Defining bureaucracy, courtesy of Mr. McGee

October has arrived, the month when monsters light up your television screen, haunt your neighbor’s lawn, and show up on your doorstep in miniature form asking for candy.

A nest of insidious monsters lives to the east of us here in the Shenandoah Valley. They are soulless, ever-growing beasts that have no sympathy for human beings. These ghouls are seemingly unstoppable.

I’m speaking, of course, about government bureaucracies, and I recently came across the best definition of them that I have ever heard, courtesy of Mr. Fibber McGee, of Fibber McGee and Molly, one of the most popular programs from the Golden Age of Radio. The particular episode to which I refer was broadcast in 1950, so the bureaucratic nightmare has been haunting us for a long time

Fibber has discovered that he is required to obtain a building permit for a building that is already built and he had this to say:

A bureau starts out to be a good looking, useful piece of furniture, but as time goes on it gets filled up with a lot of useless junk and gets so big for its own drawers that nobody remembers what it was designed for in the first place. By that time it’s so loaded down you can’t move it.

If truer words have ever been spoken regarding the Bureau of Virtually Anything in Washington, I haven’t heard them.

Please listen to Mr. McGee’s full description by clicking this link, then slide the play bar to time-mark 6:35. You won’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Fibber McGee and Molly

About Austin Gisriel

You know the guy that records a baseball game from the West Coast in July and doesn't watch it until January just to see baseball in the winter? That's me. I'm a writer always in search of a good story, baseball or otherwise.
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