then I’m sure you have.