There may be a number of folks who think my articles are rather useless and not worth pursuing. Obviously I would tend to differ. But here I will have to agree with them: this a completely useless and totally unimportant piece. In fact, it is simply my attempt at a bit of admittedly lame humour to offset all my heavy articles on so many gloomy subjects.
It has to do with something I have always disliked intensely. If there is anything that really gets my goat, and what I utterly detest in life, it is bureaucracy in general and filling in stupid forms in particular. They are the bane of my existence. They drive me nuts.
I once again realised this today as I discovered to my horror that my passport has expired, and we head overseas soonish. Of course being the weekend the dumb place is closed, but an online look revealed more misery, torture, fear and loathing.
It seems I have to download 450 pages of documents, fill in 97 lengthy forms, and pay them $8500! OK, so I exaggerate slightly, but that sure is what it feels like. Woe is me. But all this brought to mind something I wrote over two decades ago.
This may have been an unpublished piece at the time, but it is proudly going on my site now! I was working with an organisation that seemed to delight in tormenting its employees by having them fill in a kazillion forms. Given that my hatred of forms is only equal to my love of donuts, I penned this piece back then on donut procurement forms.
My bosses gave it a half-hearted laugh, but it may have cut them too close to the bone. In fact, if I recall correctly, I had to fill in a form to get them to read this in the first place! Anyway, for what it is worth (and yes I know it is not worth much), here is what I penned over twenty years ago:
[Insert Business Name Here]
Donut Procurement and Assessment Form
As part of our attempt to make the procurement and indulgence of donuts an efficient and enjoyable process, we ask that you fill in the following Form to help us evaluate and quantify our donutability. While this Form may take a bit of your time (we estimate no more than 35 minutes a day) we believe that in the long run this Form will actually save time. We all know that eating donuts, as opposed to filling in Forms about eating donuts, is the most important thing, but we believe this process will help contribute to that end. (For a complete rationale for filling in Forms, please see Form E4092.)
We ask you to have this Form completed and returned to Joe’s office each morning by 9am. (If you cannot make this deadline, please refer to Form C5396.) If you have difficulties in filling in this Form, please refer to the How to Fill in a Form Form (Form L4237.)
How many donuts have you had today? (If more than 15 donuts, please fill in and attach the Supplementary Donut Form T3596. For rules about attaching Supplementary Forms to non-Supplementary Forms, please see Form Y6734.)
What kinds of donuts did you have? (See Schedule I2598 for the various kinds of donuts possible.)
How big were they? Please answer to the nearest centimetre. (If you have trouble making exact measurements, please refer to Form H4275)
What kind of icing did they have? (If more than one icing per donut, please fill in the Supplementary Donut Form G6888.)
Did the donuts have jam filling? (If filling other than jam, please complete Form A3664.)
How were these donuts procured? (If you used your own funds, please fill in Form J4320 for a refund.)
Were you satisfied with the quality of the donuts? (Please ensure your quality quantifications comply to company standards of quality control – see Form T4399.)
Was proper time allotted to the enjoyment of your donut? (Please refer to Form H3196 for time allotment schedules.)
Were enough donuts ordered for all staff to have plenty to choose from? (Please see Schedule W3319 for proper donut/employee ratios.)
Were the donuts available no later than 24 hours after the last batch was available? (For holiday donut availability, please see Schedule J3781.)
Did the person who procured the donuts do so in a pleasant and courteous fashion? (Remember, according to Forms K4298 and K4299, smiles must accompany the donut delivery for at least 50 per cent of the delivery time.)
Were all leftover donuts properly wrapped up and placed in Bill’s in-tray? (If Bill is absent from his office, he is probably out filling in forms somewhere, but he should be back shortly.)
Were all complaints about donuts properly documented on the bright yellow complaints Forms? They need to be returned to Bob each day by 2pm. (If Bob is out of his office, he is probably dreaming up some new Forms to have staff fill in, and should be back shortly.) Also, if you have run out of yellow complaint Forms, please fill the Complaint Form About No Complaint Forms Form (Form Y4877.) If this Form is out, you can fill in the Complaint Form About the Complaint Form About No Complaint Forms Form Form (Form Y4878.) If you have any complaints about too many Forms to fill in, please fill in Form U9041.
Finally, did the donuts you ate give you as much pleasure as filling in the Form? If not, please see Bob about getting some more Forms to fill in.
Please fill in this Form and return in triplicate to Joe’s office. If you cannot fill out in triplicate, please complete Form R3532 and return in triplicate to Bob.
Thank you for taking the time out to fill in this Form. Keep in mind the verse which says, “No filling in of forms seems for the moment joyful, but afterwards it will yield the peaceable fruit of bureaucracy, and will keep several thousand people in the forests industry gainfully employed”.
Finally, if you find that you just do not have the time to complete this form, just get Form V3097 from Joe to waive the requirement to fill in this form.
Always remember, filling in forms is but a means to an end. One day we will all live in a form-free world, but as long as we remain in this fallen world, there will always be forms to fill in. As Solomon once said, “Of the making of forms, there is no end.” Such a prospect may be formidable to some, but a new day is coming. Remember the story of Moses. When he first went to Pharaoh and complained about the number of forms the people of Israel had to fill in, Pharaoh said, “I see you do not have enough work to do”, so he gave them more forms to fill in. But in the end Moses and his people were delivered, and Pharaoh’s army was drowned in a sea of forms. So deliverance is coming! Transformation is on the way! As Karl Marx once said, “Form-fillers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your forms!”
Compiled by Bill Form-o-Phobe Muehlenberg, 29 April 1997.
Authorised by Joe Form-o-phile Smith and Bob the Form Freak Jones.
This Form complies with the Forms Standardisation and Specifications Act (Form U4909).