Our Tax Dollars at Work

The Curmudgeon recently found himself in need of a passport. To get a passport you need a birth certificate. Fortunately, The Curmudgeon has an embossed copy of his birth certificate, knowing that only embossed copies are valid for “official”identification purposes under many circumstances.

Alas, it was not good enough. Once upon a time, a valid birth certificate only had to have your own name on it; now, it needs the names of your parents as well.

He needed it for some business in December, and after visiting the web site of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the birth certificate-issuing agency for his native state, he immediately filled out an application for the now-appropriate version of the birth certificate, enclosed a check for the required amount, and sent away for his new birth certificate. That was on July 14. The state’s web site said it would take four to six weeks for his birth certificate to arrive, so The Curmudgeon thought he was on pretty solid ground.

Four weeks passed.

Six weeks.

Eight weeks.

Ten weeks.

Eleven weeks.

The Curmudgeon checked his bank statements; the check had not been cashed.

Fortunately, work took him to Harrisburg, the state capital, where the office that issues birth certificates is a three-minute walk from the train station, so a brief detour from his day’s work enabled him to apply for a birth certificate – again – that arrived at his door just a week later.

And he forgot about the failed application.

Until he returned home from the trip for which he needed the birth certificate.

And found it in his mail, postmarked December 26.

Merry Christmas!

And it only took 22 weeks.

Way to do a job, Pennsylvania Department of Health!

 

 

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