A few months back, someone stole my passport from my car. Yes, I know, what kind of idiot leaves a passport in his car, and apparently we all now know the answer. Point being, the looming international trip scheduled for the next lunar cycle is now causing me some serious angst. I am without proper documentation and my plane flight is practically taxiing down the runway.
Having filed the paperwork at my local passport office, I felt pretty content to wait out the 4-6 weeks it would take our government to print out fewer pages than one finds in a daily junk mailer. But Washington has a way of annihilating the simplest of tasks, and so, today’s mail from the State Department reads: The photo you have sent was not taken within the last 6 months and you must retake a photo and send it to the following address xxxxxxxx.
Except, the photo was taken four weeks ago and now I’ve just finished a phone call with the State Department trying to get an answer.
You ready? Because the brilliance of this response will give you the howling fantods.
“Clearly this is not a recent photo.“
“But the photo was taken just a few weeks ago.”
“Well, we will require another one as proof.”
“Proof of what?”
“That this is you.”
“But there was no date on my photo. How do you know when it was taken?”
“We don’t. But the person in this photo is not 44 years old.”
“Are you fucking kidding me?”
“I said you’re fucking kidding me. I have an already-paid-for trip to the Caribbean in less than thirty days and you sent my passport application back because you think I look too young?”
“Sir, we just require another photo.”
“And how long will it take to process?”
“I leave in three.”
“I’m sorry sir.”
“That’s simply not acceptable at this point. Because if I send you another photo, it will look the same.”
“Maybe you could do it right when you wake up so you look older.”
“Holy crap, are you serious?”
“No, there is no way this is serious. Am I on a radio show?”
“Look, I know you are just doing your job, but I really need some help here.”
“We can help you when you send in your photo.”
“But only if I make myself look old, right?”
“It would help.”
“Ok, I’ll send the photo. Do me a favor though. When you put it up on the post office wall for what’s about to happen, could you make sure they get my age right!”