I got a rejection this morning but was too busy feeling groggy from too much melatonin to care. Physically, it felt like a sharp shove but then I remembered I had more important things to deal with today.
In any event, it’s probably time to tell you about my, uh, let’s say peculiar, family. Specifically, my mom’s side. Although our last names have changed due to marriage or fleeing oppressive regimes, we still refer to ourselves by our original Polish-Jewish surname– The Djaments.
If it’s not already obvious, that translates to The Diamonds. Maybe that explains some of our ego. The Djaments are known for their secrets drama, and it’s all fascinating. Some examples:
- My grandmother allegedly blackmailed my great uncle into getting my family out of Communist Poland and to the U.S.
- My grandfather and his twin once sued each other.
- My great uncle was a double-agent for the CIA and became a U.S. citizen by Act of Congress.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, folks. Which is why I’m writing a memoir on them (and bringing you along for the ride).
As a former bureaucrat, I’m most interested in the CIA angle, so I dug through their electronic declassified archives. I found a few scraps, but nothing especially interesting, so I filed a FOIA request. This shit happened sixty-odd years ago, so there has to be something for them to release. Of course, there are all kinds of exemptions that could justify them kicking my request to the curb, but I still wanted to try.
Let me explain to you exactly how much rejection has warped me.
A couple of weeks after I submitted my request, I got a letter in the mail. I had to laugh because they used Calibri on the most basic Office Depot labels and sealed the envelope with a thick splotch of brown packing tape. The laughter ended there because I realized this letter could be a rejection.
The usual somatic symptoms kicked in: sky-high pulse, tight chest, shallow breathing, etc. The goddamn CIA could say they were denying my request because of Section 34566333 of Obnoxious Law. In the long run, would it really matter if they did? No. But I have seen so much rejection I panicked because I didn’t want to hurt.
My spouse rolled my eyes at me and forced me to confront my neuroses. So I opened the letter:
And it was literally just an acknowledgment with a reference number so I could track the request online. Saved from rejection for the moment.
As an aside, can we take moment to laugh at the CIA’s letterhead? I know they probably receive thousands of FOIA requests all the time and just need to print something off ASAP to comply with the law, but come on. At my gov office, we had a little more pride in ourselves than that. Zhuzh it up a little, guys.
Anyway, that’s what’s going on with me and the CIA. I’ll let you know how things shake out and if they tell me to screw off.