It is not a good idea to lie about your age. Sadly, lying about my age is embedded in my genes – my mother and aunt both subtracted years from their ages, but they never got caught.
I did. Get caught.
You see, I applied for an Illinois driver’s license when I moved to Chicago to work after college. I was all of 22, but thought I might as well carry on the family tradition and lop a year off my age since the Illinois form didn’t require any proof of birthdate. The lie didn’t catch up with me until just a few years ago when some nosy bureaucrat in Des Moines noticed the discrepancy and blew the whistle on me.
What ensued was the mother of all snafus, which isn’t straightened out yet. The latest episode involves trying to get a gold star on my driver’s license so I can board an airplane, should I decide to fly again. With identification, this time. (See my last column if you don’t know what I’m talking about. And why don’t you?)
In order to get a gold star, you must present a bucket-load of documents to prove your existence. I thought I had everything covered. I’ve lost my social security card (I think it’s in a trash can in a Los Angeles park, which I covered in a column last spring – surely you remember that? If not, why not?).
In lieu of that, the powers-that-be will accept a 1099 form that has your social security number on it. So I presented myself at the driver’s license station at the courthouse, feeling quite smug that I had everything in hand.
Except that what I thought was my official birth certificate, wasn’t. What I thought was our official marriage license, wasn’t. The 1099 form wasn’t the right one. The only thing I got right was my vehicle registration card. I’m still waiting for my “real” birth certificate to be mailed from Des Moines.
Meantime, I received a letter with my voter registration enclosed. The letter says, “We note that you don’t have a driver’s license, so you will need this card to vote.”
Well, I do have a driver’s license, but it says “Mary” on it with my correct birthdate. The voter registration thingie says “Molly” and has my fake birthday on it. Molly apparently no longer has a driver’s license since I had to own up to my real age and they made me change my name to Mary on it.
Our marriage license says “Molly.” My credit cards say “Mary.” My social security card, when I had one, said “Molly.”
If I had had my way, my Confirmation name would have been Scarlett. Sister Rosaria torpedoed that because, “It isn’t a saint’s name, dear.” So she made me take my middle name, Patricia. I’m still a little miffed about that.
So just for the record, tattered as it is now, here is my full name: Mary Molly Patricia Scarlett Sullivan MacDonald.
Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?