Mar 19, 2010

Count Me In

A high school teacher once gave me a tip for taking the SAT. She said that if at least one of the multiple choice answers could be eliminated, we should take a guess as opposed to leaving the bubble blank. The reason for this had something to do with losing only a partial point for a wrong answer but gaining a full point for a right answer. Sounds like gambling to me, but apparently wrong answers are better than no answers in certain situations.

Why the hell am I talking about SAT scores when I’m 33? No, I don’t have a teenager. What I do have is a 2010 Census form!

I must admit a little high school ‘tude kicked in when I opened the form and saw that participation is required by law. Flash it back to RHS, when my wardrobe consisted solely of punk tees and knock-off Lip Service stretch pants. I was a real rebel, I tell ya – all "God save the Queen" and whatnot. (Ironic side note: I live 10 miles from my hometown, but John just sold a batch of my old punk tees on EBay to some kid in Japan.)

Being still somewhat subversive, but with a much better wardrobe, my first inclination was to fill out the form with bogus nonsense. I mean, the government has no problem unleashing bogus nonsense on me all the time, why not give some back? I’ll tell you why, because there is actually a penalty.

The penalty, from what I can Google, is this: 13 USC Sec. 221 provides for a $100 fine for not answering the Census and a fine of up to $500 for giving wrong information. I did not pursue the matter far enough to figure out what the “up to” actually involves. I always wondered about “up to” provisions – like the “Curb Your Dog” signs that say “...may face fines up to $200 or 3 days in jail.” Does is depend on the size of the poop? What breed the judge favors? Alright, focus.

All I know is that this flies in the face of SAT wisdom. And my punk instinct...which is pulling my hand toward filling in the “Laotian” box.



  1. This further substantiates my theory that life, is high school.
    The cliques will always be here.
    Teachers have turned to bosses.
    Guidance Offices have been renamed "Human Resources" and the threats to your "Permanent Record" now have a dollar value assigned to them.

  2. ...and the yearly Social Security statement has become the report card. Uggh.