I have just returned from renewing my West Virginia driver’s license for another five years. I originally took my test and passed it in Pennsylvania in 1963 but have held a W.Va. license since my permanent return here in 1974.

Long gone is the easy renewal process when you simply returned the renewal card and appropriate fee to Charleston and had a new piece of cardboard by return mail.

Pretty soon it adopted a photo requirement which meant that you had to go to some official branch of the DMV to have that taken. In the process you were asked two questions:

1) Have you had a moving violation in the past year? To that I answered, no, ask my wife.

2) Have you molested any sheep within the past six months? To that one I always lied and said “no”. After all, sheep can’t talk.

Then you had a Polaroid taken and affixed to your license by chewing gum over the old one.

But now thanks to 9/11 and the fear that someone somewhere just might throw litter on the local Courthouse steps in violent protest, procedures for renewal have become downright complicated.

Start with the documentation required:

Your current license

Your birth certificate (must be authenticated by BOTH Donald Trump and Joe Arpaio)

Your Social Security Card

At least two proofs of residence at your current address from among:

  1. A lease
  2. Utility bills
  3. An Affidavit from your imaginary roommate
  4. The envelope from the Dear John letter you received from your honey just before leaving for WW II.        
  5. The shipping receipt from the refrigerator carton you are living in proving it was delivered to that address.
  6. An eviction notice from your landlord with pictures showing you passed out among all the cat feces he has been complaining about.

Two letters of reference from former Miss Americas.

A video of a personal shout out to you from a contestant on American Idol.

Once you have amassed the proper documentation you can get in line at the DMV for the information desk. There the lady will check all your forms, grunt “ok” and give you a number for the next available window, much like at the deli but with the noticeable absence of wonderful aromas wafting through the air…save for the guy next to you.

As your number is eventually called you are greeted by another  smiling minion of bureaucracy. It takes you a moment to realize that Disney animatronics is at work here. So while you think James Knox Polk is processing your paperwork it is soon evident that each of these figures has the brain of George W. Bush. (Oh well, state and local governments are forced to cut corners in these belt-tightening times.)

Thankfully you are informed that the paperwork is fine but now your vital signs must be taken and a blood sample drawn. From there you are given three small containers and instructed to provide urine, stool, and semen samples. (The latter is why there are so few female drivers in the state)

Returning from the restroom where I did my part (even now submitting three samples of one of the substances…my water pills kicked in) I realized the vials had been prelabeled and I may have made deposits in the wrong ones. The lab people need a little excitement in their lives anyway.

Back at the counter the CSI folks are finished dusting for my fingerprints. Soon I am approved, my money has been duly collected and I am in the photography area.

My name is called at last and I stand against the background while a picture is snapped. I learn I am only the 27th person today who asked if a side view were required, too.

After another few minutes wait my new license is presented to me.

Examining it I wonder what all the fuss is about for while the photo on the license is that of a 65 year old fat man  I look in the mirror each morning and see a svelte thirty year old.

I note further that they have my D.O.B of 7-14-47 then right below is “Expiration date…7-14-17” Is that for me or my license? I suppose it is an advantage to know the precise moment of one’s demise.

Besides, as that date grows nearer, if stopped by an officer for some violation I can point to it and plead for mercy saying “I have so little time left”.

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  • little_minx  On July 24, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    OMG, I didn’t realize it was just your birthday 10 days ago. Belated best wishes.

  • little_minx  On July 24, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    Prune the requisite number of words out of this piece and it might well be worth submitting to your favorite fish wrap.

    • umoc193  On July 24, 2012 at 5:54 PM

      My blog word counter has it clocked at 731 words. I thought 800 was the max.

      • little_minx  On July 24, 2012 at 11:31 PM

        Different quotas for different publications, I imagine. Heck, if 800’s the max, you can embellish!

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