And then the string said…

By Mir
May 24, 2006

My children love a good joke. And while I am delighted that we’ve (finally) moved past the knock-knock stage, it’s hard to know at any given time what sort of jokes they’ll like, or even get.

Our ongoing quest at the moment is to get Monkey to understand the string joke.

A string walks into a bar and says, “Bartender! Gimme a drink!”

The bartender says, “We don’t serve strings here! Get out!”

So the string leaves and goes outside. He twists himself up and makes his hair all messy. Then he goes back inside and says, “Bartender! Gimme a drink!”

The bartender says, “You were just in here, and I TOLD YOU, we don’t serve strings!”

And the string says, “I’m not a string! I’m a frayed knot!”

Monkey laughs and laughs and laughs… and then says, “Wait. I don’t get it.”

Perhaps you’ll understand why I was thinking about this, today.

I spent a lot of time on the phone this afternoon, because I’m thinking about switching insurance carriers. It’s not that I don’t really love and adore my insurance company, what with the big hike in my auto insurance after my accident last year (I know, I know; when they have to buy me a new car, they have to raise my rates, even if I wasn’t at fault) and the whole charging me an arm and a leg for my homeowner’s policy which does absolutely nothing, but I figured I would be a savvy consumer and shop around a bit.

So I made my calls and got some quotes and discovered that yes, I am being grossly overcharged on my home insurance. But I also discovered that the discount I’m receiving for being a longtime customer is counterbalancing the rate hike of having collected after a collision, and any company that doesn’t employ a spokeslizard isn’t going to be able to give me cheaper car insurance for a while. Hmph.

Having determined my options and vowing to think it over, I then called my current agent to make some modifications to my current coverage. He was clearly relieved that I wasn’t calling to bitch at him about being denied coverage for the flood damage. It went sort of like this:

Me: Ha! I bet you thought I was calling to complain!
Him: Well, you certainly wouldn’t be the first, this week.
Me: Heh. Sorry to hear that. Bad week to be an insurance agent, eh?
Him: Yeah, well, some people don’t understand that there really isn’t anything I can do, you know?
Me: Well, no worries with me. I know it’s not under your control. Of course, I still don’t really understand WHY the adjustor bothered coming out–
Him: They have to, if you file a claim.
Me: –but I get it, you know? I don’t have flood insurance. The adjustor said something about it being permissible if I’d had a failed sump pump, but of course, I didn’t have one.
Him: Right, and you know, for people with flood insurance it hasn’t been much better. Belongings aren’t covered, really, plus there’s a deductible that’s 2% of the house’s value, so I’ve got irate people with a $8,000 deductible!
Me: Oh noooooooo.
Him: Yeah. Let’s just say nobody likes me much this week.
Me: Heh.
Him: And the rules, you know, they’re just really specific.
Me: I can imagine.
Him: Like, flooding. It’s very specific. If you had a sump pump that couldn’t keep up, like the adjustor said, that’s equipment failure and that’s covered. Easy. Or if you have a drain, say, that backs up. If you had a drainage pipe in the basement floor, and that’s where the water came from… that’s backup, not flooding, according to the policy… totally different than seepage, see… and backup is actually covered. Or if you–
Me: Wait. WAIT. STOP.
Him: What?
Me: Back up. You, back up to what you just said about backup. It’s covered if the water came from a drainage pipe?
Him: Yep, that’s covered.
Him: … are you… sure?
Me: YES I’m SURE! There’s a drainage pipe in the middle of the floor, all of the water came up from there because the water table was so high. There’s STILL WATER there!
Him: No seepage from the walls, or leaking from the bulkhead?
Me: No. NO. It ALL came from the drainage pipe. I TOLD THE ADJUSTOR IT WAS THE DRAINAGE PIPE.
Him: Wow. Um. You did?
Me: Yes I did, I even SHOWED him, not that he could SEE it very well, because he stayed on the STAIRS, because he didn’t want to get WET. Fucker and his fucking nice shoes. Oh, God. Can we pretend I didn’t say that last bit?
Him: Heh, well, I can see why you’re upset. I’m… pretty sure that would be covered, actually. Let me look into it.
Me: WHY would the adjustor DO that?
Me: Nevermind. Obviously I know why an adjustor would do that. It’s just that, well, now I’m angry.
Him: Let me call you back tomorrow, after I look into this, okay?
Me: Okay. But, wait. Now we’re 10 days out, and it’s my word against his. What’s to stop them from saying the water came from a different source?
Him: Don’t worry about that. His report doesn’t name a source, and they can still send someone out to make a determination if they need to, but I think they’ll just accept it if I put it in.
Me: If they send someone else out HE’D SURE AS HELL BETTER BE WEARING BOOTS.
Me: I’m just sayin’.

I totally understand how Monkey feels.


  1. Patricia

    So, this is good news right? I might have missed it somewhere in all the screaming and anger — I want to be double, triple sure that if I rejoice it isn’t because we are hoping to ruin Ramon’s nice shoes.

    Still think you should have killed him, buried him by the shed and sold his shoes on ebay. But I doubt that would have helped your now covered claim.

  2. buffi

    HO.LY. CRAP! That is outrageous. Ramon needs some talking to, I believe. And by “talking to” I mean “beating about the head with a faulty sump pump.”

  3. Shiz


    Good thing you were chatty with your agent!

  4. shannon

    I keep telling my husband that it pays to be chatty sometimes.

