Sunday, July 15, 2007

Absurdly Complex World

Is all this shit really necessary? I mean, really, really necessary? Or is it the case that our laws are created by lawyers as a way to keep the lawyering business humming? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Because Daniel is still in Minneapolis and his house closing was scheduled for last Friday, he signed a power-of-attorney form, and I did the closing stuff in his place.

I've only been through one house closing before. That was in 1971, for the house we still live in. Back then, Leonore and I were somewhat befuddled twenty-somethings, new to Denver and a bit frightened by what a big commitment we were making, and we thought we were just going to a title company office to, as the realtor had said, sign some papers. Holy cow! By the end of that loooong day, we were two stunned, bewildered, terrified, disoriented, broken-down sixty-somethings! No, wait, that's now. But we felt pretty stunned, bewildered, etc., then.

Closings have not improved in the last 36 years. Oh, of course there has to be paperwork. What's being bought and sold has to be properly described, and recorded for the state for tax purposes, and the details of the transaction have to be specified, and so on. And the same for the mortgage. But, being blessed with not being a lawyer, I cannot see why all of this requires so God-damned many pages and signatures and versions of the same thing. It's effing ridiculous.

It's nothing new, of course. I was reading a history of the Persian empire recently (cool stuff!), and it's remarkable how much of our knowledge of those ancient times comes from detailed contracts and lists recorded in clay tablets. Christ, I shouldn't complain. Those ancient guys had to do it all in cuneiform! Anyway, so if all of this survives, it will be of immense value to future historians from some alien civilization visiting the ruins of this one and trying to piece together how we lived. "Great Ungi, look a this, Grzlb! This is just as bad as the stuff back home!" "Yeah. You know, disgusting as these creatures were, it's hard not to feel sorry for them." "Oh, I wouldn't go that far."

Nonetheless, it sucks with teeth and it should all be done away with. We're not ancient Persians, and we're not record keepers for hypothetical future alien historians. A half-dozen succinctly worded sheets of paper should be sufficient. The current situation isn't proof of how advanced and complex our society is; it's evidence of how primitive and clumsy we are.


Lahdeedah said...

Did it occur to you this was, perhaps, a clever ploy on the part of your son, a way to get him out of suffering through the tortuous process?

David said...

Not my baby boy!

Actually, we knew it would probably work out this way. We weren't even sure if he'd be able to find a house during his limited vacation in town. Doing that and the closing was pretty much out of the question.

And next month, Dad is going to fly to Minneapolis and help load the truck in the August heat and humidity, and then drive the truck back to Denver. Parents! They aren't good for much, are they?

Daniel Dvorkin said...

My parents are good for a hell of a lot. Which you probably knew already. ;)