Monday, November 28, 2005

#213 - The Lone What State?

So my new step-Dad and I were enjoying a nice chat at the dinner table yesterday afternoon, when the topic of ID's came up. Grandma Woody and her new hubby have only recently (just a few months ago) relocated to Texas and have been going through the process of getting their new Texas photo ID's. Two interesting stories came out of this discussion.

First, the process for getting a driver's license in Texas is nothing short of hilarious. I mean ironic, of course, but it's the sort of thing that makes people involuntarily snort their milk if they're unprepared. Turns out (I'm cutting to the bottom line here) that one must "surrender" their current driver's license before getting a new one. Bob, having been a fairly regular reader of the Woundup since hooking up with my mother, was gauging my reaction. I don't think I disappointed:

"Let me get this straight. A state that cannot control their own border with Mexico doesn't trust people who come from other states?"

"Exactly!" he replied with glee. Guess I nailed that one.

He then related a story about someone (I was tanked up on pumpkin pie and my memory is getting fuzzier) who needed to see the expiration date on his new license to enter as part of a transaction. The clerk looked at his license and was completely stymied. Bob then showed me what his license says next to "Expiration."


To a programmer, that also is nothing short of hilarious. Keep in mind that I was part of the dreaded and probably over-rated "Y2K" problem, and was one of those lucky guys who had to scrub countless lines of code to make sure that my apps could handle the new millenium. As I have worked with various systems as part of my work in aerospace, one thing that continually amazes me is programmers who leave date fields as open text. In other words, you could probably type in something like "INDEF" in that field and it would be accepted. Unfortunately, the other end of a database is the reporting that managers and customers require, and they always want things sorted by date. How on earth do you sort by "INDEF?" So your more anal programmers - like me - tend to force date fields to only accept actual dates.

This clerk had no idea how to handle putting a non-date entry into a field that would only accept a true date. Finally a supervisor was consulted, and he said, "Oh, just put this day next year in there." End of problem.

So, in Texas, it's possible to have a license that never expires, assuming you can get them to admit that you really are a U.S. citizen who won't give your old license to one of the thousands of illegal immigrants who flow through our open borders every single day.

Texas - the Lone Brain Cell State.

P.S. Note to my friends in Texas, assuming I have any left: I realize that California is no better. We have Hollyweird, for cripes' sake, and Nancy Pelosi. We are properly ashamed.

On the other hand, you have Cindy Sheehan. You may keep her.

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