Friday, June 08, 2007

Bureaucracy anyone

Thank goodness we live in America and don’t need to carry our papers.

Recently, I had the misfortune to lose my wallet. My fault. Apparently, I left it on top of the car before we drove away.

No big deal, right? Cancel the credit cards, get a new license.


I went to buy a car for my kid. Everything goes smoothly until finance guy asks for a copy of my license. I don’t have it, but fortunately, I had already run to motor vehicle and gotten a temporary license until the one with the picture arrived in two weeks.

Everything OK, right?


New York State Department of Motor Vehicles will not accept a copy of my temporary ID in order for me to get title to a car.

Wait a minute. They have my license on file. It’s not like someone from DMV is present to compare my picture to the license when I get the car.

And wait another minute. They just issued me a temporary license without my showing any ID at all. What gives?

So, I go home. Many calls to the dealer. Copy of expired passport with picture OK?

DMV says no.

Ah, I have a copy of my license from 2004, with the old passport and the new temporary ID. Good enough, right?

DMV says no. A picture of my license is fine, but must be from 2005 up.

What? Exactly what is the point of that?

Aaaah. The goddess Bureaucracy must be served.

With all this proof in hand, there is no possible way that motor vehicle can now doubt that I am who I say I am.

Do they care? No. My items have not added up to the magical 6 points of proof they require despite the fact that any thinking being can see that the purpose of the point system has been satisfied.

Of course, you can say, well you lost your license.

I know. Sorry, it doesn’t mean that all rationality should go out the window,

So, today, I took hours out of my day and went to get my birth certificate. I presumed they would be as bureaucratic as the DMV, but it was shockingly painless. That is the sad part -- I was shocked.

It just seems like everything is hard these days and that computers have added on so many layers of rust.


My brother had to get a police report. He called several times to try and arrange it.

Finally, he went down to get it himself.

He was pointed to the person from whom he could get the report.

But he wasn’t allowed to approach her. He had to call her first.

So, he stood on one side of the room and called her on his cell. He watched her answer. She took his order.

He was then able to go get the report – by walking across the room.

I’m not making this up.


Another friend called to say that he wanted to loan someone money who was about to be foreclosed upon. If he didn’t lend him the money to pay the bank, the house would be sold at auction and he would lose everything.

The problem is, a new state law prevents the transaction unless the borrower gets 5 days to cancel.

There were only two days until closing.

Violation of the law is a crime.

So, if the bank refuses to wait, then the old fellow will lose his home, even though someone is willing to lend him the money.

The law is meant to help the homeowner. What was that line about the scariest words in the English language: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”?


Anything to do about all of this? No. This is who we have become. Bureaucratic computer worshipping paper pushers.

People seem to hate it. Every day I hear (and make) several complaints about it. But no one really seems to want to change it. And as long as technology keeps progressing (and it will) these are our lives.

But it's still nuts. Probably always was.

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About Me

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I started this blog in September, 2006. Mostly, it is where I can talk about things that interest me, which I otherwise don't get to do all that much, about some remarkable people who should not be forgotten, philosophy and theories (like Don Foster's on who wrote A Visit From St. Nicholas and my own on whether Santa is mostly derived from a Norse god) and analysis of issues that concern me. Often it is about books. I try to quote accurately and to say when I am paraphrasing (more and more). Sometimes I blow the first name of even very famous people, often entertainers. I'm much better at history, but once in a while I see I have written something I later learned was not true. Sometimes I fix them, sometimes not. My worst mistake was writing that Beethoven went blind, when he actually went deaf. Feel free to point out an error. I either leave in the mistake, or, if I clean it up, the comment pointing it out. From time to time I do clean up grammar in old posts as, over time I have become more conventional in my grammar, and I very often write these when I am falling asleep and just make dumb mistakes. It be nice to have an editor, but . . . .