One of the local merchants in our town had his store’s annual fire inspection this week. Everything was found to be in order–except, said the inspector, “you haven’t yet paid the annual $50 fee.”
“I haven’t paid it yet because it’s not due until June 1,” said the merchant.
“All right, then–for the time being, I’ll write you up as being in violation for not paying the fee, and then when you come in and pay it, we’ll rescind the violation.”
“But the fee’s not due until June 1. That’s next week! How can I be in violation for not paying it, when it’s not due?”
And at this point the inspector cut off all discussion with the magic words, “Well, that’s just the way we do it, and that’s what they tell me to do. It’s policy.”
Do you ever get the impression that these people who tell us what to do, from the White House on down to your own town hall, aren’t quite all there?