Like the armed bank robber who admonished the bank patrons one sunny morning: If no one loses their head, no one will lose their head.
I had to remind myself of this last Saturday as I entered the U.S. Customs building in Philadelphia. It was the one and only weekend day of the year that passport services are conducted.
It is the way our government employees attempt to demonstrate that they certainly are here to serve us – which, of course, is reflected in their ample guaranteed wages, as well as secured benefits and perks we pay them to terrorize us when they aren’t providing services Monday thru Friday.
Anyway, since my ex-wife, Miss Stephanie Blatt, literally stole everything – including my passport – I thought I should go down and ‘just’ get another one on the one convenient day a year.
I mean, when my passport has been lost or stolen overseas I usually pop into the U.S. embassy or an expensive hotel. They look me up on the computer, ask a few personal questions to make sure I don’t have a bomb in my underwear, have me sign so little paperwork it would barely fill one of Victoria Secret’s bras, and then pay a fee that just about covers a nite in a five star hotel.
Good service doesn’t come cheap. Just ask your wife if she cooked enough for you to eat dinner, also.
But matters started out poorly the moment I walked into the federal stone behemoth.
The entire building was empty except for the passport office. It was located just on the other side of the metal detector, the conveyor belt and the strip and search sector that wasn’t just for aliens and other Native Americans who foolishly allowed the white man to emigrate here. In addition there were three security guards dressed in the de guerre of black fatigues. They also possessed an assortment of menacing armaments and pistols.
The one guard, with barely horizontal slit for a mouth, wanted to know if I had any sharp objects and such. Well, I said, I’d have to look in my man-bag. But, no doubt, I did have my nail clipper, and my penknife, and if I searched deep enough I’d probably locate a nail file, my two cigar lighters, my razor sharp cigar clipper… And, I wanted to add: an anti-tank gun. But these guys had all the humor genes of a couple of Southern Baptist who refuse to acknowledge each other in a liquor store.
The guard said I’d have to put the objects somewhere outside the building. I responded: You mean you don’t have some plastic trays and shelves to store this stuff for an hour? Like a coat-check lady? We spend all this money on abuse with no service? Hell, I could go back home and get that.
Another guard manning the conveyor belt felt it necessary to interrupt his ennui. He said: “This is a federal building. You ought to know the rules.”
I searched his face for some form of logic, if not animal, intelligence.
I should know the rules?
“Sir,” I queried: “Do you know who won the Soccer World Cup last year? Do you know what club Tiger Woods’ wife lofted him with? Do you know the square root of Pi. Do you know where Davey Jones is interred…”
“We all know stuff,” I explained. “But you don’t know ‘that’ stuff. And I don’t know ‘this’ stuff. So why don’t we all be a little more civil ….Otherwise I might make you sleep with my ex-wife.”
Hmm…. Youse gots to talk duh language.
So after I stored my weapons of mass destruction at a coffee shop directly across the street – at no cost or inanity — I proceeded to empty my pockets, take off my belt and remove all objects they deemed undesirable before I stepped through a metal detector. They only questioned my new Kindle Fire in my black man-bag.
I should have suggested they use it to read our Bill of Rights. But I didn’t need to be a bigger wise-ass than usual.
Then I merely strolled 8 tiny steps into the customs office to be greeted by two more uniformed people with guns that looked like they could blow your ears off even if they shot you in the big toe. They directed me to step into one of the lines leading to the thick bullet-proof teller windows.
And I mean thick. Those windows were thick enough to stop a herd of amok elephants madly dashing for the maiden in heat.
Somehow it ‘just’ doesn’t look like home anymore. Why is it that the misdeeds of the very few always end up ‘unjustly’ punishing the nearly 350 million of us Americans who are ‘just’ law abiding, taxpaying citizens? When did the 99 percent ‘just’ relinquish our rights to the perverts? Are we ‘justly’ getting the government we ‘just’ don’t deserve?
The clerk spoke very well through all that plate glass deterrent to my rocket launcher that obviously wouldn’t fit in my man-bag or my pant pocket. When he queried ‘What do you need?’ I was about to respond: $10 million dollars and a one-way plane ticket to a sunny island that doesn’t require a passport. The dork probably would have sent me to Guantanamo.
What in the hell does he think I need? Am I in the passport office to find a cure for my jock rash?
Finally I pulled my mouth back over my entire head and politely explained that my passport was destroyed by the conflagration set my ex-wife. I needed another.
He looked me up on the computer the size of those flat screen TVs.
Yep, there I was. Still three years to go on my here-today-gone-with-my-ex passport book. Picture and all. I mean, my entire life’s cornucopia, vitae, history, mother’s maiden name and my-life-as-a-jerk was spread before his beady little eyes. Everything even matched the driver’s license I provided him.
“Fill out this paperwork and bring them back with some photos,” he merely said.
So I filled out the paperwork while noshing on a couple of government provided cookies overdosed with all the sugar we probably once got from Cuba. I washed them down with coffee that had all the epicurean taste of my ex.
Then I went in search of photo snappers. The closer to the customs building the higher the absurdity. Tax plus $25 for anything within a couple blocks. A little farther down I stumbled onto a Walgreens where they snapped me for 10 bucks.
Upon returning I had to repeat all the rigmarole at the security clearance station. Kept my mouth shut there. I’ve been married. I can be trained. Then I proceeded to the same passport teller and handed him my paperwork and pictures.
He looked them over and compared them to all the information on the huge flat screen computer and my lost passport. Then, after he tapped the papers down and paper-clipped them he asked: “Okay, now do you have any proof of citizenship?”
Say what duh heck?!!!…
Where is my elephant gun when I needs it?!
With complete vexation I snorted: “You mean, like my driver’s license I gave you? My voter’s registration card I showed you? My still active passport that you have on your computer screen? Or perhaps my genital tattoo?…”
He furrowed his forehead at me through the 2-inch glass.
“Yeah. It’s for divorced guys. A society. Call ourselves DD’s. Dead Dicks. When we walk by we shake our tattoos. Want me to demonstrate?!”
He started patronizing: “Are we having a bad day?”
I pursued some logic: “Couldn’t you just take what you need from the information on my active passport now being displayed on your computer?”
After three of these pleas of logic he exhaled. He said that would cost another $150, on top of the $135 I already owed him. Of course, he didn’t add in the pictures, the aggravation, plus my time to be there – unpaid for, unlike his.
Wait a minute! Did he just say he could get all the information, plus proof I am not the mad Arab who failed to set fire to his bomber shoes, from the computer display of my existing passport?
He stood there with an intolerant, but somewhat smug, grin. He said what he wanted was my birth certificate. He would mail me the information on how to retrieve it. It should ‘just’ take about 6 weeks.
Duh? … Did he ‘just’ say he could get everything he needed by ‘just’ referring to my existing passport in the computer ‘just’ 8 inches from his eyeballs and ‘just’ 18 inches on the other side of me through this 2-inch bullet proof glass?
A misologist is an idiot that absolutely hates all logic and reasoning. A dead misologist means he finally got the Big Picture — one down, but 16 million still to go… As always
And dats yDrewIS on DIS penal colony…