Friday, September 29, 2006

I Got Picked For the Census

Allyson and I got three alerts from the government, all on the same day.

The first one said "You've been selected to participate in the US Census. You recently got a letter from us about this. You are required by the US Government to complete this survey." The second one said "You've been selected to participate in the US Census. You will receive more information soon." The third one was a mammoth survey.

I'm not gonna lie -- I was pretty stoked to be selected for the Census. Well, stoked our apartment was selected....

But the survey was so complicated that even with a BBA I still had trouble completing it and following directions. (What's that you say? A government-issued initiative was complicated and confusing?! Shocking!). It was like a scantron test from hell.

Here are some things that worry me about this:

- Nowhere on the census survey does it say "Please use pencil." Nor is it in either of the two letters accompanying the survey. Instead, that requirement is buried in the instruction manual in the fourth paragraph of text.

- In the census survey, it asks "Is this person Spanish/Hispanic/Latino?" and subsequently, "Do you speak another language other than English?" ... however, all the government-issued letters, the mammoth survey, and even the instruction manual are ALL IN ENGLISH! I'm pro-American, and I know the government you want these results to be pro-American, but really... no habla espanol? [Note: there is an alert on the front of the survey that tells Spanish speaking residents to call a toll-free number... why can't I call a toll-free number?? Stop discriminating, Uncle Sam!!]

- There is a question related to job function... it asks, "What kind of work was this person doing [during person's chief job activity or business last week]?" I felt kind of shallow writing, "Going to concerts" so I put "Strategic Marketing." What if your job was to dress as a hot dog and hand out flyers on the street? Or you were a computer hacker? Or a hooker? How would you describe that? Actually -- I don't want to know... but how nice that in America you can be whatever you wanna be.

- All kidding aside, there was one question that I was ineligible for that I thought was very humbling. It was related to military service and asked if the citizen had served on active duty in the US Armed Forces during any of these periods:
  • September 2001 or later;
  • August 1990 to August 2001 (including Persian Gulf War);
  • September 1980 to July 1990;
  • May 1975 to August 1980;
  • May 1975 to August 1980;
  • Vietnam era (August 1964 to April 1975);
  • March 1961 to July 1964;
  • February 1955 to February 1961;
  • Korean War (July 1950 to January 1955);
  • January 1947 to June 1950;
  • World War II (December 1941 to December 1946)
  • November 1941 or earlier

It's amazing to think how many people have served during those time periods; how many battles were fought, how many lives were lost, and how quickly we forget.

1.5 hours later, Allyson and I completed the survey. It will be mailed to the government on Monday. [There was no reply-by date listed on any of the materials, by the way]. So, if there is a warrant issued for our arrest for not filling it out, please let this be our statement that yes, we completed it... and it is late, I blame it on the US Postal Service...


(posted to

1 comment:

Franco said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.