Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Trick Questions

     This conversation happened:

Mom:  Do you have your birth certificate?
Me:  No, and actually, I need it.
Mom:  I came across it the other day.
Me:  Then you already knew I didn't have it?!  Was it a trick question?
Mom:  I guess it was.  

There is no reason for this type of trick question.  This wasn't one of those situations where you let someone borrow something under the condition that they protect it dearly, but then they lose it but you find it so you hide it from them and then ask them where it is in order to catch them in a lie.  It wasn't even a little bit like that situation.  I never borrowed my birth certificate.  And I wasn't lying.
     I used italics on that borrowed up there because since it's my birth certificate, it seems like something I should have.  But I suppose it's hard to figure out where the line of demarcation is on stuff like that.  When you turn 18?  Happy Birthday--here's the certificate that proves it!  It was fine by me that my parents held on to it, safely in their safe.  It was always in the safe, and eventually it became a family joke.
     My father thought we needed our birth certificates way too often.  Every time he had to get our birth certificates out of the safe there was a commotion and a variation of the speech "you damn kids and your damn birth certificates," and something about heading down there himself and proving we're legit.  It really drove him crazy when we needed our birth certificates and our driver's licenses.  "You used your birth certificate to get your driver's license," he'd bellow.  He felt the transitive property should apply to legal documents.
     Being virtually transient as I was, it was fine by me that my parents held on to my birth certificate.  It was safe in the safe, and I rarely needed it.  Then one day I needed it and my mother couldn't figure out how to open the safe.  Backups needed to be called in.  The backup was my brother, whom my father had taught to open the safe; clearly it was a very complicated safe.  My mother was so frenzied by the situation, she decided to make a bunch of copies of it.  For future reference, most (all) places that require birth certificates do not accept photocopies.  That's actually part of the point of requiring a birth certificate.
     I need my birth certificate again, so Mom will have to crack the safe open and trust the good ole' USPS to get it to me.  This will cause her a lot of stress.  Except, clearly, she has recently opened the safe since she came across my birth certificate the other day.  But then thought she dreamed it, or that it wasn't the original, or just wanted to prove that if I thought I had it, I was wrong.  Trickery and subterfuge.

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