Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Is that a typo?

A while back I had to renew my ID at the Monterey DMV. The DMV is never a pleasant experience under the best of circumstance.  This time I was prepared with all the senseless red tape paperwork needed to easily get my ID and get the hell out of there. I was simply renewing my old ID which was issued in Connecticut. For the life of me I don't know why there are so many hoops to jump through for this. Especially when you are charged for something that you are required to have, and it's somehow considered a "privilege" (when it comes to operating a motor vehicle anyway). But that's a whole other story.

So I get to the DMV and wait in line to get my number. Yeah, I should have scheduled an appointment. Duly noted. After waiting for about 30 minutes I finally get my number called. I approach the counter, put on my best smile, try to act friendly etc. in hopes for this to go smoothly. To my surprise the lady that waited on me was in good spirits and was fairly friendly.

I handed over my old ID along with my required documentation. One of those documents was my "official copy" of my birth certificate. Now, here's something strange. I actually had my actual original birth certificate given by my hospital at the time of my birth - which they do not accept. I had an advantage though - I've dealt with this annoying situation before and this time came prepared - with a notarized copy of my birth certificate from a Montana court house.

As the lady looked over my older license and the forms I filled out, her face became a bit confused. She asked me to look at my old ID as well as the forms I completed. She then asked me specifically what my middle name was. I told her, it's 'Ralph'. My middle name is that of my Grandfather, although I've never been to fond of the name, it is what it is. The DMV lady handed me my "official copy" of my birth certificate and told me to read the middle name on it. I looked and it took me a moment, but there it was. Yep, a fucking typo. My middle name read 'RAPLH' (I hear it pronounced as rap-ll), not 'RALPH' (pronounced like the puke word).

For a minute there I wasn't sure if she was going to approve my ID renewal. She told me to wait as she got up and walked to another DMV employee. Asked her to look at my old ID vs my "official copy" of my birth certificate. She did, and said that she didn't see anything amiss. Then the employee waiting on me pointed out the middle name typo and they bantered about how no one other than the lady waiting on me would have been so detail oriented to catch that.

Fortunately it wasn't an issue in me getting my ID renewed - however, she literally had to enter my middle name typo as 'RAPLH'. She said the document was official and that that's legally my middle name. What the hell? I tried to lighten the mood a bit and said "well, I guess it's just a name..heh." She looked at me and started a long lecture about how names are actually very important and that they are "who we are and where we came from." Yeah, "I get that", I'm thinking to myself "let's get on with this." She snapped my photo and I was out of there.

The typo thing really got me thinking though. Basically, if a government official generates a typo on an official form, you're fucked (well, most likely until you go through the process of getting it fixed, which is probably a pain in the ass). It also got me wondering how many government employees have taken money over the years to generate a typo or change something on an official form. Or, how many walking typos on ID's are out there.

At any rate, as of this day my official middle name is a typo. Welcome to my world of strange occurrences.


  1. Pretty much a metaphor for our lives! Also a testament to how "together" our government establishments have it. :-p