Having joined the 30,000- Joules club three times in 90 seconds one morning (and graduated), my perspective on life is probably different than many of yours. As near as I can tell, I’ve used up 6 of any 9 potential, mythic lives and my 24&More® DNA test shows I’m barely 10% cat… so I have that going for me, too. It’s positively glorious to be alive. Greeting the morning is as exciting as childhood Christmas Mornings, your first 8X7-point buck, or that fond memory of the perfect 40 Mike Mike from your thumper down the throat of that moron gook sniper that had been been bugging you all Thanksgiving afternoon back in ’68…. all rolled into one. Mostly, being alive really beats the shit out of the alternative.
Nowadays, I spring out of bed, grab the coffee and crank up the VBMS to see what havoc and dismay I can create. I’ve discovered you can click on “Claims” up in the upper right and then click on “Go to Work Items” in the upper left of the next window and view a DRO at work on a document such as a SOC in real time. I can even view it before it comes out as a pending decision that gives you that mythical 3-day window for a VSO-requested “reconsideration”. Yes, Virginia, reconsiderations are real. I’m told attorneys and agents are forbidden to request a recon, but then again, I was told my request for access to VACOLS was never going to be permitted. Ruh-ohhh, Rorge. Gee , don’t tell anyone.
In VBMSland, you’re either an eeeeevil attorney sucking money out of a Vet’s wallet or you’re a kind, stupid, benevolent, harmless VSO. VA personnel don’t know how an “agent’ fits in. Most think we’re some kind of SuperVSO and let us wander about unhindered. There are only about 360 in the system. Hence what appears to be my ability to engage in reconsiderations. In fact, they are appalled when I refuse to file a VA 646 Statement of Representative before referral to the appellate level. I told my CMA here in Seattle, Tina, it’s like signing the terms of surrender or a Catholic Priest’s final confession. I turn it into a supplemental answer to a SOC and make them issue a SSOC if I’m out of sorts. Otherwise, it’s a 26-page VA 9.
There’s no consistency in VBMS. In Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit and a few other ROs, all my decisions announce me as an attorney. What the hey? Everything coming out of the BVA is that way too. I didn’t get a pay raise with the promotion but I’d do this for free if I could get Lt. Dan or Jeff Bezos to finance it. Imagine, a free Vet’s law clinic and we’d buy the IMOs ? Would that be too cool for school or what? We could break VA’s budget in six months and create some serious backlog.
After ten years of this, I virtually have to put up the best stuff sent in by my membership annually. Remember, no membership numbers, no dues, no requirement to have fought in a war to join (like VFW). Nothing. Maybe it’s time for asknod bumper stickers with a Green and White background like the VCM? I declined advertising as we don’t want the money or the Viagra commercials. Besides, WordPress would slam me with other NOVA attorneys’ advertisements.
Here are a few of you folks’ most priceless- old and new over ten years. Keep sending them in. Yeah, some are photo-shopped but so what?
Happy, Happy Happy. And still alive after all these years. And let me put you all at ease. I have an onboard AED now so I’m bulletproof.
Hold on to your hats. Rumor has it Chevron Deference is soon to die a long-overdue life. With the new Supreme Court lineup, its days may be numbered. And you heard about it here -just as you did about the Fully Developed Appeals Program (FUDAP) 2.5 years before VA dreamed up RAMP. I don’t get no respect.
P.S. I was talking to another Vietnam Vet the other day in the local Cheapo Depot™ about “stuff” and he asked for my card. Get out of here, Dude! You’re asknod? Shit, oh dear. Somebody’d heard of me out there in the world. What a hoot. He asked me to add comatoast to the Vet’s Dictionary. I did. I added Pig without being goaded. I had forgotten that nickname over time.