Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Government Employee Follies

Just how uninformed do you have to be to work for the United States government? You be the judge.

My husband and I had an appointment with INS today (actually, it's now called USCIS) to get husband's new permanent resident card. The agent at the counter asks husband for his passport. It says "European Union" and "Finland" in big fancy letters on the outside. The agent looks at the passport, then looks at him.

"You were born in Pakistan, right?"

Husband stares at her and says nothing. He is the quintessential Scandinavian -- very blond and blue-eyed -- so she's not mistaking him for someone who was born in Asia and later emigrated to Finland.

Agent points to husband's passport. "It says here you are from Turkey."

Husband looks at me, pauses a moment, and looks back at the agent.

"TURKU. That's Turku, Finland. My home city in Finland. Not Turkey."


Now, I grant that there have probably been a few Finnish citizens born abroad. Maybe even in Pakistan. What I can't grant is that any english-speaking, grown-up, supposedly functioning member of society would not know that Turkey is a nation and not in Pakistan. And that it is spelled T-U-R-K-E-Y not T-U-R-K-U.

I suppose I should insert a government employee joke here, but this is kind of beyond satire.


Blogger Rusticus said...



That's one where I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

12/15/2005 10:56 AM  
Blogger Stickwick Stapers said...

Laugh. Then cry. As in "weep for the future."

The agent was pretty young, so I'm going to lay some blame at the feet of public edumacation.

12/15/2005 12:02 PM  

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