Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Every once in a great while, I wander through a day in which something that happens serves to renew my faith in the human race. Today was not one of those days. I found myself at the health department this afternoon requesting JJ's official birth certificate for a couple of non-important (for this story) reasons. I filled out the proper form, fished $20 out of my pocket, and produced my driver's license for the clerk beyond the sliding two-way mirror. A few minutes later, she handed me JJ's birth certificate. I looked at it for a moment, and discovered that, although John's birthplace was correctly listed as New York, it listed my place of birth as "**********".

I asked the clerk why my place of birth was listed as "the stars".

She corrected me by explaining that it was officially listed in their records as "Place other than the United States". "Where were you born?" she asked.

"Kansas," I replied laughing, "And last time I checked, it was still part of the United States!" Although I was not rude about it, I thought my sarcasm was pretty evident.

And here is where it got weird...

"Yes," said young clerk, with a reassuring tone of someone who could be trusted, "You're right. It is in the United States."

Suddenly, I was very afraid. Is that where we are now? Did she really believe that I thought Kansas could have been nullified as a state? Or worse yet, does she really deal with enough people who might actually think that Kansas, state found smack in the center of the US, might not be part of our country, that she felt she had to explain?

I'm still a little shaken.

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