Oh, happy day! It has finally happened! I have finally been able to prove to the knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing, unionized high school dropouts at the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles that I, your humble correspondent, do exist!
I have just received my brand, spankin' new New York State Photo identification card. The one I've been seeking like it was the Holy Fuckin' Grail for five years now. If you're not familiar with my trials and tribulations on this subject, you can read about them here and here.
I'll wait until you're up to speed....
Victory is mine! I can now do all those things that most people take for granted:
1. I can now get on an airplane or interstate train and freely travel the country. I can also re-apply for my passport so that I can (when the sure-to-be-bloody when-he-leaves-office Obamatard Counterrevolution finally begins) escape this country by applying for political asylum in one of the three decent nations left on this planet (sorry, Canada!).
2. I can prove to my employer(s) that I am an American citizen and have the right to work in the United States, as required by Federal law. Up until now, my fat belly, propensity to swear and horrendous Brooklynite accent have convinced employers to more-or-less dispense with this formality. I was so obviously American that they didn't much need proof.
3. I can now re-apply for my driver's license. Which I will, since Tess can't exactly walk everywhere like I do. I will now spend my time behind the wheel, making up for my lack of CO2 production over the last 16 years. Screw you, Treehuggers!
4. I can now apply for and actually attend (that is, I can actually get past security and enter the campus) college. Which I'm planning to do just as soon as possible.
5. I can now, proudly, respond to any police officer's request for identification with a card, a smile, and a hearty "Eat this, Motherfucker!".
How did I manage what appeared to be a near-impossible feat after so many attempts and failures?
Why, I've learned the first rule of defeating bureaucracies:
Give them a dose of their own medicine.
I overwhelmed them with paper.
That is to say, that on the final attempt to get this elusive identification card, I brought all of the following items with me:
Birth certificate, 3 utility bills with my name and address upon them, voter registration card, Social Security Card, a letter from a City Councilman attesting to my identity (on Official City Stationary), an insurance card, a library card, two employment rejection letters from federal bureaucracies on official letterhead with name and address on them, 10 years of tax returns.
And even then, I still had to get the office manager to sign off on it all. That is to say, I finally found an office manager at the DMV who has the same level of intelligence one would expect to find in a Jello mold, who was able to use her judgement that I wasn't an Al'Qaeda on a suicide mission.
I am now, at least according to the dim bulbs who populate the New York State bureaucracy, finally a real person.Notice, however, that before I was able to prove my personhood sufficiently to obtain a State Identification Card as proof of identity, they had absolutely no issues with taking my word for it come tax season.
Now, while I'm extraordinarily happy that I now have a valid piece of identification which the government will probably torment me with further in future, I still have one question which no one in their right mind and unconnected with the state bureaucracy has been able to adequately answer:
Why do I, a goddamned citizen who pays taxes which keeps all the bureaucrats and the politicians who leech off them employed, have to go through this five-year Odyssey of bullshit just to get an identification card attesting to my simple personhood?
The entire experience has convinced me that the best way to help America back onto it's feet once we've rid ourselves of the O-bomanation would be to starve The Beast. The Beast being government. Because it's apparent that government has gotten too big, too stupid, and too obnoxious for it's own good, and for damned sure, our's.
Otherwise, such a simple exercise -- proving your identity --wouldn't have become a Tolkien-like quest, with petty regulations acting the part of Sauron, and mindless bureaucrats filling in for Orcs.
However, I don't want you to think that having figured out how to play the DMV's silly game by my rules, all was smooth sailing.
After having my application approved and my photo taken, I was still obliged to 'take a number' and wait for a DMV agent to become available to accept payment for my new card. Which meant I had to wait almost 3 hours to pay the $10.95 fee, and I get the general impression that I had to wait that long only because the one window with an English-speaker was mighty busy. Had I the power to speak Szechuan, Hindi or Arabic, if I had darker skin or perhaps breasts, they would have taken me right away, I'm sure. Because half the Third World and every single mother with four kids by five fathers in New York went by that window before I got my chance.
Which sets up quite a puzzling situation, if you think about it:
The amount of proof of existence you need to get this simple little card indicates that the DMV makes it as inconvenient as possible in an effort to get rid of you. Because, let's face it, if it's all an exercise in futility most people will simply give up and go home, and that's less work the DMV critters have to do. However, display a bit of perseverance, and for some reason, they have to make paying for the service as onerous and boring as possible. Like it's punishment for daring to force them to use a rubber stamp.
Does this make sense to anyone? I didn't think so, either.