Sunday, May 27, 2012

It Is My Duty To In-Form You...

(Reprinted from today's Times and News-Star)

Life requires good form.

If you don’t believe it, try getting a driver’s license without a form. Try going to school without a form. Try being born without one.

Forms don’t lie. People do. Which is why Loretta Lynn, one of the greatest and countriest country singers ever, was accused this week of being three years older than she really is -- however old that is. She says she’s 77. No biggie, except the long-ago forms uncovered by some inquiring mind suggest she’s 80 and was almost 16 when she got married, not 13 as she had claimed.

Either way, the Coal Miner’s Daughter is now and old miner’s daughter. You can run from the form, as Loretta has, but you can’t hide.

If you graduated this week, you know something already of forms. You’ve filled out forms to play YMCA ball, to join Key Club, to be on swim team, to get your cap and gown. You filled out a form just to get into school.

This is by no means the end of the form line. If you think it is, you are in for a long road of wasted time and money. As stupid as the form seems, as trivial as it might appear to you, it is the Holy Grail of Purpose for some people, and rightly so. There are Form Gatherers who live and breathe The Form. They can get on your nerves, but you’ve got to have ’em, or else anarchy ensues.

A couple of weeks ago we had Saturday morning physicals for high schoolers. I had to go to the gym because my high schooler did not acquire the form the day before. While I filled out the form, using a gym wall for a desktop, I asked that she note this, that life is filled with forms and if you forget your form, you are in for woe, and if you remember your form, you are in the gym now cracking jokes with your friends who filled out forms at home, and got their parents to sign them, last night.

As anyone who’s been humbled by the power of the form and has learned his lesson will tell you, “a lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.” In other words, next time you forget the form, the consequences will be high and will be yours, completely, to oversee.

That seemed like a big deal over nothing until later that week when the lesson hit home, to the tune of about 20 large. I’ll explain:

I have a friend and sometimes column correspondent who is scheduled to have an offspring graduate, with honors, from a highly regarded private college. The only problem is, his daughter forgot to fill out a form way back at the first of the semester. The class she’s in, and has passed, she’s technically NOT in. She never registered. So she can’t graduate. So say the Form Gatherers and the highest of the high, the Form Judges.

This could be a mistake in the realm of $20,000. A do-over in the grownup world is expensive. In the grownup world, these excuses are met with laughter, a look of disgust, and often a snide remark.

“But I didn’t get a form.” You should have.

“I didn’t know you had to have a form.” You always have to have a form.

“I hate you and your forms!” Yawn.

Remember when God made the world? It was “void and without form.” That’s the first thing He fixed.