The unthinkable happened: I had to fill out a five-page document in long hand. Said document was not computer friendly and, much to my chagrin, I discovered not friendly at all! After uttering some unpublishable words, I called the sender asked how in the world was I supposed to fill this out.

She said matter-of-factly, “Dear, just print it out, fill it out and fax it back to me.”


First of all, I didn’t like the “dear” thing — a tad too condescending. Trying hard to suppress my annoyance I retorted: “What century are we in?”

“Dear” (Again!) “We are revising these forms to be computer compatible; they will be available online soon. Is there anything else I can help you with? ”

OK, my Sicilian blood was starting to boil; but boiling blood aside, I had a client who needed these forms filled out— and now!   I did what Ms. Condescending suggested, I printed them out.

As they were spitting out of the printer, I immediately noticed these words atop the page in bold letters: “Please print in black ink.” Print? Black ink? Jeez! I keep hand-written journals that are written with colored ink. And besides, I’d wager that no one, not even me at times, can decipher what I wrote. Maybe that’s a good thing! I would be up to my neck in hot water if others could read my thoughts. But I digress…

Sorting through my pens at home, I found plenty of blue pens, but not one filled with black ink. I drove to the office supply store and purchased a card of three black ink retractable pens. Finally, I sat down and started filling out the forms.

Sounds easy? Think again…

Remember my aforementioned journals and my penmanship skills, or lack thereof? Well my printing is even worse. Poor Sister Cecile de Marie is probably scowling from heaven (she scowled while here on earth and I doubt she has changed.) Sister spent many hours teaching us the nuances of fine penmanship. A stand out memory is that of Sister teaching us to make circles. Clearly, practicing circles was an exercise in penmanship; I thought it was an exercise in stupid. Maybe I should have paid more attention.

Back to the forms. I got to line three, part A, when I made an error. Ah, yes, no white out allowed either. Did I mention that? I had to reprint page one and start again. I did this several times during the afternoon.  I am embarrassed to reveal how many hours it took to fill out the document, but, suffice to say, I could have gone to see a movie….twice.

At long last, the forms were finished, faxed over, my client was happy and I got paid. However, I never mentioned how many hours it took to do this simple task rendering me woefully underpaid.  I let it slide: You win some; you lose some, that’s life.

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Iannelli Celia 2014

Celia Iannelli is a native New Yorker enjoying a second career — in ‘retirement’ — as a freelance writer. She lives in Jamesport.

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Celia Marszal-Iannelli
Celia Iannelli is a native New Yorker enjoying a second career — in 'retirement' — as a freelance writer. She lives in Jamesport.