Monday, May 30, 2016

Boys in uniforms

Yes it's Memorial Day. I remember well marching down Main Street in Hackensack proudly wearing my Cub Scout uniform. A few years later I marched down Main Street in my Troop 5 uniform. In high school I was in band and wore a marching uniform while attempting to play the trombone.

My brother did the same. One year,  having finished my gig at the parade, I watched the high school band play before the court house. It must have been hot because a girl in the band fainted. Then two of the ponies fainted. It's the one thing I remember about those parades.

One year, my father put on his VFW uniform and marched in the Bogota Memorial Day parade. Then he went to the VFW and, according to my father, ate six hot dogs, and according to my mother drank far too much beer.

That night Dad was a little tipsie and my brother and I did the honors on the grill. The folks bickered a bit and the old man slept on the couch downstairs. Memorial Day in America.

Now as an adult I don't get to wear a uniform, march in a parade, or even go to a hall. I am now a civilian. I wish I was a fireman or a policeman. They have all the fun.

Editor's note: A pony is an attractive high school girl who wears a uniform, carries a baton, and adds flavor to the day.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Where do you go to the restroom?

Right now there is a big debate going on in this country about where transsexual people should go to the bathroom. Apparently in the South there is a belief that the bible spells out that men have to go to men's rooms and for ladies, women's rooms.  Just like the bible spelled out the need for colored bath rooms in the fifties.

I have come up with a tentative solution to the issue but it involves a new government agency, perhaps one that could be funded by a tax on toilet paper.
When a child reaches their fifth birthday, more or less the time when parents can no longer bring opposite sex children with them in the restroom, they would go to the Motor Vehicles bureau. The child would lower their trousers and a photograph would be taken. After analysis by the staff a swipe card would be sent to the family with either a blue or a pink color.

When people go to the restroom they would swipe their card at the door. If the sex of the facility matched the sex of the person, they could enter the room.

If someone wanted to change their sex, they would go back to Motor Vehicles, lower their trousers, and a clerk would determine their sex. If they didn't like their designation they could have their case adjudicated, and a determination would be available within six months. It's amazing how government intervention can solve the most difficult of problems.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Getting your license renewed

For the second part of my trilogy starting with waiting for the blood test I now move onto getting your driver license renewed. In a presumably safer and pre terrorist world (the world the Republican nominee says he can bring back) you could mail in your drivers license fee and get a new license a few weeks later. New Jersey, unlike most states, didn't have pictures on the licenses and everybody was as happy as clams with the arrangement.  

Then we entered the 21st century and everyone became security conscious and now most of us have to schlep down to motor vehicles to get a new picture and present proper credentials. Choosing which identification to use is sort of like a group dinner in a Chinese restaurant. You get one from column A, one from column B and one from column C. Those of us with passports like to use them (to show off) and state employees like to use their state id's. The people at Motor Vehicles seem to like the state id's, choosing mine over my passport. 

But here is where I experienced the shock of the new. When you go in a receptionist asks you for your phone number. They will then update you via text message on how soon it will be before you are called. I was 20th century, and, not thinking, gave them my home phone number.

Even not using this feature I did get to look at the screen and it listed the last four digits of every one's phone number and an approximate wait. I could follow my progress from an hour and ten minutes to zero minutes. I heard my number over the intercom, happily walked to the driver ID booth and had to wait for her to get through five other people. 

Getting through that I thought I would then walk to the picture booth but I was disappointed. I was told to go back to a seat. I looked at the screen and found out I had another hour to wait for the final step. 

This last bit went faster though, and soon I had a new picture, paid my twenty four dollars and got (a bit slowly I thought) a new picture driver licence. I don't look bad, grumpy, but not bad for an old fart. 

Editor's note: It's not often you get the shock of the new in a government agency. The blood test people should put in such a system.