OK. So I’m channeling Bobby Bowden. That’s a first.
This is from Wikipedia. Don’t bother to write me questioning the accuracy of Wikipedia (or snopes.com, or anything else on the Internet, for that matter). It’s not that big a deal.
Red tape is excessive regulation or rigid conformity to formal rules that is considered redundant or bureaucratic and hinders or prevents action or decision-making. It is usually applied to governments, corporations, and other large organizations.
One definition is the “collection or sequence of forms and procedures required to gain bureaucratic approval for something, especially when oppressively complex and time-consuming.” Another definition is the “bureaucratic practice of hair splitting or foot dragging, blamed by its practitioners on the system that forces them to follow prescribed procedures to the letter.”
Red tape generally includes filling out paperwork, obtaining licenses, having multiple people or committees approve a decision and various low-level rules that make conducting one’s affairs slower, more difficult, or both. Red tape can also include “filing and certification requirements, reporting, investigation, inspection and enforcement practices, and procedures.”
OK, it’s not really that bad. It’s not really oppressive, or even “oppressively complex.” It just takes time. It makes for a dreary morning, or in this case, one that has spilled over into the afternoon. Apparently, once upon a time, what was stored in the Vatican archive was enclosed and bound in, yes, red tape.
This morning’s red tape is ongoing. I have to wait “three business days.” Oh, well. I guess I’ll try again on Wednesday. Or maybe it’s after three business days, in which case I’ll resume “the paper chase,” which is a similar term borrowed from a long-ago movie and television show, on Thursday.
Regarding the Vatican, I’m sure the Pope must be experiencing red tape right now. No one has abdicated the papacy in almost 600 years, at which point the red tape was undoubtedly literal. Someone probably has to translate the instructions from Latin. I took 12 hours of Latin in college, but that was a long time ago, and, besides, I’m not even Catholic.
This is also a day of “busy work,” which is sort of common on Mondays. I’ve put together a Facebook event notice – I’m publicizing my novel, The Audacity of Dope, in Charlotte, N.C., at Poor Richard’s Book Shoppe, on March 16 from 5 to 7 p.m. – and gone through the process of sending invitations, many of which were sent to “friends” who can’t possibly make it since I’m not altogether sure of where many of them are. I’ve exchanged emails with several people. I’ve still got to send a few more out.
I really wish I was about to write another chapter on my third novel, Crazy by Natural Causes – Audacity is out and The Intangibles is in the editing/design stage – but it’s already obvious that fiction will have to wait. I’ve got to go run some errands this afternoon.
I’ve no reason to complain. Some people’s entire career is based on red tape. They can’t pick and choose when to do it. They just get up every morning, go to work and start churning out red tape. Undoubtedly, some find it rewarding. Some are naturally adept at it.
Since I write – there are those who say, “you know he writes,” with the same disparaging tone as, “you know he drinks” – I live “an essay-question life.” More live “a multiple-choice life,” and others live “a true/false quiz life.”
Better them than me.
It feels as if I’m starting a war with multiple fronts. There’s a fiction-writing front. There’s a songwriting front. There’s a planning front. There’s a communications front. This time of year, there’s an income-tax front. I’m my own private Eisenhower.