Al Capp was a genius. And he knows precisely how it goes. And no one describes it better. Storm clouds float directly over my little square head (I am a Midwestern German-American, and they all have cubes for heads… both literally and figuratively.) Anywhere I wander, disaster surely follows. The last few days have been an absolute and unrelenting disaster. And I can’t tell you all the details because it would compromise other people’s privacy. But I can say that no lightning stings worse than the lightning bolts thrown by aggressively profit-conscious health insurance companies. I will not name the hated company here because they will surely raise my premiums, but I hate them with a hatred more hateful than red-hot iron-grate-hate. I went to a doctor’s office yesterday, a doctor I was seeing for the first time because the new insurance company handling retired Teachers in Texas didn’t like the old doctor. The old doctor was too good and got paid too well for insurance to approve him. So I asked them to recommend a new doctor, a specialist of the right brand to replace the old doctor. They gave me a name and I made the appointment. I was told this new doctor was in-network. I got there and started filling out a small hill of paperwork that required all my personal numerology and the atomic number of several specific elements… and my shoe size. (And this was not a foot doctor.) As I was littering the doctor’s office with filled crossword puzzles of numbers, hard-to-spell drug names, and private information, I was called up to the receptionist’s desk and informed that the insurance company said that while the doctor was in-network, she was not in-plan. The specific plan I bought (chosen from a list of one) only uses doctors associated with Baylor Hospital in Carrollton… and this new doctor was associated with Methodist Hospital in Plano. I could only see this new doctor if I paid 100% of the fee. Being an independently wealthy retired school teacher on a fixed income, I had to decline that honor. This of course is not the only hyoomillagration (Popeye’s word for it, not mine… another explanation that requires another post and another day) that the last few days would bring. Having half a year’s salary as a working school teacher and half a year’s salary as a doddering retired person fully capable only of puttering and nuttering, the income tax situation tipped heavily in the government’s favor.. I had to pay almost $2000 dollars on the taxes that I filed through Turbotax on Monday. I was proud of getting the taxes done early, but saddened at the sudden deflation of my savings account to the condition of totally-flattened-balloon-hood. Worse yet, Turbotax sends bills under the name INTUIT, which I didn’t recognize on my bank statement. It took the Wells Fargo fraud expert all of ten seconds to figure out the mistake I made, which was two minutes and ten seconds after the previous banker I had talked to irreversibly closed my bank account and issued a new bank card and account number which will take two weeks to come in the mail. Now I couldn’t pay that doctor even if I wanted to. And there were other things biting my bum as well. The electronic car key is out of battery juice and I must now unlock it by hand. The dog is currently on another in a long line of poop-and-pee-in-the-house-sprees. I have a benign growth on my back that the other doctor I actually got to see this week says needs to come off by next week. It is hurting constantly and keeps me from sleeping. I am Joe Btfsplk this week for no reason that I know of and mad wizards are persecuting me relentlessly.