Wednesday, August 21, 2013
In August of 1993 I got an American passport, number 053587520, in the name of Ronald Gail Helfrich Jr. I renewed my passport in 2003 and had suddenly become Ronald Helfrich in that passport, number 208900656. I didn't think a thing about this because I answer to the names Ronnie, Ron, Ronald, Ron Helfrich, Ronald Helfrich, Ronald G. Helfrich, Ronald G. Helfrich Jr., and Ronald Gail Helfrich Jr. These are all permutations on my name. Duh! And hey, if taking out the Gail and Jr. from my name was OK for a bureaucracy of the American federal government it was fine by me. Ronald Helfrich like Ronald Gail Helfrich Jr. was my name after all.
But there was a problem with me using my passport for identification purposes in the hyper surveillance paranoic post 9/11 world. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles in all their bureaucratic and legalistic stupidity wouldn't accept a passport with a name that differed from that on my Texas Driver's license, Ronald G. Helfrich Jr. and my social security card, Ronald G. Helfrich Jr. So I dutifully filled out the passport renewal form, put my name, Ronald Gail Helfrich Jr. on it, sent the Department of State a copy of my first passport which had Ronald Gail Helfrich Jr. on it, sent them a copy of my social security card, which had Ronald G. Helfrich Jr. on it, and sent them a copy of my birth certificate which had me as Ronald Gail Helfrich Jr. And what did I get back from the legalistic idiots at State? I got a letter asking me for an affidavit of name change and telling me I had to fill out an application for a US passport, telling me I had to have individuals indicate that Ronald Helfrich is Ronald Gail Helfrich Jr--this is the level of surreal nonsense practised by the dipshit gobshites at State--and telling me I had to send them more money, $25 bucks. Apparently the idiots at State don't realise that Ronald Helfrich and Ronald Gail Helfrich Jr. are one in the same person. Nor do these dipshits realise that they are the ones that changed my name from Ronald Gail Helfrich Jr. to Ronald Helfrich in the first place. If this were a Goglesque and Bulgakovian Russian satire these two would be doubles of one another with one, Ronald Helfrich, working at the Department of State where he is causing the other, Ronald Gail Helfrich Jr., all sorts of bureaucratic headaches.
Well done US Department of State. You are the biggest bureaucratic legalistic idiot fuckheads without a sense of common sense I have ever encountered. I hope you appreciate my award for you are indeed well and truly the Pharisees, scribes, and hypocrites of the new millennium.
Postscript: So I asked the arseholes at State to contact me by email about my issue and they, of course, called my pay as you go phone instead. I wouldn't have a problem with this except that I have, as I said, a pay by go phone and I prefer email because of this. Anyway, this gobshite at State named Rebecca called and she tells me that though they changed my name in 2003 from Ronald Gail Helfrich Jr. to Ronald Helfrich they can't change it back to the original unless I jump through their idiotic hoops and send them affidavits that Ronald Helfrich and Ronald Gail Helfrich Jr. are one in the same--I am not making this up, dear readers, I couldn't make anything this surreal, absurd and just plain stupid up--something that is obvious to 99% of the population, and more money. State, of course, in classic blame the victim fashion blames me for this "mistake" since I filled out the form with Ronald Helfrich in 2003. When I asked why they allowed my name to be changed in 2003 but not now in 2013--I filled in the form with Ronald Gail Helfrich Jr. this time--they said they couldn't but offered no credible explanation as to why they did it in 2003 but can't do it now. Apparently, I am captive to the petty stupid ass whims of an arshole government bureaucracy that, ironically, wants all our documents to be consistent or, and this I suspect is more likely, I am captive to a bureaucracy that can't admit it fucked up in 2003.
Postscript Two: So I told the arseholes at State that I wanted my monies back. They said no, all fees are forfeited. If I did something like this my arse would be hauled into court for theft. Needless to say government theft isn't called theft. It is called forfeited fees. Wish I could get away with that. Hell I could live off stolen, err, forfeited fees.
Postscript Three: My letter to State
Hello you petty arse play by the inconsistent rule book wankers at the Passport division of the Department of State. My legal name is Ronald Helfrich. My legal full name—as you know those of us in Western countries have first names, middle names, family names, and , in my case, a Jr/Jnr because I am named after my dad— Ronald Gail Helfrich Jr. Aren’t semantic games wonderful? Anyway, in August of 1993 I got a passport, number 053587520, in the name of Ronald Gail Helfrich Jr. I renewed my passport in 2003 and had suddenly become Ronald Helfrich in that passport, number 208900656. I didn't think a thing about this because I answer to the names Ronnie, Ron, Ronald, Ron Helfrich, Ronald Helfrich, Ronald G. Helfrich, Ronald G. Helfrich Jr., and Ronald Gail Helfrich Jr. These are all permutations on my name. Duh! And hey, if taking out the Gail and Jr. from my name was OK for a bureaucracy of the American federal government it was fine by me. Ronald Helfrich like Ronald Gail Helfrich Jr. was my name after all.
Since you allowed me to change my name once without any documentation I might add—I assumed you knew then that Ronald Helfrich and Ronald Gail Helfrich Jr. were legal variations on my name—there is no reason you can’t change it back to its original form. Hopefully common sense has not disappeared at State since then. There should be no problem doing this since I sent documentation when I sent in my renewal form, specifically my ss card, my birth certificate, a photo of passport 053587250, showing conclusively that Ronald Helfrich was and is Ronald Gail Helfrich Jr. That I did this shows how surreal, absurd, Kafkaesque, and Voinivichean all this bureaucratic masturbatory bs has become in the US.
I wouldn’t care way or another about my name on the passport as long as it has some variation on Ronald and Helfrich in it but the idiotic bureaucracies of the US in all their anality do. Therefore, I prefer it to have the name Ronald Gail Helfrich Jr, just as it was on my previous previous passport, for consistencies sake. If you are too petty to do the right thing—I suspect you wouldn’t know the right thing if it kissed you on the lips--send me a passport just like my previous one.
Ronald G. Helfrich
Ronald G. Helfrich Jr.
Ronald Gail Helfrich Jr.
Yada, yada, yada
Postlude: So out of the blue I received a priority post package from Passport at State and lo and behold it had my renewed passport in it with my correct full name, Ronald Gail Helfrich Jr. I don't know why they changed my mind. My whinging? Letters I wrote to my congresspeople? A soul at passports was sensitive to my kafkaesque plight? Whatever the reason it was a relief. Unfortunately, I got the passport just after I mailed my old ones back to them so now I have to wait for their return. Beyond this problem there is another problem with my brand spanking new passport. State didn't put the city I was born in on the passport. I don't think I will return it because god only knows what might happen if I did. So until next time a bureaucratic nightmare comes along that I can blog about I bid you adieu dear readers.