Resident Alien

Mar. 1 - I was up late Friday night, surfing the net and blogging while the DMG enjoyed a maternal sleep, so I slept in on Saturday. (I'm no longer setting my alarm on weekends; I don't consider "sleeping in" a waste of time now that it's an endangered activity.) I woke up to the sound of the DMG speaking to someone in Danish in the hallway just outside our bedroom.

The conversation didn't last long, and once it ended I heard the front door close and the DMG shuffle out to the living room.

Groggily, and without realizing that I'd fallen back to sleep for another half hour, I got out of bed and made my way into the kitchen. There on the counter was a little navy blue document I hadn't seen since September. My passport.

The DMG bounded into the kitchen, all a-twitter with excitement. "You're free, you're free!" she exclaimed.

"How'd this get here?" I asked.

"The mailman came while you were sleeping. I know it was addressed to you, but I saw it was from Udlændingestyrelsen and I was dying to see what it said so I opened it—you don't mind?"

I didn't mind. Accompanying the passport was a two-page letter in Danish spelling out the terms of my approved Danish residency. It's valid until early 2006. I have to stay on good terms with my wife, continue to share a home with her, she has to keep earning enough money to support us, I can't commit any crimes, and so on and so forth et cetera ad infinitum.

Curiously, we also have to maintain "more of an attachment" to Denmark than to my native country (the U.S.A.). This seems like it would be hard to quantify—but I don't anticipate a visit by a marauding band of Danish immigration psychologists any time soon, so we're probably safe on that score as well.

"Don't I get a card or something?" I asked. I've been carrying this little blue sheet of paper around with me, and had been told by Danish officials that I was never to leave home without it.

Don't leave hjemme without it.

I hadn't. My constant concern for the safety of that little blue paper, which I'd kept folded up and tucked into a corner of my wallet, had become a permanent source of anxiety for me. This was strange, because it didn't have a bar code, a magnetic strip, or even a photograph on it. Their absence gave it an illusory aura of unimportance. It was just a signed, sealed, dated slip of paper. It was like living in one of those World War II movies where people are always asking for your papers, except no one ever asked me for mine. Until yesterday, of course—when a clerk at an electronics store that had sold me a lousy video-camera battery needed to see proof of my address before he'd let me proceed with my complaint.

He looked at the paper dubiously.

"It doesn't have your address," he said.

"No," I agreed. "It does not."

"But I must see your address."

"I gave you my address."

"But have you no proof?"

"None. Just my New York driver's license and this piece of paper."

"But I need to know your address."

"I have told you my address."

"But I have not seen it."

"You cannot see it."

"This is difficult."


In the end he just took my word for it on the address.

But that hadn't happened yet. If you remember, I had just asked the DMG if I'd received a little card along with the letter of approval—a card with a CPR number on it, hopefully, which would open the doors of life in Denmark to me at last. The Danish CPR number is like an American Social Security Number. I could open a checking account with it, get a gym membership in my own name, get my own cell phone account—in short, I could finally be an independent human being again. Without it, I'd been a mere appendage of the DMG.

"It's in your passport," the DMG said.

I picked up the passport and flipped through it until I came to a page with the following stamp on it:

Residence granted (image doctored for my protection).

"But where's the CPR number?" I asked. That was, after all, the real payoff.

"You don't have one yet," she replied.

"When do they send it?"

"They don't. You have to go to town hall just like I did and apply for one. You couldn't have got it without your residency permit, now it should be a no-brainer."

A no-brainer that involves another glorious interface with the Danish bureaucracy. A no-brainer that will involve more forms, more photocopies of my personal documents, more extortionate processing fees and tedious lines and malignantly passive clerks.

Not that I'm complaining. I'm not.

I've got my passport back.

My papers are in order.

Life is good.

* * *

Heard about headvertising yet? I'm not sure if it's an actual marketing scheme or just a fun parody, but it's brilliant either way.

* * *

Tomorrow is Super Tuesday. Follow the action with this helpful electoral vote distribution table.

* * *

Remember to check the other blog from time to time—updates are as frequent as they are pointless, but you have the opportunity of talking back to me at will in front of everyone else.

* * *

Fifty years ago today the U.S. government announced that it had conducted an H-Bomb test on Bikini Island in the Pacific. The test was so successful that it blew the once-happy island into tiny bits that came to be known collectively as the Bikini Atoll.

Shrewd fashion moguls in France put two and two together and invented bell bottoms.

About four hundred years earlier—on March 1, 1562—Jason and his thousand Huguenots were at prayer in Vassy, France, when they were suddenly massacred by Catholics. Huguenots and Catholics subsequently fought "The Wars of Religion" for over three decades to settle the question of Best Religion Ever. Unfortunately the Edict of Nantes granted religious tolerance in 1598 and the question was never settled to anyone's satisfaction.

As a result, billions of human beings continue to honor the wrong religion to this very day.

The Moron's Index
Bean Counter: 15 weeks + 3 days
Days as a (Mostly) Non-Smoker: 15
Days Until I'm 39: 14

Dagens Ord (The Word of the Day)
Opholdstilladelse. Residence permit.

March 1 is Independence Day in South Korea ("Don't Even Think It Day" in North Korea), Heroes Day in Paraguay, and Victory of Adwa Day in Ethiopia.

Birthdays on March 1 include those of Ron Howard (1954), Alan Thicke (1947), Roger Daltrey (1944), Robert Conrad (1935), Harry Belafonte (1927), Pete Rozelle (1926), Dinah Shore (1917), Ralph Ellison (1914), Harry Caray (1914), David Niven (1910), and Glenn Miller (1904).

Happy Monday!

© 2004, The Moron's Almanac™

[close window]
[Daily Briefing Archive]