Friday, March 19, 2010

Census Redux

It’s Here – It’s Here! I cannot believe it but finally the ACTUAL census form has arrived. I know I am impatient but it feels like it has taken 10 years to get here. Better still, it is not some ordinary ‘utility bill sized’ thing but a big, grown-up, 6 inch by 9 inch envelope with a plastic window in it.

Usually the mail’s importance in our home is ranked by exterior size. Little postcards are on the low rung and of little importance, followed by small envelopes and the normal size envelope majority that you see every day. The queen of envelopes is our census-sized letters, followed by the KING - the catalog sized flat which demand a high level of respect regardless of contents.

Oh sorry I got off topic – must be too much excitement? It’s just so overwhelming to get a REAL letter from the government rather than a letter telling me ANOTHER letter is coming. Anyway, the Census ... well it looks like it won the fight despite being black and blue all over. It actually folds out rather nicely like a menu. I kind of wish there were brightly colored pictures after each item like at Denny’s. Then I would not have to fill out anything, I could just point to my answers to the census questions.

Speaking of questions, there really are not that many. We were a little surprised that after all this work, there wasn’t a single query about income? I guess the government knows that after they get through with each of us, everyone will be in the same financial bracket as them – BROKE.

Right off the bat I was a little confused because the paper delineates who in my family NOT to count. I guess they assume my kid in college and the rest of my family in prison will take the time to fill out this form on their own? Fat chance – college kids won’t even take the time to VOTE and Prisoners are not known for executing their civic responsibilities with pride?

Next I could not remember my age and sadly my wife could not either. So we had to count backwards using BOTH hands. It was really hard because I am all thumbs at such things? There is a bunch of confusing stuff on race so I just skipped all of it and wrote-in “all of the above” because I am well bred. Question #10 then proceeds to ask if I live somewhere else sometimes like college or in a prison? WHAT? – I thought they specifically said I should not count those people back in question #1? It’s obvious, I am just not a good test taker.

The balance of the census is much the same except after 6 people living in my home, they quit asking about all the race stuff for the rest of my commune. I figure by ‘Person 7’ they’ll decide I’m lying anyway and will just throw out the whole form? So what if I mistakenly add a few people – what are they going to do sue me? Oh yeah I forgot, they also sent a form which says, my answers are SO CONFIDENTIAL, that law enforcement, tax collectors or lawyers cannot use them even under a “Freedom of Information Act” request for the next 72 years?

So if nobody can use any of the information by law – what’s this stuff for again? Oh that’s right - so we can ensure the People of the United States have a REPRESENTATIVE Congress! That will be a welcome change, considering the way our current Congress ignores our wishes and rams through budget-busting bills. You’d think, census or not, the way our government behaves now - We the people really JUST DON’T COUNT!

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