Too many boxes


Too many boxes

By Joanie Buettgen

Copyright 2010

All Americans now have in their possession a large white envelope.

No, Pat Sajak did not notify you of an upcoming “Wheel of Fortune” contestant selection…it’s the 2010 Census.

Opening this sealed package, the questionnaire looked like the college form, FASA. That’s scary.

The five page form was intimidating-to say the least. My hands perspired, the pen wouldn’t work, our writing table was uneven and started to shake. Then, the numerous boxes and rectangles started to blur. I wanted to stop, but couldn’t.

Glancing around the house was futile; no one could fill out this dreaded form-not even our dog, Jake. He turned on his heels, went upstairs and pretended to be fast asleep. But, one of his eyes remained opened- just in case he’s was called for dinner.

“Maybe if Mark, my husband, were home he could fill it out,” I thought to myself. Nope.

With a cup of hot Joe in hand, I looked over the test and thought, “What if I answered a question wrong?” Comprehension 101 was not my forte.

The instructions and questions seemed basic.

  • First, use a blue or black pen. “Would a number two pencil work? Just in case a mistake was made.”
  • Count all persons (including babies) who live and sleep here most of the time. “Does that include our dog baby?” I wondered.
  • What is your telephone number? “Well, we have three in our home. Which one do you choose?” Contemplating this decision took hours.
  • Next, what is Person 1’s sex? “Person 1? There were a total of 12 people listed on this paperwork. I was never good at multiply choice.” I was doomed. “Who would get that numeric distinction? And, the inevitable question, why would anybody want to be Person #2?” I asked myself. Does Person #1 live or stay somewhere else? “Oh Boy, that’s opening a can of worms.”
  • Onto Person #2, how is this person related to Person #1? “There were fourteen boxes that were to be checked and decided on. I liked the Other-non-relative category the best.”
  • In addition it stated, it is estimated that for the average household, it will take 10 minutes to complete, including reviewing the instructions and answers. “You’ve got to be kidding. That’s where my choice of the wooden writing tool, came in handy.”
  • And finally on the last page…send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this burden to: Paperwork Reduction Project. “C’mon, next time email the darn thing and save trees in the process.”

 I’m not looking forward to the next one. Maybe, we’ll move.


2 responses »

  1. Great job, Joannie! Funny! Ponderous questions to be sure.

    10 min to complete! Yeah, right! Just like the 1040s are only supposed to take a few minutes.

    Now I live in fear of receiving my white envelope. 🙂

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