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A Friendly Note to the Census Bureau

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By Doug Powers  •  May 14, 2010 03:29 PM

Dear U.S. Census Bureau,

In the weeks before my family received the Census form, we got a couple of different letters from you trumpeting the ultimate arrival of the form, which probably could have been tucked into the first letter to save the taxpayers some postage, but I digress. This little “coming soon” teaser was apparently done to ultimately heighten the pleasure of the arrival of the actual form. As much as we appreciated the bureaucratic foreplay, it was all downhill from there.

Not long after we were notified at least two more times to be on the lookout for the Census form, and the actual form did indeed arrive. My wife, fully aware that the government might be stupid enough to not be able to figure out how many city buses we need unless we check off a few boxes on a form, filled it out and mailed it back.

A couple of days later, you sent us yet another form to fill out. Figuring we’d already sent in the original form, the follow-up form was discarded in an eco-friendly manner (I burned it in the fire pit while reading An Inconvenient Truth). A few days after that, you sent us a letter reminding us to read the other letters that you sent to remind us to fill out the Census form, which we’d of course already done.

Within a few weeks, after you’d spent enough money on postage and paper to buy Michelle Obama a new pair of Lanvin sneakers, we received yet another Census form from you that if I’m not mistaken ended up being used to clean out the rabbit cage.

Then, the letters stopped coming. We were relieved by the assumption that you’d finally processed the form we mailed back several weeks earlier, albeit somewhat concerned that something bad might have happened to the person in charge of your Redundancy Department Department.

Fast forward the tape a few weeks to this morning. My wife called me to say she went home to find a note on the door from a Census taker who was apparently anxious to start counting. On the note was a phone number, so my wife called and spoke to the man who was at our house. My wife explained that she had filled out and returned the first form we received, and the Census taker said that sometimes they get “lost” or discarded accidentally. The worker — and I’m going to refuse to reveal his name for reasons you’re going to read in about two seconds — told my wife laughingly, “And these are the people who are going to run our health care?”

That got me to thinking that somehow the Census form we mailed back somehow ended up buried in the Health Care Bill, so try looking in here:

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If it’s not in there, I’m out of ideas.

In any case, I’m sure the Census taker will stop back by later and perhaps we’ll have a few laughs at the current administration’s expense, since we’ve already had more than enough at taxpayers expense. Please don’t feel compelled to send a form asking how my Census experience was, followed by three reminders to fill out that form.

If you could do something to help us out, I’d appreciate it. My main fear is that somebody somewhere is unable to board a bus due to overcrowding because my family wasn’t counted. And yeah, we’re fairly annoyed too, but mostly the bus thing.

Thank you!

P.S. If it saves any time, there are two adults and three kids in my house, a dog, a cat, a rabbit and a hamster (if it helps get the president on our side on this, I think the hamster might in the country illegally).

P.P.S. If you could also tell me how you’re able to know how many people haven’t sent back the Census form if the entire reason for the Census is that you’re not sure how many people there are, I’d appreciate it. I’m just curious.

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