It has been a life long dream of mine to own the cheapest versions of all the cool things rich people have. Over the years I have accumulated many ‘cool’ pieces of crap. Homeless people have long been envious of me. It’s to be expected, everyone loves a treasure hunter. I thoroughly enjoy my life as king of the lower middle class.
I bought a boat this week. It is called a ‘Bass Raider 8.’ Not because it is the eighth model of a bad-ass bass boat, but because it is eight feet long. Essentially it is a rectangular canoe. It has two highly placed swivel seats and an electric trolling motor. While I don’t dock it at the local marina, I truly couldn’t be happier with myself. I can’t wait to do some raiding!
Of course in this world nothing comes without a hitch, (except for my truck) especially when ‘The Man’ is involved! As it turns out, in the glorious state of Missouri, when any kind of boat is put under the power of any kind of motor, said boat must be titled and licensed. I discovered this and with bated breath I grabbed my favorite hat and headed to the mariner’s version of a D.M.V. The titling and licensing office is located in one of the largest buildings my hometown has to offer. The eight story and over five hundred thousand square-foot building is situated downtown. There it occupies an entire city block as it’s almost as wide as it is tall. Surrounded with overpriced parking meters instead of a moat, this castle is large for a reason. It takes a big building to hold government bureaucracy. This building is bursting at the seams with ineptitude and underachievement.
I loaded fifty cents into the meter, and gauged the width of the barrier. With a swish and a snap, my bull whip provided the way. I swung just over the heads of the waiting meter maids as they snapped at my heels. On the other side, just outside the impregnable fortress, I found a handful of state employees milling about. They were all dressed more or less alike. Pressed Slacks, and starched shirts to pin their medals on. One of the paper pushers started to turn and goose-step in my direction. Nazis, I hate those guys. I sprinted to the entry, ducked inside and headed up to the third floor. I had to make the most of my one hour meter time. I stood in line for ten minutes and felt quite lucky when my number was the next to be called in so short a time. At the head of the line I watched a customer leave and a slot open for myself. The lady behind the counter looked up at me and … said nothing at all. She pulled two ‘Post-it’ notes off a pad and stuck them to the counter. She then removed her wedding and engagement rings and placed them, one each, upon the sticky notes. She applied some lotion to her hands and meticulously worked it in. When she got done, the rings went back on and I began to step forward. She ignored my gesture and turned to a colleague and the office gossip began to fly. A split second before Armageddon erupted behind the white line, this duty bound official of the state government presumed to cough at me. I acted surprised and muttered an apology, after all I was holding up her line.
She informed me of the state’s boat policy. While a trolling motor does not need to be licensed, if a boat is put under the power of a trolling motor then it does need to be licensed. You cannot license a boat without titling it. I of course did not have a title, as this type of watercraft is not purchased with one. She informed me that I cannot title the vessel without a bill of sale from the original owner and a completed inspection by the state… are you ready for this, Highway Patrol. Not the Water Patrol, the Highway Patrol. This makes sense at the moment though because the air in a government building is so fouled with ignorance you cannot spend too much time there with out contamination.
I left the Tower of Hell on a mission. I used my smart phone to take a picture of a bill of sale form. I e-mailed it to the original owner of the boat and urged him to speed it back to me in the same manner. I drove home and seeing that out of respect for my battle with Satan he had complied immediately. I printed the finished bill of sale. I unloaded my truck of my work things and strapped the boat down in their place. I kissed the wife good-bye for what very well could have been the last time and sped off to the Highway Patrol CDL training center. Why, you ask? Because it makes absolutely no sense to inspect a boat there, I answer!
I queued at the M.S.H.P. office for nearly an hour before an officer followed me outside. He noted on a pad that my boat was indeed green, eight feet long and the hull number was correct. He stamped a form and told me to return from whence I came. He liked my boat. The old officer, much like a new age knight, told me I had chosen wisely.
I returned to my parking meter and fed it another five dimes. For the second time today I found myself dashing to the third floor. Exactly forty seven minutes later I approached the counter. A different lady let me know that I would also need a property tax waiver. She explained that for some reason all my property tax records were under my wife’s name. She said she could not title that boat until I cleared this up. She did not understand why the last lady neglected to mention this! She gave me a number for the processors office and told me to have them fax the tax waiver over. Reluctantly I gave up my place at the counter. The sigh from the next person in line was the most annoying sound I have ever heard. It was already almost three O-clock in the afternoon when I called the assessor’s office. The smoke croaky voice that answered the phone unceremoniously informed me that they don’t fax tax waivers. I would have to drive down.
I raced to my truck and sped back across town. I blew into the assessor’s office a whirlwind of paperwork and anger. The top secret tax waiver that couldn’t be faxed was handed to me immediately without any question of who I was. I wasn’t asked for I.D. or a marriage license. I proved nothing. Why this needed to be in person nobody knows. How important can this document be if it is so easy to get. It had might as well be a bag of sand.
With an hour to go before state offices close I pushed my truck to its red line limit as I dove back into purgatory. I fed the meter for the third time today. My only consolation being a possible correlation between better gas mileage and the declining mass of the built in coin tray.
I adjusted the brim of my fedora and ran up the stairs. Escalators are for pusses and there was a snake in the elevator. I hate snakes. I pushed open the glass door and ignored the number dispenser. I strode to the white line and removed my bag of sand from my satchel. I shifted its weight about in my hand a time or two. It felt heavy. I let some sand fall to the carpet squares. The fluorescents blinked as if in agreement. I slipped to the counter and placed the bag of sand atop it. As I let go with one hand, I reached for the golden idol of approval.
As expected, a giant boulder of a woman rolled from the cubicled shadows. Gaining in speed, she bore down upon the counter. Just before I was crushed to dust, the boulder came to rest in a reinforced ergonomic roller chair of epic proportions. The boulder recognized me and spoke. “You’ve been here before, you have the plastic boat.”
“Yes, I have been here before.” I replied flatly.
She reached beneath her office approved smock and produced a scimitar blade. She twirled it in preparation to cleave my paperwork in two. I just smiled, drew my pistol and shot her. I turned around and took a number from the machine, dodged a poison dart and sat down. A young girl, possibly a trainee, chimed a bell. The sound was carried on a current from heaven to my ears. She whispered that someone was next please. I read her eyelids, and knew that all would be o.k.
Need I go on. I now have a licensed boat and I am pretty sure the trainee on floor three of the nexus of hell is signing up to be my next wife. Unfortunately for her, this hero already has his ‘Marion’ and it didn’t take me three good movies and a fourth crappy one to figure it out. I AM THE MAN!
Today is my wife’s birthday. You should send her a gift, please no dates or other dried fruits and no salvaged untitled vehicles.
Your queuing, bureaucratic slaying, nautical son.