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COLUMNS


My passport has turned me into an existentialist


By Marissa Jones
Posted on December 4, 2012 | Columns, Opinion | Comments Off

The complicated and soul-sucking process to get a passport has made me lose some hope in society.

The first sign that there was something soulless about the process was when they told me not to smile.

Smiling is apparently banned in passport pictures to help facial recognition machines in airports, but I think there is something deeply wrong with forcing a large number of people not to smile.

13,125,829 people have applied for passports this year. 13,125,829 Americans were told not to smile.

So much for the pursuit of happiness.

While taking the actual picture, it was hard not to smile. I ended up with a pretentious kind of smirk on my face instead.

Once I had my picture, I went to the post office to try to get a passport.

Attempt number one:

I stepped up to the desk and handed the official my paper work– birth certificate, license, several pages of information.

“Do you want to hear the good news or bad news first?”

Not inspiring words.

“I guess the bad news,” I replied.

“Good, because there is no good news.”

Apparently my birth certificate was missing some information that would make it hard to get my passport at this juncture.

I was missing the letter ‘I’ to be exact. This letter indicates whether or not I had been born in a hospital. I was in fact born in a hospital but for some reason my birth certificate was missing it.

She sent me to the Department of Health Services who said they couldn’t help me and said I would have to order a new birth certificate from the place I was born and wait three weeks. All because I was missing the letter ‘I’.

Attempt number two:

I decided to go back to the post office and plead. I was running out of time and getting desperate. They denied it again. I finally received my correct birth certificate.

Attempt number three:

This time the passport gods were pleased with my offering. They sent it off saying it would probably come in on time. This was a stressful time for me. Especially because I was planning on studying abroad in Oxford next semester.

I was cutting it a little close to the deadline.

Luckily, it came in the mail Saturday.

mmj10a Posted by Marissa Jones on Dec 4th, 2012 and filed under Columns, Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.  - This post has been viewed 14758 times.

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