A friend asked me to go with her to the Motor Vehicle Department in Las Vegas to get her squared away on the Real ID, which, among other things, entitles one to board a commercial airline.
Apparently, the Real ID is a document with bells and whistles that gives the holder added privileges.
It seemed simple enough until she informed me that the name that would appear on her renewed driver’s license does not agree with what’s on her birth certificate. She’s a twice-widowed, once-divorced senior citizen whose current (about to expire) license contains much more than the given, Christian names on her birth certificate.
Before we arrived at the MVD, I assured her securing a new license would be a piece of cake. “In fact, I’ll go with you get my own driver’s license, which is also about to expire,” I told her.
Not so fast. I believe that the MVD officials who listed all the new hoops we need to face didn’t realize how much things change over the decades. But before we go on, let me assured readers that what my friend and I experienced was unique; and trying to use this column as an instruction manual would be foolhardy.
The steps one needs to take to secure a REAL ID can be found online; all I’m providing here is a recounting of my own (and my friend’s experiences.)
The name on my birth certificate shows up as “Arturo Benjamin Trujillo.” But I haven’t gone by Arturo in decades. All of my “official” names simply refer to me as Arthur. But worse, the original certificate — much of which is hand-written — faded over the years. Yes, around the time of my marriage, and in need of a legible copy of the certificate, I drove to Santa Fe and secured what was then called an official document, which was simply a photo copy of the one what wore out decades earlier.
Online information describes a series of documents which may suffice for anyone who happens to have misplaced something important. My Social Security card — an important and acceptable piece of documentation — must have given up the ghost long ago. Before the card disappeared during the Punic Wars, its lettering became faded; the “5” and the “8” became virtually indistinguishable, and I grumbled about why documents that need to last a lifetime don’t have the staying power of even a 10-year-old newspaper.
Notice how many “name change” legal ads have been appearing the Optic each day? Are these legal notices a result of the recent directive that all residents must have official, and mainly legible paperwork?
I have about three weeks before my license expires. The options are to try to provide paperwork that verifies my Social Security number, even though it appeared several places in the 1040 form my accountant filled out in April. As for my friend who has lost two husbands and has been subject to several name changes, I won’t venture a guess as to her options. Meanwhile, irrespective of my friend’s need to get past many obstacles, I’m concerned about my own situation.
I believe the authorities who dreamed up the Real ID requirement failed to realize how easy it is
to impose requirements and how difficult it is for so many people to comply.
Do I pay for a name change legal ad to appear in the newspaper I work for? Will I then need to go back to using “Arturo”? Check my byline in the next Work of Art.
That will tell you which route I needed to take.
• • •
On several occasions, with Optic deadlines looming, our acting managing editor Dave Kavanaugh leaves headline writing to me. He’ll provide enough space above an article for me to fill in.
One of the more difficult fits is with the word “cop.” Do we use it in headlines, remembering that brevity is important? I try to avoid “cop” in references to police; part of me remembers my dad’s lectures about respect, and how “cop” is thought by some to be disrespectful. And “copper” even more so.
What’s the alternative, inasmuch as some of the meanings of “cop” are “constable on patrol,” “custodian of the peace” and even “chief of police.”
Patricia T. O’Conner, author of “Origins of the Specious,” writes that “cop” has “nothing to do with metals, copper or otherwise, whether in buttons or badges.” She adds that more likely, “cop” is a verb, meaning “seize” or “nab.”
Well, that’s comforting! The words refer more to what police do than what they are.
In this space you may see repeated uses of “cop” in the future — but that will depend on what our managing editor decides.
Without even reading any of this column, my wife, Bonnie, announced that she planned to “cop a few dollars” from my unattended billfold at the house. Bonnie’s version of “cop” does not imply any plan to return anything she has seized.
Meanwhile, it’s pushing midnight, and I hope to cop a few hours of sleep.