6.13.2007

Paper Dragons

Women face burdens that men can never understand such as menstruation, childbirth, and Spanx. In fact, the joys of being female are almost too numerous to mention. Still, I’d like to add one more that potentially qualifies as a curse of Lillith.

Taking on your husband’s name.

Even though Max’s last name probably shows up on a “no fly” list somewhere, I decided to do the old fashioned thing and take it on as my own. But since I will be leaving my company of 12 years in just a few short months, I had decided not to change it immediately. This made sense for professional reasons, as well as practical ones. Truth be told, I still hadn’t learned how to pronounce the name correctly.

But on my first Monday back to work, the name had already been changed everywhere imaginable—on the company’s worldwide directory, my phone display, my doorplate, e-mail address, and even IM screen name.

“So how do you say your new name?” one coworker asked before I’d even had a chance to grab morning coffee.

“Huh?” I stumbled through, slaughtering the pronunciation.

Then, before I even had time to sit down at my desk, e-mails, flagged as important, started hitting my Inbox.

“We need a revised W2 from you... ASAP,” threatened the Payroll department. “To prevent your earnings from being reported incorrectly, you must provide a photocopy of your social security card with the correct legal name.”

“Well, congratulations and good morning to you too.” I thought. “I don’t even have the official marriage license yet alone a social security card.” Suddenly, I was in the throes of having to immediately change my name. In some weird way, it felt as though my identity had been, if not stolen, then at least eliminated with one quick stroke of the delete key. But, really, how hard could it be to establish my new identity?

The next morning and with certificate of marriage in hand, I went to the Social Security office. Even though it was only 8am, a line had formed from the waiting room, outside, and around the building. As a working girl, I didn’t have time for that kind of wait, and thought I’d make better use of my time by heading over to the DMV. However, the folks at DMV couldn’t change my name without my new social security card. Still determined to make something of my morning, I went to the bank. But my teller couldn’t change the name on my accounts without a new driver’s license. Geez!

As it turns out, legally changing a name with all the requirements and paperwork is like a maze with twists, turns, and dead-ends. With 2,300,000 marriages every year here in the US, alone, you would have thought the process would have become more streamline by now. I haven’t even begun and I’m already frustrated. And let’s not forget that I’ll have to change my name with all the credit card companies, utilities and the post office, too.

What’s a girl to do? I have to waste a Friday and vacation day to return to Social Security in order to start slaying the paper dragons ahead of me. Let’s just hope I don’t go postal in the process. Don’t worry! To do that I’ll need my social security card and driver’s license first. And at this rate, it will be months before I have them.

11 comments:

kenju said...

Sounds like a catch-22 to me. Government at its finest, huh?

Jamy said...

So the nice people at work changed it on their own initiative? How thoughtful...and inconvenient!

SassyAssy said...

Just an FYI...I think you can do the social security card thingy online...or at least the majority of the prep work.

Looking forward to the name change hassles myself. Woo-hoo

Anonymous said...

What's a girl to do? Stand up for yourself and keep your own name! You're not a piece of property!!!!

Suvii said...

Ugh... I remember the painful process when I did this a few years back. It was NOT the least bit easy. Have you checked if your local SS office takes appointments? Mine did and I was out of there in about 30 minutes or so.... Buena Suerte!

Just a trumpet player said...

I hear you ! It took me 18 months to get all the proper paperwork done (that's Canada for you) and by the time I finally received everything, we were already separated...

susan said...

Hmmmm....every April I'm reminded that I really should change my SSN. It's been 18 years and I still haven't gotten to it...

btw,I found you through the review at Ask and Receive...

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AmyD said...

Total crap!! But, I guess as long as you learn how to pronounce your new last name by the time you finally make it legal, everything will turn out just fine! ;o)

Congrats again!

utenzi said...

Maybe you could hire one of those illegal immigrant folk to stand in line and then call you on your cell when she gets close to the front of the line. Just a thought...

Given all the joy a marriage can eventually bring, it's too bad details like this can be so annoying at the start.

mollymcmo said...

i'm bad....almost 7 years later and i still have my maiden name on my visa.
still works though.
maybe if i switched it over now the debt will disappear? lol!

m