Not fake, just clueless.

From 2005 to 2008 I maintained a blog about my experiences working in the drug test industry. Every Saturday I revive one of those experiences here. The following was originally posted November 16, 2006.

Not fake, just clueless.

I pull the next donor’s paperwork out of the slot and check the ID it’s attached to.

Robert Alvarez
1234 Address Rd
Tampa FL

It’s a driver’s license from 1995, torn practically to shreds. Instead of getting a new license issued, or even just renewing it through the mail or online, Mr. Alvarez has printed little stickers with his name, occupation and updated address to stick right on his license.

Around the edges of the sticker I can see the dirty, gluey residue of stickers which have been replaced. For some reason, this completely unacceptable ID has passed inspection at the front desk.

I call Mr. Alvarez up and explain why I can’t accept his ID. I need to be able to see the original name printed on it. He does, at least, look like the picture on the driver’s license.

(Long, boring aside: in Florida, and many other states too I assmue, you can renew your driver’s license through the mail. The way this works now is they send you a new license with the picture they have of you have on file, which sometimes leads to situations where the person will hand you an ID with a picture that is ten years out of date. Even more ludicrous, they used to not send a new card at all, but just a sticker to put on the back. That leads to situations where not only is the picture out of date, but the expiration date on the card is ancient. They stopped issuing licenses like that back in the mid- to late-90s, but some people still have licenses from earlier than that. Mr. Alvarez was just such a case. His license wasn’t expired, just very old and obviously tampered with.)

I explain to Mr. Alvarez that if he wants me to accept the license, he has to allow me to peel the sticker off and examine the name underneath.

“Oh, yeah man, no problem. I have a whole stack of them at home, so don’t worry about it.”

I peel the sticker off and verify that this is, in fact, Mr. Alvarez’s license. Oh goodie.

Fortunately, he doesn’t take offense to what amounts to an accusation on my part. In fact, he seems delighted that I pointed it out. He explains that he moves around a lot, so every time he gets a new address he has to print new stickers. He says this is easier than dealing with the DMV every few months. He explains that he goes through this every time his ID is needed for something, so he’s used to it.

Everyone knows a guy who will say things like, “Hey, I’ve got a great idea for a bumper sticker!” and then proceed to describe an excruciatingly lame pun which, in his own head, is the most fabulous comedy mankind has ever envisioned. You feel bad for that guy. He’s simply not as clever as he would like to believe, and has absolutely no idea. Mr. Alvarez is that guy. He is very, very proud of his little ID stickers, and the grin on his face while he was explaining their history and function was simply remarkable.

While I’m working through Mr. Alvarez’s paperwork, I calmly explain that it is not a good idea to tamper with his driver’s license in any way, even if his intentions were good. He brushes me off saying “It’s not a big deal.”

I would love to meet the cop on duty that pulls Mr. Alvarez over for a broken tail light one day. “This guy, he covered up parts of his ID with sticky labels and I had to peel them away. Then he tried to explain why he was so brilliant and what a great idea it was. I didn’t even realize I was beating the stupid out of him with my nightstick until about twenty minutes later when my partner got back with the coffee and pulled me off.”

Names in this post have been changed to protect the clueless.

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