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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tell all to nice ol' Uncle Sam

By Charles Memminger

I am so excited I can hardly hold my water. (My GLASS of water, you weirdo.) In a few days I will receive the U.S. Census form, something I look forward to like a little kid looks forward to Christmas, if Christmas came only every 10 years. I mean, getting the census form in the mail is, like, 100 times more exciting than getting the new phonebook.

The census is mandated by Article 1, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, written at that curious time in history when the country was populated not just by "free persons" but also "three-fifths persons," and educated people spelled the word "choose" like "chuse." Seriously. Look it up.

It also was written at a time when there were just "several" states (one of them called "Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations") and there were only a few thousand people roaming around. The idea was to count all these buggers so they could figure out how many congressional representatives to appoint from each of the several states. It took about three hours to do the census in 1790, because mostly they just asked people to raise their hands and say "present." I suspect that if the founding fathers knew there would be more than 300 million citizens lurking around the country one day they wouldn't have been so keen on counting them all.

Over the years the census has changed from just counting folks to finding out personal stuff about everyone in the country, like whether they are "male, female or other," their age, whether they walk naked around the house, drink whisky before lunch and other cool stuff that the government puts in a huge secret database that one day will be owned by China and end up on Google.

Nevertheless, I love filling out the census because the questions have become so interesting. I went online to look up this year's form. Here are some of the questions you'll have to answer:

1. On April 1, how many people were living in this house, apartment, mobile home, tent, igloo, shack, lean-to, shopping cart, prison cell, cave or "other"?

2. No, seriously, how many? And don't lie this time.

3. What about that guy under the bed?

4. Last chance. There's an FBI agent watching you from the driveway.

5. What is your telephone number and astrological sign?

6. What race are you? (And don't say "the hundred-yard dash.")

7. Hominid is not a race. Pick another. (Hint: Look at your arm. What color is it?)

8. Are you wanted on a fugitive warrant? (This will be kept confidential. Really.)

9. Do you know the Miranda Warnings by heart?

10. What is your favorite ethnic food: Chinese, Italian or Mexican?

11. What is your favorite color and the PIN number to your debit card account?

12. List all the passwords you have for online sites, especially www.Amazon.com.

13. Do you consider your dog or cat "part of the family"? If so, what are their names, Social Security numbers and political party affiliation?

14. Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Hair Club For Men?

15. Have you filled out this form honestly?

16. How do we know you aren't lying to us, you punk?

17. Last chance, who's that under the bed?