In Which I Have To Take Back Nice Stuff I Said About Michigan’s Secretary Of State


So, I know that the last time I expressed thoughts about Michigan’s Secretary of State I made a fool of myself. Secretary of State offices around here fill the role that other states have a Department of Motor Vehicles for, and I thought that was just a quirk of terminology. And I learned that I understimated the office. At any of these offices you can do all the work that you might do by visiting the Secretary of State herself, without any necessarily awkward conversations or having to answer questions about how you broke into her home and whether you know it’s 1:45 am.

And that’s fine but recently I discovered what they need to issue a replacement driver’s license, in case you lose yours, something that I haven’t done in fourteen years and in another state anyway:

Michigan Secretary of State web site listing what is needed to request a duplicate driver's license online. It requires: the last four digits of your social security number; your driver's license number; and your date of birth and eye color.
Eye color is an easy question for me. I have eyes that look as though the angels designing my body perused my nascent face and said, “Brown. Done. NEXT” and hit flood-fill as I was on the way out.

I’d like to ask the Secretary of State where I’m supposed to get my driver’s license number if I need to replace my driver’s license, but it’s too much work for me to leave the house at 1:45 am except to confirm my fear that I left the lawn sprinkler running since 3 pm Friday. I understand why they thought someone might have memorized their driver’s license number, if they thought that people were still seventeen and in the last age cohort that saw a driver’s license as something desirable, instead of something you need to get to avoid the civil penalties for failure to sufficiently car. But, yeesh. I’m good at remembering numbers and all I could tell you about my Michigan driver’s license is that it probably has some digits in it.

Also no fear for that license I lost fourteen years ago. I got a replacement, for which I did not need to know my license number, which I did have memorized. Several months later the original license reappeared, as you might expect, as a bookmark in my copy of John Steele Gordon’s book about the transatlantic telegraph cable.

Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there. He/him.

5 thoughts on “In Which I Have To Take Back Nice Stuff I Said About Michigan’s Secretary Of State”

    1. I mean, I haven’t had a genuinely bad experience with them. It’s just that this is such a weird failure of the web site’s designers to think through who was using the page and what for. I’m curious what happens if you go in person to report a lost license but not interested enough to lose my license and go there.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I have a photo of my license on my phone because the main place I need to show a photo ID accepts that. I guess most people would bring in their wallet but I find that less convenient.

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    1. I’d never thought to take a photo of my license. I’m not sure I’d be comfortable with that on my iPod since that seems to double the chances for identity-theft mischief. But taking a photograph of that for the Secure Documents Vault that I totally mean to have someday seems like it might not be a bad idea. Or just to write it down somewhere with the credit card numbers and cancellation phone numbers that I totally mean to someday do wouldn’t be bad either.

      Like

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