January 10th, 2018


Hello, it's me

I went to the BMV today to get a new Driver's License. I don't have to renew anything for several more years, but since my address has changed, I needed to update it.

I went there a couple days ago, only to be turned away because I didn't have enough ID. I was perplexed. Wasn't the possession of an Indiana DL proof enough that I was entitled to another one? Especially since my address change was only within the same county? Apparently not. I had to be prepared to prove my identity, my residency, and my Social Security number. So I went back today, armed with my US Passport, last year's W-2 form, and two different bank statements addressed to me at my current home. This not only enabled me to get a DL, but one with a security feature on it that will now allow me access to federal buildings and so on with just my DL. (Surprise to me: I didn't know that I couldn't just flash a regular ID to enter anyplace in the State. For that matter, time was when nobody asked to see anything: you could just walk in, since as a member of the public you were considered one of the rightful sovereigns of the place.)

I figured all this insistence upon documentation was because of the epidemic of identity theft running through our society and the problem of illegal immigration entangled with it. So, okay. Times change, and we have to change with them. And the problem of fraud is one that has been with us for a long time, though often pooh-poohed by the pooh-bahs. Forty-four years ago, when Deanne and I had taken up residence in our first apartment following our marriage, we went down to the Vigo County Courthouse and registered to vote. I don't remember what we had to show to prove that we were eligible; nothing much, I don't guess. But I remember that later that week, we went to the Vigo County Public Library to get library cards, and when we had to prove our residency in the county, we attempted to use our brand-new Voter ID cards. We were refused. Apparently, being registered to vote in Vigo County wasn't proof that you actually lived there, at least in 1974.

One last wrinkle: they no longer hand you your new license when you go out the door. Nowadays, Homeland Security has to check everything, and they send you your new DL at home. All I got was a receipt with my info on it and bearing a copy of my new DL photo. I had attempted to smile and look pleasant for the camera, but the man in the photo staring back at me looked so old and grumpy, and so tired -- like he hadn't slept for decades. What happened to me?

Time, like an ever-flowing stream,
bears all its sons away.

Continuing Education Opportunity

A clergy friend I hadn't seen for a while was telling me that he and his wife really liked hiking. But he said they could only do day hikes. So, he asked me -- as a long-time Scouting and Venturing leader, veteran of many backpacking trips -- how they should prepare themselves for overnight hikes. What should they take? What should they know beforehand?

I asked him if he and his wife would be interested in learning how to do backpacking. My wife has expressed an interest in doing some 'packing again, and we could organize a little shakedown, if they were so inclined. He said he certainly would be, though he didn't know about his wife.

So, here's the deal. I would be willing to organize an adult backpacking class for my clergy friends and/or their spouses. Such a class would consist of the following.

1. A sit-down session on gear and general preparation. What to bring, what not to bring, what is essential and what is not. We would meet at a central location for a couple of hours.

2. A weekend (or other two-night period) shakedown experience. A shakedown is a mini-backpacking-trek. It is not for physical conditioning (in fact, we don't go very far). It is for learning and/or sharpening outdoor skills and forming the crew before heading out for a major trek. We learn and practice how to start the crew, when to take breaks, how to use (and adjust) our gear. We learn and practice how to set up camp, break down camp, distribute gear, hang bear bags, purify water, cook and clean up meals. And, given the contingencies, we may also be sharing a few first aid tricks for sore feet and whatnot. Once the weekend is over, the participants would be ready for a major trek -- or ready to lead a group on such a shakedown weekend.

For those who might be interested, I would then offer to meet with people after the weekend for, say, 3-4 hours to teach how to plan and cost out a major trip.

Those who might be interested in such a Continuing Education event, let me know.