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Bureaucracy: Where YOU Pay the Stupid Tax - Live Like a Mensch
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Live Like a Mensch

Bureaucracy: Where YOU Pay the Stupid Tax

 

I have had my suspicions of the bureaucracy surrounding official records ever since J and I went to the Marriage License Department of the Ohio Probate Court back in 2008 to get our official marriage license.

After we handed over the necessary documents, the licensor asked us to each raise our right hand and swear that we were not:

a). Drunk

b). High

c). Kin

Okay, the language was more formal than that, but basically, they were simply taking our word for it that were of sound mind and unrelated. It left me wondering why they bothered, since there was clearly nothing they could or would do if anyone lied about it.

I was reminded of this ridiculousness recently after receiving Thing 2's birth certificate.

Because filling out official documents mere hours after giving birth is always an excellent idea, I found myself putting together all the information for the official birth certificate in the wee hours of Saturday the 14th.

When I arrived at the section requesting J's place of birth, I confidently wrote down Washington D.C., since that happens to be where he was born.

That was my first mistake.

Several days later, when we received the official letter confirming our request for a birth certificate from the Tippecanoe County Board of Health, J's birthplace was listed as "Washington State."

Depressingly, on the other side of the letter was the following statement: "Correction of any mistakes is subject to a fee."

J immediately went down to the Board of Health's office, where they tried to correct the mistake by claiming he had been born in Colombia--as in the country in South America. (Apparently, few people in our local Board of Health office are familiar with the District of Columbia).

Thankfully, J corrected this second mistake before the birth certificate went to the presses, and the bureaucrat who was "helping" him was kind enough to only charge him for the initial mistake. The mistake, if you'll remember, that they made.

Granted, it was a $10 charge, which is unlikely to bankrupt anyone. It's the principle of it that rankles.

And of course, just like the Marriage License Department, no one asked J for any proof of his birthplace.

We did, however, receive a reciept for the $10 fee.

In triplicate.

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