Wednesday, March 05, 2008


ANSA) - Ferrara, March 5 - An 80-year woman was denied a national health card because, according to health officials, she had been dead for 25 years, the local press reported on Wednesday.

The incident took place at the national health office in nearby San Giuseppe di Copparo, where Ultimina Dalla Pria was told that their official records showed that she had been dead since January 1, 1983.

After recovering from the initial shock, the 80-year-old told officials that she was still quite alive and kicking and had no intention of dying.''But this didn't change anything.........

This ever so Italian charming idiosyncrasy reminded me of this wonderful passage from one of my favourite Camilleri stories, Excursion to Tindari.

They saved everything-letters, greeting cards, photographs, telegrams, electrical and phone bills, .................

There was even a copy of the "certificate of living existence", that nadir of bureaucratic imbecility. What might Gogol and his dead souls, have concocted from such a document?

Had a copy fallen into his hands, Franz Kafka would surely have come up with another of his anguishing short stories.

And now we had "self-certification", how was one supposed to proceed?

What was the protocol, to use a word dear to government offices?

Did one simply write on a sheet of paper something like: "I the undersigned, Salvo Montalbano, hereby declare myself to be in existence", sign it and turn it in to the appointed clerk?

Truth once again is stranger than fiction, and how could you fail to love a country with such a wonderfully eccentric system of government.


Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Easier to love, perhaps, from a distance. I recall the surprise of some friends of mine who lived in Rome that their monthly phone bill did not itemize charges, but just named a figure that the subscriber was expected to pay. That would make it difficult to protest a bill, I expect.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

11:03 PM  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Good god, it's no wonder existentialism flourished in France rather than Italy.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

12:36 AM  

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