Monday, July 16, 2012


July 16, 2012
You’re only one of a hundred mightily peeved folks crowded into the waiting room at the DMV’s new facility in Between. And just about everyone’s complaining this is at least the second time they’re sitting here, their hopes of getting a fresh driver’s license in serious doubt by now.
Or you’re calling about a worrisome question concerning your credit card. The conversation has been so tortured when, in a flash, you suddenly realize the person on the other end has actually been speaking English. And she’s not even one of those tongue-curled-into-the-palate English “speakers” in some faraway Asian call center. She’s an American in Alabama with enunciation so slurred and slovenly you can hardly understand a word.
Proof again and again that... (Put down that trumpet, Herald, and play a daffy out-of-tune fanfare on this kazoo!) we’re doomed! They’ve let the cretins into the control room.
It’s too late now, the imbeciles are inside and they’ve bolted  the door. Nothing works any more, nobody knows anything, nobody gives a hoot. If you care, if you display the slightest hint of common sense, you’re branded a snooty “Elite”.
Wifey’s at the DMV. She’s aware of the hurdles they’ve erected so to prove identity and residence she’s armed with every conceivable document except the tag off our mattress.
First visit: “No, ma’am, this passport is not an acceptable form of identification. We will also need your Social Security card.”
This entails a trek and another sit-down wait at Winder, because the original card is lost, issued so-o-o long ago (sorry, old girl, you’re still young in my eyes) that it’s in Latin. ‘Securitatem Socialis’.
Second visit: “Ma’am, this old driver’s license has a different address on it.”
“Sir, it’s the same house I’ve lived in for 20 years. Walton County kept changing the street number on us. They did it three times.”
 “I can’t accept this
“But you guys issued it. It’s your document. I can prove...”
“I’m sorry ma’am. And this birth certificate needs to be a certified original.”
 “The copy isn’t good enough? It’s OK for the government but not for you? How come it was perfectly adequate when they issued me my passport...”
“You got a passport?”
“Well, yes.”
“That’s acceptable.”
“What? That lady over there in the green told me it wasn’t, so I left it at home.”
“A passport’s OK.”
Of course the Lady In Green denies culpability. Ignorance is so ubiquitous that it’s become the norm and the perpetrators then abrogate their responsibility. “Me? No. Must’ve been some-other-body. Wasn’t me.”
On the third attempt the license is issued. Meantime, Wifey’s made more friends among the huddled masses – mainly senior Waltonians – who all complain of similar contradictory guidance. Oldsters have even greater difficulty jumping through hoops when the morons keep moving them. This time the geniuses at Homeland Security are behind all the confusion.
The rules for renewing your driver’s license have changed dramatically. Time was you could mail in your application together with the appropriate wampum and a few weeks later – bingo! - the new one’s in your mailbox.
Now? Well, let me first swallow a chill pill. Let’s see: Prozac, Valium or Ritalin? Eeny meeny... Nah, maybe a beer.
Not too long ago the Einsteins at Georgia’s Department of Driver Services had your Social Security number right there on the license. Despite that, not a single identity thief sent them a thank-you note. Ungrateful bunch.
Next they included your fingerprint.
Wifey back then at the Conyers DMV:
“Ma’am, yours doesn’t match the one we have on file.”
“Really? But I’m the same person.”
“The print isn’t the same, Ma’am.”
“That’s my picture, officer, and those are my details. It’s not my mistake. I still have these same hands.” (And behind my back they’re clenching and unclenching in total frustration).
Incidentally, Georgia’s DDS claim the millions of fingerprints they collected in this fashion were destroyed, but the federal government won’t give that same assurance. Did they really vaporize them? Keeping them would be highly advantageous as Big Brother’s the head of Homeland Security now.
Ineptitude is everywhere. The doofuses  don’t know but they’ll tell you anyway. Genuinely and blissfully ignorant of the job they’re being paid to do. Some, I’m convinced, don’t - or perhaps even can’t - read those Idiot Cards (as they’re called) that give the pre-determined answers to most people’s questions.
Instead they tell you what they think. Or think they read. Or heard. Or what might’ve come to them once in a dream.
It’s April 14 and I’m calling the IRS office in Atlanta.
“Oh no, sir,” insists the clerk. “Your payment and your tax return must be with the IRS by tomorrow. Mailing it at the post office on the 15th is going to miss the deadline and you will be penalized.”
“But ma’am...”
Have they changed the rules? A call to Vicki Gangi at post office elicits the correct information.
My friend Polo had to go pay $65 to correct a goof some official made on his birth certificate.
“This is the wrong name, sir.”
“I know. You guys mis-spelled it when you issued it. Now the inconvenience and the expense fall to me. “
The worst is when the knuckleheads try to make out their error is your fault, hinting your age could be the reason. Alzheimers schmalzheimers, my friend. I can out-think you guys with one arm tied behind my back. I still have all my faculties and I advise you to go get some for yourself!

© 2012 Fred Wehner is a journalist formerly with the Daily Mail in London, who then founded and ran the New York News Agency before settling in Monroe 21 years ago.