Friday, February 09, 2007

Are your papers in order?

Ve must see your papers!

It has been 16 years since I have had to apply for a drivers licence in a new state and what an eye-opening experience it has been, to say the least. The state of Florida started out by demanding to see my birth certificate and I immediately thought, "what pray tell does this have to do with operating a motor vehicle?" This was quickly followed by the need to produce my Social Security card, which by this time was getting me a little steamed at the wholesale intrusion into my privacy by the likes of the DMV. What exactly was their pressing need for this information in the first place?

All of the previous drivers permits that were issued to me in California, Georgia, Maryland, DC and Utah required no such proctological examination. I politely asked what was the need for all of these personal documents and the lady behind the counter said that they were "tightening up" and recently had become very strict about having identity papers well in hand before issuing licences to anyone. "WHY?" I silently asked myself. Was this going to make the highways and byways of the Sunshine State a much safer place to travel?

Again I asked the ether, "what does this have to do with operating a motor vehicle?"

Near the end of this ordeal they asked if I was registered to vote and I lied and said that I was. The last thing I want to do is register to vote! Are you kidding me? Why was someone at the drivers licence window asking me about that anyway? Had I accidentally arrived at the League of Women Voters office instead? At this point I was thinking to myself "things have really gone quite berserk at the DMV!"

Whatever happened to the good old days of an eye exam, an unflattering picture that highlights the bad side of your face and the requisite long wait in line to deal with a surly government clerk? Ahh how I nostalgically yearn for those long forgotten days of yesteryear when a drivers licence was just that and not the gateway to my innards. The days of Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford are looking better and better by the hour.

The good ol' U.S. of A. in the year 2007

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