Those Stupid Registration Cards

Reprinted from Chumps on Parade (March 1998)

I never knew how many interesting things you get when you turn 18. Shortly after I reached this milestone I got to register to vote, received a “gift” from Gillette (a free razor and shaving cream, how the heck did they know it was my birthday? just another example of big corporations keeping tabs on us), multiple credit card offers, and a special message from the government. What was in the special message? An SSS notice, of course.

An SSS notice? What the heck is that? I opened it after the exciting packaging, “young men, important information about your future” triggered my curiosity; I wondered what branch of the armed forces they wanted me to join now. Unfortunately, it was just a disguised note reminding me to register in case they ever need to draft people. But to be honest, it was more like a threat. After requesting a bunch of information that they must already have (like my birth date, how else would they know I just turned 18?) you flip the card over to see a bunch of warnings about how you are required to register. “Failure to register is a crime”, “Register NOW for your future”, “Failure to register is punishable by a $250,000 fine and 5 years in prison”, “If you don’t register you will be denied federal assistance (financial aid, social security)”, and many other threats.

While I am not to hip to the idea of America ever having to draft people to fight some dumb war. I have always felt that when you need to draft people, it should be a sign that you aren’t fighting for anything worthwhile otherwise people would join on their own. I decided that the government was pretty serious in their threats. After all they (probably) played a part in killing Kennedy, beat Rodney King, fed nuclear cereal to US citizens, and a host of other things, so the consequences would probably be much worse than the threats they wrote on the envelope. Like I was expecting to get social security anyway. So I mailed the card in, which incidentally required a stamp. The least they could do is pay for the stamp if they ever expect me to die for them.

I’ll say it right now, if the draft is ever put into effect, I’m going to be a draft dodger. Bill Clinton, you were right about one thing! Spending some time in a jail sounds much better than dying within a few months in a war. I am sure I would die, I am a wimp. I would be of no help to them. I can barely lift 50 pounds, my main form of exercise is in-line skating, and I refuse to have anything to do with guns (the country would be much safer if there weren’t guns on the streets). They think that would help them win a war? I don’t think so. The sign-up officer would probably be so pissed at me that he would yell at me, “you fucking piece of shit, can’t you do anything right?” and escort me to wherever the military takes their wimps. It would be like gym class all over, in which I was frequently told what a piece of shit I was.

I don’t think the government should be mailing these cards out, they should focus on PEACE. How about requiring people to fill out cards to be drafted into helping to feed disaster victims in their area should the need arise? I would be all for that. But all their card did was remind me my life is probably a quarter of the way over, or should they get into a serious war, an indefinite stay in prison.

Author: mediamouse

Grand Rapids independent media //