This week I suffered the trauma of having to buy deodorant for my 8 1/2-year-old child. I don't think I needed deodorant until I was at least 13 or 14 -- I used it before then, but only to avoid standing out in the terrifying confines of the seventh-grade girls' locker room. But G is on a much different developmental path than the agonizingly slow one I followed, and she really needs that stick of strawberry-scented Teen Spirit. It seems like a bit of a drag to have to use deodorant before you're 9, but if the third-graders at her school are any indication, she'll have company by next year.
In other news, my struggle to get a passport continues. Now, I was not only born in the United States, but in a U.S. military hospital, on a U.S. military base, where I was delivered by a colonel in the U.S. Air Force. With those qualifications, I should be more than a citizen. I should be a Super Citizen whose picture is featured on government Web sites. Sort of like "Where's Waldo?" only it would be "Where's Vanessa?" and instead of a red-and-white stocking hat, I'd have a little American flag on a stick.
However, the aforementioned military hospital screwed up my records, and as a result, my birth certificate didn't get filed until more than three years after my birth. Well, as it turns out, if you have a delayed birth certificate, you need to present supporting documentation to prove you're a citizen when applying for a passport, and I haven't got any. When I called the National Passport Information Center, the lady on the phone ran through a whole list of documents that would be acceptable: Baptismal certificate? No. Hospital birth certificate? No. School records? No. Census records? No. High-school yearbook? No.
Finally I said "Look, my parents have been divorced since 1987, we've all moved multiple times since then, and any documents that might have existed have been lost. What can I do?" She said that a parent or older sibling could submit an affidavit stating knowledge of my birth, so now I just have to locate the affidavit form -- she thought it was available online, but it isn't -- and get it signed and notarized. All I can say is, it's a darn good thing both my parents are still alive, because I'm the eldest in my family by eight years and would be out of luck if I needed a sibling to vouch for me.
Anyway, if I ever do get this passport, I'm going to have to leave the country at least four times a year to make it worth the hassle. Anyone want to buy me a ticket to Paris? I hear they sell some lovely deodorant there.