What a schmuck I am!
When I went down to the Customs House in Philadelphia to replace my active passport that my dearest-ex stole (and so much more) I filled out all the paperwork. This was a couple months back, as you may recall from one of my can-you believe-how-stupid-they-are essays in March.
I provided them ID from everything including my driver’s license and voter registration all the way to my stolen — but still three years remaining — active operative passport that they were able to call up from government records on their 2×4 foot computer screens.
Even things that were long ago supposedly expunged from my record were still openly floating by there — on the passport clerk’s flatscreen. But that sniveling, pusillanimous parody of parsimonious pathos was one of those miserable government cretins who enjoys nothing more than snuffing the light out of other folks’ eyes.
“Okay,” he demanded from behind a 6-inch bullet proof plate glass shield. “Now what proof do you have of your American citizenship?”
And… you… won–der… why… I… don’t… own… a… gun!!!
That was well over 11 weeks ago. In the meantime here is what has transpired that will make you better appreciate why duh government actually invites people to react crazier than a blind man in a gun fight.
Despite having my active passport on his computer screen, the youngish clerk insisted that I must obtain a copy of my birth certificate. He said his passport folks would e-mail and/or postmail the form I must send into the bureau of vital statistics.
I wondered out loud to him: Am I the first to need this? You don’t have the form on hand? You can’t push a button and e-mail it to me presently?!! Save a thousand steps and weeks of angst?
He smiled smugly and promised it would be forthcoming very shortly. “In just a couple days.”
I asked if I could have his ring finger — ring and all — as collateral. The fatuous promises of a civil servant who has nothing at stake are as useless as a Baptist virgin in a whorehouse. Because I needed to be in Kiev by May 15th – 11 weeks from then… That’s 77 days, for those of you who can’t balance your checkbook.
“That’s plenty of time,” he assured me.
Keep all the day counts in mind, if you will. The math is astounding. Leibniz and Newton may have invented calculus. But government created the art of nothing – as in, nothing ever adds up.
Ain’t it bootiful…
So, as you may recall, I paid him a $135 processing fee for the ‘security surcharge, book and execution.’ Another $15 for pictures Then there was parking of $22. And of course all my hours of time and aggravation as I was losing pay while waiting in line after being all but stripped naked by the insolent security men and their scanner just to get in the door.
Then, I waited for the form.
After almost two-and-one-half- weeks – or 16 days — I called an 800 number somewhere to the folks in national Passport central in Washington, or Maryland, or Virginia, or somewhere within the bureaucracy of the ever fattening big government cattle-car beltway where our incivil servants and pork-barreled congressmen don’t have to wait in line for nuttin’.
After being lost, and transferred and switched and ditched I finally got someone who looked up my passport progress report. She spoke in code while uttering: “They are still working on it…”
Some 13 more days afterwards I finally received the form in my e-mail. A simple, standardized blank one pager that I, and helpful techies, had trouble downloading.
This is what they were working on?!!
I also received a follow up e-mail, in a couple more days, of instructions and orders that were longer than the bloody application.
One bold-faced cautionary admonishment was that if the passport folks didn’t receive my birth certificate (or any other necessary documents) from me in 90 days (that is, from the day I entered the process at the outset of March) I would lose my money, my application and my place in the line of the undeclared dead who still have deadlines.
No doubt, I’d also be losing my tenuous, repaired heart gaskets of my erstwhile quadruple bypass surgery.
So I read and followed the instructions promptly and dutifully. I mean, I used to be married; I know how to follow orders.
I enclosed self-addressed stamped envelopes and money orders and every detail they demanded. Then I posted it directly with the clerk at the local post office.
And then I waited.
And waited some more.
After nearly six weeks. I had to research how to call them. When I finally located a number it was a redux of lost, ditched, mangled and unhitched government dim-witted conversations. So somehow I discovered a way to e-mail them.
And now you will lucidly comprehend why I will manifestly not die from old age or disease. I will be killed from leaping off a tall building because I am not a good enough shot to blow my bloody brains out.
A swap of many e-mails were exchanged. One early one, from a Margaret Matthews informed me, for the very first time, that the process of receiving my birth certificate will take 14 weeks. That is 98 days.
Remember now, from the outset I had 90 days to meet the deadline for the passport people. And I only had 77 days before I was to be in Kiev!
“Plenty of time,” the passport cretin had assured me.
This is obviously a government that somehow — through aberrant biological bureaucratese so deeply imbedded like a turgid tick up its rectum — is actually self-assured in reassuring us that wiping your butt is the same thing as getting a piece of ass.
So I e-mailed Margaret Matthews back and said this was unacceptable – especially at this stage in the game. That as an alternative to acting like a poster child for Planned Parenthood she should cease wasting time writing me notes. Instead, why doesn’t she just do her job: Expedite matters!
She forwarded our firm, but polite, exchanges to her supervisor by the name of Robin Carran.
Robin Carran notifies me first and foremost that she is the: Supervisor of Expedited Services, Unit of the Division of Vital Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health in New Castle, Pennsylvania.
Whew! Talk about a mouthful of moldy Swiss cheese!
And now she wants my name, rank, serial number and all the other numbers which I have already submitted in duplicate, triplicate, and so exponentially quad-triplicate that the government could print more paper money than the gold in Ft. Knox.
Hmm… Come to think of it, that’s what the government already does.
And the certifiably titled and crowned Ms. Carran now informs me that not only will it take 14 weeks (once more, that’s 98 days for you mathematically challenged) but that the starting line only begins “from the date your money order was cashed by our office.”
In return I responded:
“I have dutifully followed all instructions stipulated to me from the outset…. I doubt that you can recite the 10 commandments without consulting a Bible. And yet, you want me to know all the incendiary, arbitrary millions of government rules capriciously inflicted in your asinine small print that you post irregularly. This is all about as idiotic as duh former Homeland Security, daily, mood-color-codes to ring forth the danger degree of the day!
“It is your job to straighten out the constipated serpentine twists and hairpin turns in the name of government service. And NOT merely provide us something worse than a fatal disease.”
Then she informs me tangentially that “you may apply by a quicker method such as online with a credit card…”
Now, the powers that be, notify me of this?!
Why is it, pray tell, that people who are born stupid, will only go out of their way to work overtime to stay stupid. You can’t argue with fools and other bureaucrats: They only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.
I know that an education is when you read the small print. And an experience is when you don’t.
The trouble was from that moment months ago I limped into that Passport Office in the Customs House in Philadelphia on the one Saturday a year that it is opened on a weekend day, I couldn’t have seen the small print if I’d been looking through the Hubble telescope.
That astronomical technical wonder can see all the way past the ends of G-d’s universe. But it can’t see its way through the government fog of manmade, bureaucratic ineptitude….
As Einstein stipulated: There are only two infinite things – the Universe and human stupidity. And I’m not so sure about the first.
And dats yDrewIS on DIS penal colony.