Monday, 14 January 2002

Today, I hate the world. I hate everyone in it…at least the ones working for the State Department of Health.

Now that I find myself looking for work, I also have to be concerned with filling out new-hire paperwork when I actually do find a job. The I-9 form is especially annoying because it requires a photo ID and some proof that you’re entitled to work in this country: citizenship papers, work visa, social security card…that kind of thing. But I don’t have a photo ID.

It’s a long story, but I don’t drive. My license expired roughly two years ago and I never bothered to renew it because I have no interest in driving. In the mean time, the ID card itself has gone missing. Best thing for my purposes is a state ID card. There’s paperwork involved, but no written or road test.

In Minnesota, when your license has been expired for more than a year, you have to start from scratch and, like any good beuracracy, they don’t make it easy. There are several possibilities, but for me the best option was going to be a certified copy of my birth certificate and my social security card. All of the other options were things like a passport or military ID. Now, if I had one of those, I wouldn’t need the state ID card, would I?

Then again, I don’t have a copy of my birth certificate, let alone a certified copy.

Through the State Health Department’s Web site, I figured out where to go. They made it seem like you just went in, filled out a form and got the certified copy of the certificate. Easy. I could do that and stop off at the DMV to fill out that paperwork on my way to work.

Once I got to the office, the folly of my endeavor became apparent. The form required every imaginable bit of information regarding my birth: name of parents, mother’s maiden name, birth date, city and county of birth and so on. When I handed the form to the registrar, she asked to see a photo ID. You know, the very thing that brought me there in the first place. I explained the situation but she wouldn’t budge and didn’t really see the fault in the logic.

Finally, she volunteered an alternative. Bring in someone I’ve known for over two years with their photo ID so they can vouch for me. They’re only open from 8:00am – 4:00pm, which means not only do I have to take more time away from work; I’ll be causing someone else time away from their job as well. Luckily they’ll be open Monday (Christmas Eve) and the day after Christmas, so I might be able to get a friend or someone in my family to help me out. But that still meant it wasn’t going to get done today.

I have a silver card case that holds my credit card, a couple business cards, and today it also held my social security card. When I got to work I discovered my card case was missing. I don’t normally carry my Social Security card, but had my original plan actually worked, I was going to need it at the DMV. I was freaked out. If getting a certified copy of my birth certificate from the state was this hard, imagine how painful it would be to replace a lost Social Security card. A frantic call to the Health Department confirmed I had left it there. Great. While my current nightmare was over, it meant another trip down there without completing my original mission.

Luckily, my boss (of over two years), offered me a lift back to the health department so I could retrieve my card case. He also volunteered to vouch for me. Excellent! At least I could get one thing done today.

While everything more or less worked out in the end, I understand why people go postal.

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