Depends on who you ask

I went to my local auto dealer to buy a car last month.

“I’m sorry,” The salesman said after running my credit, ” We cannot finance you for this car. You are dead.”

“How can I be dead? I just test drove a car. I don’t think dead people drive.”

“I am only informing you of what the credit bureau has reported. You are dead. I’m sorry, you seemed like a nice person. Have a nice day.”

The salesman walked away, and I got in my old car and drove home. I went online and found the number to the credit bureau, pressed zero to talk to a human, waited on hold 25 minutes, and then finally talked to Fran Applebalm in North Dakota. Fran seemed like a nice woman at first. She tsk tsked when I said that I had been reported dead, and made sympathetic noises when I told her I was still very much alive.

“We can fix this, no problem.” Fran said once I told her my tale.

“Great! I replied. Lets do that.”

“Sure.” Said Fran, “You will just need to send me a copy of your death certificate.”

“”What?!” I shouted into the receiver. “There is no death certificate, because I am not dead!”

“You will need to calm down, Sir. I cannot help you if you become hostile.”

I counted to ten, took a deep breath, and tried again.

“Fran, I’m sure you can understand that I may have a hard time obtaining a document for an event that has yet to happen.”

“That’s no problem. Just call us back when you have the proper documents.”

“Wait, I can’t. . .”

A click on the line let me know Fran had disconnected our call.

I tried calling back. I had similar conversations with Talia Montaj in Kentucky, and Frank Smith in Wisconsin. Both conversations ended with the same clicking noise.

I  gave up on getting a new car. My ATM card still worked, and I still had my drivers license. It seemed like I didn’t really need anything else.

About a week later, I was pulled over by a motorcycle cop. After running my plates, he walked back up to my car window.

“Son, did you know that the registration for your motor-vehicle is no longer valid? Neither is your drivers license. I’m gonna have to ask you to step out of the car.”

I got out, and sat on the curb while the police officer had my car towed. He gave me a ticket, and told me how someone could pick my car up from the impound lot.

When I got to the impound lot, the clerk refused to return my license.

“This is the license of a dead man. You can’t use this to steal a dead man’s car! Shame on you! I ought to call the police.”

“But I’m not dead!” I shouted at her.

A burly tow truck driver grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and tossed me out of the shop like a rag-doll.

I went to the DMV to correct the error with my license, and they said I had to obtain a copy of my birth certificate.

I went to the country recorders office to obtain a copy of my birth certificate, and they said they needed valid ID.

I rode the bus home, frustrated and angry about the whole situation.

I decided not to show up for work the next day. Dead people don’t have jobs, right?

My boss called me and yelled at my answering machine. I took the bus to work the day after that.

While stepping down off the bottom stair of the bus, my shoelace caught on a loose screw, and I fell face first into the concrete curb.

I was unconscious for several moments.

The bus driver’s face was close to mine when I opened my eyes.

“You alive, son?”

I blinked several times.

Then I started to laugh uncontrollably.

Finally I answered,  “It depends on who you ask.”


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