Tuesday, May 25, 2010

When is Your Birthday This Year?

Completely for national security reasons, and having nothing to do with decreasing the incidents of driving while brown, to get a driver's license the state now requires proof of birth (I'm not kidding) and two proofs of residence as indicated by bills that happen to indicate the same address.

Since I don't have a birth certificate, I was happy to see on the DMV website that a US passport was sufficient for proving birth. I grabbed my expired passport and the mail and headed off to the local branch.

The way it works here is you get in a single-file line to have your documents checked. The document-checking bureaucrat then issues you a "now serving" number. It's not as good as the appointment system in California, but it sure beats the CA method of handling walk-ins.

After standing in the document check line for an hour, it was finally my turn to spin the take-a-number wheel. First thing, the bureaucrat opened my passport and, mournfully, noted that it is expired.

"Yeah, but it's still me," I said. "I didn't expire with it."

"Yeah, but it's expired,” she explained patiently. “We have no way of knowing if any of the information has changed. Don't you have a birth certificate?"

"There's the rub. I can't get a birth certificate without a driver's license," I said. "But, how would a certificate from the '70s, with no identifying information about me, give you better information than a passport from the '90s with my picture?"

"Your name might have changed. Then we would have copies of the court order changing it."

I could see where she was going, but the route she's chosen has a bridge out. "But, I'm applying for a license under this name. If my name has changed since that passport was issued, I'm not going to give you those court orders, am I?"

Unconvinced, the bureaucrat delivered, I kid you not, the master stroke. "Well," she said in that grasping-for-justification tone, "your birthday might have changed."

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