Monday, May 19, 2014

Lets Be Counted Early and Often

Originally published on Passive Activities and Other Oxymorons March 24, 2010

So two weeks ago I got a note letting me know the census form is on the way. Nice little bit of excitement. Last week it arrived. More anticipation. They want to know who is living in my place on April 1. They also want to know if somebody who doesn’t have anyplace else to stay is there. And in a different context if there is anybody who happens to be staying over, even though they might be listed some place else.

I immediately was thinking about finding a bunch of homeless guys to stay over so that what the genealogy bug bights some future descendant, they can be utterly confused by the 2010 census that includes me. My brother had this experience with the 1920 census report on 48 Anderson Avenue Fairview NJ which included a mysterious Italian teenager of the female persuasion along with the Lyons brothers , their wives and children one of whom is my mother. Fortunately my Aunt Dorothy, cousin really, was around to explain the collection.

Since I really don’t have time to arrange the homeless party and it isn’t really the legitimate business of the census to be checking on whether someone counted elsewhere is visiting me on that night, I probably could have filled the form out.

But you never know. “What is the greatest wonder of all ?” “The greatest wonder of all is that each day death takes lives beyond counting and each day each of us says ‘Not me – not today’”. A lot can happen between now and April 1.

Which is why I was disturbed to get a card in the mail yesterday to confirm that I had gotten the census form and thanking me if I had already sent it in.

Back in the good old days when we did tax returns by hand my favorite review note was RTFI. Which stood for READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. I think I might write that on the card and mail it back.

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