What with my severe sense of the exact, I have problems filling out forms. I really do like doing it, but I’d rather not add to my difficulties by slashing the wrong box. Unfortunately, the number of forms I have to fill out seems to balloon as I grow older and I have to fill out more and more of them without the watchful eye of Mom. For example, I rather dislike the hypochondriac checklists of ills on medical forms.

Have you now or in the past had…(check all that apply)

__1. a family history of heart issues–To what degree are we talking? Do heart murmurs count?
___2.fainting spells–Seriously, yes, I’ve fainted twice…does that count? No.
___3. severe allergies–Well, I think gluten intolerance is a pretty severe infliction, even if not life threatening….
___4.emotional instability–Alright! Why is that even on here? Of course I’m unstable! I always am!
___5.hormone inbalances–See number 4.
___6.extremely high or low blood pressure–What counts as extreme? My feet turn purple at sixty-five degrees. Is that significant?

So I tend to look like a severe hypochondriac, even to the degree that I’m not. So is this exaggerating effect specific to medical forms? How do I prove that I’m not really a hypochondriac? As it turns out, it extends to government papers too.

I registered to vote recently. Do I need to fill in the “Are you a permanent resident of the United States?” in addition to the “Are you a citizen of the United States?” box, or is that only for people who have filled in the “Are you a green card holder?” box? Why do they need to know this anyway? Am I not allowed to vote if I happen to be living in a summer house in France the majority of the time? For that matter, why on earth would a green card holder be filling out one of these forms anyway–non-citizens cannot vote. I have a Venezuelan friend who, after thirty years of having a green card, got her citizenship just so that she could vote.

Also, do I sign my full and proper name, or do I need to abbreviate my middle initial? Do I just need my first and last name? What if the name I sign doesn’t match the one on my ID exactly, or even at all? Do they check? What if I had broken my right wrist and couldn’t sign my name recognizably with my left hand, would I have to explain why I had just written a wobbly J?

So this ambiguity which torments me extends to a variety of forms. Unfortunately because most literature is not written for lawyers, I shall have to live with uncertainties. Fortunately, because I took a business law class, I know how to write without them. (Hopefully.)


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