    Glad to hear that Him was able to find out some information that Ramon obviously let slip out of his PEASIZEDBRAIN…and will hopefully be beneficial to you.

    okay, deep breaths.

  5. Cele

    So insurance adjusting is basically your glass is half empty / half full senario… depending on how you look at it. A woman did not make up those rules, you know that don’t you?

  6. Susan

    Oh for the love of . . .

    Please tell me that you really DID say that about Ramon’s shoes. Please.

  7. the Mater

    “Effing A!” Strong language is called for. You know I rarely use the word! The clod with the good shoes is getting paid to do this job?!! Must be nepotism.

    In meantime, I hope the phone adjustor can really back up (ooh, poor choice of words) what he said to you on the phone about the drainage pipe as culprit as covered as we made a mistake as you may get reimbursed anyhow.

    I have to sign off now as I’m breathless from typing that last sentence.

    Go get ’em, tiger!

  8. Bob

    “Fucker and his fucking nice shoes. Oh, God. Can we pretend I didn’t say that last bit?”

    I laughed so hard, I got phone calls from coworkers down the way wanting to know what was so funny. I’m still giggling.

    BTW, that is terrific news.

  9. Katie

    I don’t know how you refrained from throwing a bucket of swamp water on Ramon in the first place. Keeping my fingers crossed that the insurance guy cuts you a check!

  10. Kris

    Ramon better treat you right, because, well between me, my Kasha and Chickadee, we could really cause him some pain. (We know weapons now, too. Heh.)

    And you know, we’ve always got your back.

  11. Steff

    Some people…like me…dont have much hope…most of the jokes I laugh about I still do not get…but when I do watch out!

    Hopefully Monkey will not be like me! :-)

    Killed them with kindness and hopefully you will get some of your cleanup paid for!

  12. dad

    As Ramon’s friend Fernando Llamas once said “you’re looking fantastic.”
    I’d almost forgotten you were never one to just except “NO.”

    Does the period relly belong inside the quotation mark?

  13. lastewie

    The thing that would mess with me the most here is the UP and DOWN aspect! BOO! Water in basement! YAY! Insurance! BOO! Ramon! YAY! Drainage Pipe!


  14. ben

    Backup isn’t seepage. Got it.

    (this is good information. In case I ever find myself with a basement, ya know)

    Good luck, and if the fucker with the nice shoes comes back? Drown him in the septic tank. Well, that’s what I would do.

  15. Amy-GO

    Did you REALLY say HE’D SURE AS HELL BETTER BE WEARING BOOTS!? Because I SOOOOOOOOO hope you did. Amen, sister – I hope they send Ramon back out in WADERS and if he gives you any trouble you can just drown him. Heh. Stupid insurance companies call what they do a service – they ought to call it FRAUD!
    But YAY! If Basementgate is covered!

  16. DebR

    YAY that it sounds like your basement damage should be covered after all!

    Ramon needs to have something Very Bad happen to him. If he knows anyting about Karma, he and his fucking nice shoes should be afraid…very afraid.

  17. Stephanie Chance

    My dad told me that joke. I think his punchline was better and maybe easier for Monkey to get.

    After the string comes back in, the bartender says, “Hey, aren’t you that string I just told to get out of here?” And the string answers, “Nope, I’m a frayed knot (afraid not).” Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

  18. Dawn

    Mwa ha ha! Revenge on Shoe Boy! Excellent! And will you submit a formal complaint that the adjustor showed up to inspect water damage in leather shoes? That he wasn’t willing to get wet? Like the Girly Man he is… And didn’t really examine the site at all? That’s just stupidity of the highest order. He should lose his job for it.

    But if it turns out you are covered by insurance… WOO HOO!!! Fingers crossed…

  19. RSM

    I live right on the river – I pay out my ass in flood insurance – I fear for this every single time it as much as drizzles. I hate living on the river.

    Here’s hoping that everything gets covered…

  20. Aimee

    Well, color me cautiously optimistic! Yay!

  21. Jenn2

    I’ve got torches and a sickle. Grab you pitchfork.

    Say it with me…

    KILL RAMON!!! String him up by his expensive shoe laces!!!! Drown him in stagnant basement water!!!!

    Did you interrupt his complaining to mention you were blogging about this?

  22. Latte Man

    Not to put too fine a point on this as I am happy that you may have a happy resolution. But first, if you haven’t seen it, go rent The Rainmaker. Then never trust an insurance agent again. Always question and always challenge denials.

  23. Vaguely Urban

    I love how it was your pleasant interaction with the stressed-out rep who that opened the door to (we hope) coverage. Good for you, Mir!


  24. udge

    Oooh, that would be nice. Fancy the adjustor not mentioning that technicality in your favour, I just can’t imagine how it might have slipped his mind. Ha.

    Fingers crossed for you.

  25. Fraulein N

    What a fuckwit that Ramon is. At least some good might come of all this though, yeah?

  26. laura

    Now, come on, everybody. Ramon was just doing his job: screwing the policy holder.

  27. Ingrid

    See, I said you should have kicked Ramon (is it weird that I think Top Ramen?) in the sack! He obviously deserved it. Good luck with the insurance… I hope they don’t cancel you if they have to cover anything!

  28. Lena

    Are you sure you didn’t bribe him with a free DVD Player? ;)

  29. Kristin

    I think insurance is the worst invention of capitalism.

    Hope it works out for you in the end.

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