In the words of a recent Fox News column of interesting but low quality, Grr!
Just sit right back, and you'll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip,
A license plate i went to get,
And now i'm forced to quip, And now i'm forced to quip.
Just went for the annual paying of fees to the Secretary of State. In Michigan we have two timezones, a foreigner for governor (beat California to the punch), a Governor's Mansion on a misspelled island, and a Secretary of State who abolished tag renewal lines because everyone else complained that they had to wait the hour(!). But wait, there's more.
I received my license-plate renewal form in the mail. Those greedy politicians who haven't sucked enough out of the lottery come back for a little more blood each year. Unfortunately, most people allow for it, and i am helpless but to pay or stop driving. Bah!.
Some years ago i decided to have a personalized plate. My younger brother, a source of evil to be spread amongst everyone but the ever-vigilant, challenged me to get a personalized plate saying Chacham. Tickled by the idea, but abhorred at the cost and vanity, i rejected it. He then offered to pay just to see if i would be willing to publicly have such a plate. Who could resist such a challenge? I accepted, and the saga began.
A deck of weeks later, the bloodletting had to be revisited. I, the simple-minded fool, assumed that the cost of a personalized plate was to make it, though once made, there was no extra charge. How the government doeth strike at the ignorant!
With greedy hands and greedy paws,
They come and steal our money,
And yet so helpless to their claw,
They laugh and think it's funny.
The charge ended up being thirty-five dollars for the plate, and another thirty-five for the personalization. Upon this renewal, the extra cost was only fifteen. The attendant immediately told me my charges, and i was too shy to mention that i had wanted otherwise. So, i paid the fee and had it for another dozen moons.
Once again it came up, and this time i decided to splurge, but i refused to waste fifteen dollars on a simple renewal. If i was to pay extra i was going to get something out of it! I looked at other words available such as "number", and ended up getting INTJ, to match a friend's INTP, and so the path was set for another solar revolution. In that case, a co-worker paid the extra fee for me (thanx!
If i got that all correct, that brings me to the present. This time, noone is offering to pay for it, and i've had my fill of personalized plates and the greedy authorities. So, i decided to get a normal plate and pay less. But they weren't about to let it happen so easily.
The hands to grab, the shaking knees,
The room is filled with fear,
There is no stab, But silly fees,
And hope for one more year.
I confidently strode into the Secretary of State and took a number. The guard greeted me kindly, and i responded. The room stared. I sat down in an open seat next to someone. He might have been Arab. For within moments of my sitting, he got up. Oh well. I read my book for about an hour as i awaited my calling. It finally came.
A surge of nervousness, that silly feel,
But importance it does speak.
It goes away, it's time to deal,
And stand up for the weak.
I mentioned the change and she said the charge would be seventy-one dollars. I started writing the check (they only accept credit-cards online!), but asked for justification. She said that was the fee. At this point, i had to challenge her.
The price on the paper i got was sixty-two dollars, and an asterisk explained that it included a fifteen-dollar charge for the personalization. I rejected that to save the fifteen dollars. Yet, instead of being fifteen less, it was nine more! To her credit, she accepted my position, said that was what the computer told her, and tried to figure out how it came to that.
Oh blessed fate, accursed doom,
Whence people come that follow?
The challengers, they do exist,
Yet blame on all that's hollow.
She removed the pad from atop the fee chart (which would have answered my erstwhile query, as to whom shall the banknote be addressed) and looked it up. This be a new plate matey, and a new plate is charged differently. Arrrrr. Since purchased in February to go until (next) March, i had to pay for the extra month, even though it is less than a week away, and i didn't actually want it *this* month. I guess it gives new meaning to "renewing".
I would open my mouth, and scream a cry,
Were there those to hear.
And yet i know, 'tis a worthless try,
We must accept the weight and drear.
After questioning her nicely (and she responded well) i found that if i merely came back in March, i wouldn't have to pay the extra twenty-four dollars. I was in a tizzy. If i renewed the personalized plate, the extra fiteen-dollars would be *less* than saving the fifteen dollars. Excuse me miss, did i hear you correctly?
In times as these, our minds almost,
A silent scream, at the grateful host,
And rejecting realization.
Again, the idea popped into my mind. A free light bulb from the electric company (no, not the television show). What if i came back in March? I didn't actually need to renew it until then. Sure, i'd have to wait the hour again, but at least i'd save the remnants of my perceived dignity.
The claw, the claw! It comes up close,
And yet i have a wield,
It's made of paper, but then perhaps,
She'll see it as a shield.
She agreed. Yay! But, every victory carries an even greater loss. If i come in after the first, there is a ten-dollar late-fee. IOW, if i don't renew my personalized plate: If i come in before the first, i have to pay twenty-four dollars more. If i come in after the first, i have to pay ten-dollars more. Only if i come in on Monday, the first day of the month (possibly the worst combination for them), will i pay nothing extra.
The viscous dogs were pulled to bay,
Their captain held so tight,
Yet his smirk, and their wretched looks,
Was enough to scream in fright.
I accepted. She then gave me a pink slip of paper to let me skip the line on my return. I get to stand in the grey box on the carpet, and probably be "next". I must hand it to her, she made the best of an awful situation.
I must accept all this. And yet, i must laugh. Half because it is sadly funny. And half, as i realize, the state and sanity are bitter enemies.