The driver's license they issued me a week before my last birthday that no longer allows be to board a domestic flight
On September 6, 2012, I went to renew my driver's license and that was The Beginning of A Nightmare. I turned in my old license early because ten years prior, while trying to board a domestic flight, my license had expired but they let me go and said, "No problem, this happens a lot." Remember, that was after the September 11th tragedies, when the nation's airports were still on high alert, but we were also still more like America, the country I was born in, land of the free, from sea to shining sea and all that stuff we used to hold dear - the country that taught civics in classes that I hear no longer exist.
It may sound like I'm straying but this will contextualize what follows.
After receiving my new license the woman casually says, "That's not good for domestic air travel" "What do you mean?," was my response as I was halfway out the door. I came back inside and she said, "You need to have two letters that were mailed to your home, and a social security card, as well as your old license to get a verified license."
She explained that six years ago a national law had been passed that becomes law by 2017, but Connecticut enacted it early. Really? I told her I haven't physically had my social security card since I was 13 years old, and I clearly remember one of the first things they told me was to put it in a safe place and not carry the card because I could lose it. It's exactly where I left it in 1963, but of course, like every other American I know the pertinent information, my number and my name. She told me, "Knowing isn't good enough, I'd have to show it to her." Of course I couldn't, so I asked, "What else could I do?" She said, "Get an original document that has my social security number printed on it." I told her okay and I'll see you in a few days. I was a little angry but on some level I understood.
I returned in a few days with my unverified driver's license, my passport, the document with my social security number, and the required two pieces of mail. She did some work on the computer and came back to me and said, "I can't proceed. The computer won't let me go forward." I asked, "What does that mean?" She explained that my social security information doesn't match their computer records and the program won't allow her to go to the next step in the process. After repeatedly questioning her she gave me the most information allowable, "You have two things that don't match on your social security information." I said, "This is easy because it happens all the time, they've misspelled one of my two names, either it says Niles with an s, or Rogers without a d?" She said, "That's one of the problems but there's an even bigger one!" I asked how big and she said, "I can't tell you."
At that point it gets semi-hostile and she said that I must go to the hospital where I was born and get a copy of my original birth certificate. I explained that I was given up for adoption at birth. When they recorded this birth I was called Baby Boy Goodman. I tell her, "There's no document with the name Rodgers on it but I've had a passport since I was 19 years old. The government agency that issued it required better documentation than my birth certificate, so shouldn't this be good enough?" "I'm sorry," she says, "but that's what you have to do!" At that point I didn't realize the hellish trip that I was about to embark upon.
I made the first part of this blog post a week ago because I thought there'd be a happy ending by now. Today is Thanksgiving Day and I'm in Las Vegas, Nevada visiting my mother. I travelled here with my unverified driver's license and a birth certificate. I had to apply for a Japanese work visa and had to submit my passport. As of now I'm Still in Limbo WTF?
Airline Departures Gate
Homeland Security Advisory Levels
7th Grade Civics Textbook - I'm talking Jr. High School
Select CT ID Program
I haven't had one of these in my hands since 13 - I did buy a copy of Elvis' Driver's License at Graceland
Here's the grave of a man named Niles Rodgers, a common misspelling of my name
Donald Trump's Birth Certificate - Well he's got one so he's American
When they recorded my birth I was Baby Boy Goodman
I showed up with my Passport I've had since touring with Sesame St. at 19 yrs old
Me and friends on the Sesame Street set
There was nothing I could do - I put on a happy face and went to the Dept of Vital records
The Street where the Dept of Vital records is is aptly nicknamed Ave Of The Strongest
Today I'm in Vegas visiting my mom but I was worried about being able to travel domestically without my passport
I'm Still in Limbo WTF?