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This is great on so many levels, chief among them that this guy had to stand in front of one of the humorless, miserable harpies who staffs the Prince George’s County DMV and spell out, “G-I-G-I-D-D-Y” to get his plates.

Hey, remember when I called the staffers of the Prince George’s County DMV miserable harpies? That’s not an exaggeration. A couple weeks ago, I finally secured my new Maryland driver’s license after THREE SEPARATE TRIPS. With barely masked delight they’d inform me each time that I did not have the necessary paperwork, rejecting the paperwork that I’d brought at the specific instruction of the previous miserable harpie.

I began to see a light at the end of the tunnel on my third attempt when I finally cleared Checkpoint Charlie at the door, but only after producing my U.S. passport, my D.C. driver’s license, two pieces of government-issued mail and a cup of hot fat. After waiting 45 minutes, I finally got to meet with the Wizard, and as she clacked away on her keyboard I was picking up a very strong you’re-going-to-get-a-license vibe from her. Then she asked if I’d ever had a Maryland license and I replied that why yes I had because I grew up in this fine state. A few clacks later and she produced on her screen a shot of 16-year-old me, all carroty Angela Davis-haired and pale. Then she delivered the dramatically slow exhale that is the universal bureaucratic signal that you’re fucked.

Miserable harpy: “Your name is [Maiden Name] in our system.”
Me: “Muh huh. That was my name back then. What’s the problem?”
Miserable harpy: “Well your paperwork says [Married Name].”
Me: “Right, it’s legally changed now though, since my marriage. My passport and D.C. license all have the new name.”
Miserable harpy: “I’m going to need to see your marriage certificate. Because you’re in our system that way from back then.”
Me: “I’m also in your system wearing a flannel babydoll dress and lace-bottom leggings, but I think we can both agree that a lot’s changed since then.”
Miserable harpy: (stares, unblinking)
Me: “So the federal government, the D.C. DMV and everyone else recognizes that my name has long since been legally changed, but I have to come back here a fourth time with a marriage certificate? And this is only because I happen to have been raised in Maryland. So if I came in from any other state you’d have no record of me and this wouldn’t be a problem?”
Miserable harpy: “I’ll talk to my boss but I don’t know.” (saunters off)
Miserable harpy: (saunters back a few minutes later) “I’m going to go ahead and just do it.”

With that, she begins clacking anew. Thirty seconds later slaps the desk and says, “Ohhhhh, you’re name’s changed on your passport. Oh my God, that’s totally fine then. I don’t need a marriage certificate anyway.”

And that, friends, is how thin a thread one’s fate hangs by at the Prince George’s County DMV.

For a visual representation of the experience described above, I refer you to the following facial expression:

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