So Let Me Get This Straight
To get the passport, I need a birth certificate. I keep a messy office; so I'll need to order a fresh copy, dammit. I'm trying to save a few bucks so I can afford stuff, like food and bus fare, whilst in New Zealand. The birth certificate will cost - what a coincidence - a few bucks. I could well end up on the New New Zealand Weight Loss Plan for American Tourists, but the scenery will be delightful: a rainier, windier version of certain scenic DVDs I own. With fewer fourteen-foot walking trees, I suppose.
To get the birth certificate, I need - wait for it - a government-issued photo ID. Say: a passport? But no, being an idiot, I now lack a passport. How about a driver's license? I still have that.
Once I have the birth certificate and the drivers' license - and some more money - and a couple expensive Polariods (better remember to shave first) I now get to make an appointment to go to a Government office and oh-so-politely present all of these documents (and the extra money) which, as far as I can determine, will prove exactly:
- I look much better clean-shaven (my drivers' license photo is from back when I was a scruffy Ren Fair denizen)
- At some point in time, I passed a drivers' test.
- I can successfully order an expensive piece of paper from another state.
- I am patient with overworked bureaucrats.
For doing all of this hoop-jumping, I will get an expensive little booklet which politely states in three languages - English, French and Spanish - that:
The Secretary of State of the United States of America hereby requests all whom it may concern to permit the citizen/national of the United States named herein to pass without delay or hindrance and in case of need to give all lawful aid and protection.No, I didn't memorize that, though if I had, perhaps I could just go up to the official in Auckland, say "The Secretary of State of the United States of America hereby requests all whom it may concern to permit me, a citizen/national of the United States named herein to pass without delay or hindrance and in case of need to give all lawful aid and protection", and hold out my hand to get stamped, like I do when going back to the car at Ren Faire to get the stupid camera, or wait for AAA to come pop the lock - again. Nor did I read it off my wife's passport. She's much wiser than I and will not let me within a furlong of her passport. I looked it up on Wikipedia, which means the text I pasted into this screed could in fact be wrong. But I'll take my chance and move along.
Now, one of the strengths of our political system is that we respect the job, not the person who holds the job. Being as I am, non-Republican, it might give me pause if my passport read: "Condoleeza Rice hereby requests all whom it may concern to permit the citizen/national of the United States named herein to pass without delay or hindrance and in case of need to give all lawful aid and protection." Though I may not have minded if Madeline Albright made the request. (I must here note that Wikipedia is very careful to point out that the French and Spanish translations of the Polite Request seem to imply that Condoleeza Rice is in fact a man. Whatever.)
However: English, Spanish and French are passe. New Zealand passports say it in English and Maori. Maori's cool. In a fifteen hour flight, I could probably memorize "He tono tenei na te Hēkeretari Condoleeza Rice ki te hunga e tika ana kia kaua e akutotia, e whakakopekatia te tangata mau i te uruwhenua nei i ana haere, a, i te wa e hiahiatia ai me awhina, me manaaki." That would impress them in Auckland.
Or I could sleep.