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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Doing Time At The DMV

In less than two weeks, it will be my birthday.

Besides being another year older, it is also my turn to apparently, reverify I am who I say I am.

I'm talking about the renewal of my driver's license. I don't know how it is in your neck of the woods, but in New Jersey we renew our licenses every four years.

Now I know lots of cool things come in fours. Four leaf clovers. Foreplay. Seasons. Muskateers. Beatles. Unfortunately, a trip to the DMV is never associated with one of these things.

As if the renewal of a driver's license wasn't an annoying enough rite of passage, (up there with taxes and jury duty), New Jersey has gone ahead and kicked up the complication factor a notch. Yes, New Jersey sees your frustration level and they raise you. Because now, renewing your driver's license is no longer a simple process. You can't renew through mail and you can't just show up and pay your fee. No, you have to master the handy dandy 6 Point Identificaton Process.

In theory, I understand why they do this. I don't know about you, but I have people trying to impersonate me all the time. Thank God the DMV's of the world are trying to put an end to all the identity fraud. At the very least, the poor Freaky Friday people at Citibank can rest a little easier at night.

One glance at the phamplet and you realize that just like everything else in life, the Disgruntled Monsters of Vehicles Department of Motor Vehicles has managed to complicate something that is really very simple.

Some documents are weightier and worth four points. These are called primary documents and they include, but are not limited to: your birth certificate, your current NJ digital driver's license, a current or expired less than 3 years ago passport, a finger and/or the finger of your first born child.

Then there are 3 point documents including but not limited to: a divorce decree, a marriage certificate, a NJ firearm purchaser card, and five hunted animals killed with said firearm, uncooked and no less than seven days old.

Next up, two point documents: Basically this is any photo ID from any school, federal, state or government job. They also suspiciously accept photos with certain celebrities such as David Hasselhoff and Bea Arthur, but interestingly enough do NOT accept a photo that contains both of them. Clearly, my two point document was null and void.

Finally there are the one point documents which they clearly state, in bold print that you can not use more than TWO of. These documents include, but are not limited to the following: social security card, bank statement, high school or college diploma, a really, really good stand up routine, a recipe for chicken cordon bleu, a letter of recommendation from an elementary school teacher, and a "get one point free at the DMV!" coupon, courtesy of Chuck E Cheese.

But all math rules are thrown out the window when going to the DMV. See, they know you can bring in six, 1 point documents and still get six points, but frankly, they don't care. Because 1+1+1+1+1+1 apparently does NOT equal 6 like we've mistakenly thought all along. 4+2 still equals 6 and 3+2+1 still equals six. And in non citizen cases, 2+1+1+1+1 still equals 6, but not 2+4. So if you're adopted, divorced and from Bangladesh, God bless you.

So this past Saturday I decided to make the dreaded trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Lucky enough for me I'm not from the land of misfit toys. I still live at the same address and I didn't change my name-- though I have been toying with just "JANET" for awhile now. I am also still the same height, though mysteriously I was asked to confirm that information, too. Apparently a lot of people grow or shrink a few inches between the ages of 25 and 29, who knew?

Amazingly because of this, I walked away, new ID in hand in under 30 minutes. Which steered me to this conclusion: Maybe the DMV isn't such a bad place after all.

It's just the process that is enough to drive you crazy.



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