I’m just wondering if government employees, when they sign their employment contracts, are required to give up their sense of humour in exchange for their retirement benefits? Because I have yet to meet one who can do so much as break into a smirk, let alone smile, chuckle or laugh out loud.

I met another one yesterday morning…make that two.

I made the dreaded trip to the passport office to renew my passport and Little Guy’s passport. I spent all day Saturday collecting the forms, making phonecalls, getting our photos done, and studiously filling out the tiny boxes on the application forms. I read and re-read them several times to make sure I had dotted all my “i”s and crossed all my “t”s before I tucked each one into an envelope with the required supporting documentation.

I had a bad experience once.

That time, after sitting in an overheated and overcrowded waiting room for over 2 hours, in the middle of a work morning, I had a short, scrawny, snivelling clerk with thinning hair and thick glasses inform me that my government-issued birth certificate for my son was not the right “kind” of government-issued birth certificate and was therefore an unacceptable form of identification for passport purposes.

I clearly remember standing there trying to comprehend how my government-issued birth certificate was unacceptable to the government. I must have stood there too long and asked too many questions, because “Snot-man’s” face grew very red and his voice very shrill while he “ma’am”ed me and told me I’d have to come back another day. By then, my face was also turning red and the tears were starting to well. As I left that office, now owing my employer at least 2 hours of overtime to make up for absence and having accomplished nothing, I imagined how sweet it would have been to reach into his cubicle kingdom, grab him by his scrawny chicken neck, and unleash the months of frustration and anguish I had been experiencing in the other areas of my life, which lead up to my eventual breakdown, complete with ugly cry, at my desk later that morning. I’m talking full-fledged heaving sobs and snot running down my face kind of ugly cry, while my bewildered co-workers stood helplessly by, wondering just when my head was going to start spinning around.

But I digress.

This time I was in and out in less than 10 minutes…that is to say, with one passport application processed. Hubby missed signing one box on page 1. Don’t worry – there was no breakdown this time, just a 70 minute car ride into the city so I could “drive-by”… and get his signature. Fortunately, I only had to wait 25 minutes in an overheated, overcrowded waiting room full of bodies hacking and wiping their noses, to get Little Guy’s application processed too. I chatted with the 2 clerks I met today, but neither one paid any attention to me. I guess I prefer that to getting too much attention!

This time I took both “types” of government-issued birth certificates, just in case. Now they have them…and should they lose them, I’m afraid there might just be another breakdown, complete with ugly cry.

And there’s no humour in that…