All the Required Paperwork

“Aaaaaaaaaaa?” the hard faced, white-haired lady said. “It says ‘Aaaaaaaaaaa.’”

“Yes ma’am,” he said.

“Your name is ‘Aaaaaaaaaaa?’”

“It’s pronounced ‘Bill.’”

“Bill?” She stared at him in outrage. “How do you get ‘Bill’ out of eleven A’s?”

“It’s a foreign spelling.”

“Well, that’s just ridiculous!”

“It’s on my birth certificate.” He proffered his wrinkled document.

“I’m not issuing a driver’s license to ‘Aaaaaaaaaaa.’”

“Bill,” he corrected.

“I don’t care how you pronounce it!” Her eyes scanned further down the paperwork. “And what’s this? Your last name is ‘Puffiboomboom?’”

“Yes…”

“Puffy … boom boom?”

“Well, it’s, um—”

“What, do you pronounce it, ‘Smith?’”

“Actually, it’s pronounced, ‘Ledbetter.’”

“Ledbetter?” Her wrinkles flushed crimson. “How do you get ‘Ledbetter’ from ‘Puffiboomboom?’” She held up her wiry hand. “Don’t tell me. Foreign spelling.”

“Yes.”

“How stupid do you think I am?” she said. “This has to be a prank!”

“No, ma’am.”

“I’m not buying this, not at all!”

“I have all the paperwork filled out—”

“Aaaaaaaaaaa Puffiboomboom is not getting a driver’s license. Not from me.”

“Ma’am, I didn’t choose this name. It’s something I’ve had to live with all my life.”

“Well, it’s time to choose something else!”

“I can’t.”

“Why not? If your name is ‘Bill Ledbetter’ then why don’t you just spell it that way?”

“Can we do that?”

“Well,” she said, “let’s see.” She typed angrily at her keyboard for long minutes, and then a machine whirred. She grabbed a stamp, smacked it down on his paperwork like a judge banging a gavel, and then slid the whole pile at him. “There, Aaaaaaaaaaa Puffiboomboom, it’s done.”

He stared at his brand new driver’s license. The picture was typically horrible, but the name was spelled “Bill Ledbetter.”

“Thank you,” he said to her.

She huffed, then looking past him at the long line, shouted, “Next!”

Bill gathered the papers and his new license and walked quickly outside to where his friends waited. He showed them the license, pointing at the birth date. Magically, he was now over 21 years old.

“Dude!” yelled one of his ecstatic friends. “Let’s go buy beer!”

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