One morning back home several weeks ago, my brother and I woke up early and headed out to the attraction in Florida with the longest lines: the Department of Motor Vehicles. My brother needed to update his license picture, and made sure I was awake early enough to accompany him. Like all good Americans, we were ready and eager to deal with the government’s most efficient agency, and couldn’t wait to get there.
We arrived at the DMV shortly before opening, and the line stretched around the building. The early crowd was a particularly political one: Obama t-shirts outnumbered Hawaiian beach shirts, a rare phenomenon by the beaches of South Florida. (There was also one Romney t-shirt.) Of course, it makes sense that the politicos were the early birds: only political junkies are aware of a Federal statute mandating that all departments of vehicles, motor or otherwise, begin lunch break for its employees at 10 a.m. In fact, a confusing array of federal regulations mandate that waiting time must be at least an hour and every fifth person in line must be sent to another DMV at least fifty miles away.
After waiting the better part of an hour, my brother and I were ushered inside, only to wait in line and be told he would need a birth certificate, social security card, old license, notarized letter of recommendation, and two unique documents attesting to his current address. We were sent to a counter, where my brother provided his paperwork and life biography. The man behind the counter spent fifteen minutes inspecting the documents before informing us that we were missing a second paper authenticating our address. My brother then presented his current driver’s license. This was not accepted. The man explained to us that the DMV does not recognize its own ID cards as valid forms of identification.
I walked out and over to the car, on the off chance that a second piece of mail just happened to be laying in the glove compartment. I very much did not want to have to drive home, root through the trash, and find a crumpled envelope with coleslaw bits and mustard smears to present to the DMV. As luck would have it, I found a granola bar in the glove compartment. I did not, however, find further proof of address tied to my brother’s name.
On my way back from the car, I noticed the only man in all of Broward County wearing a Romney shirt standing ready at another counter, ready to endure his impending punishment. This gentleman was waiting for the woman behind the desk to finish her Slurpee and renew his license. Protected by her government-mandated coffee break, she simply sat there, slurping away and daring him to speak to her manager. So, of course, the Romney man was just itching to fire her. “We like to streamline businesses,” I could hear him think, “and you are the weakest link. Goodbye.”
I began to wonder how Romney himself would engage the staff, or the parts of the staff he kept. “Oh, so you have minimum wage-paying jobs? I understand what such a situation is like—I’m unemployed. Ha ha ha. Aren’t I funny? But on a more serious note, if you work hard, you can one day get promoted to branch manager, and maybe be as successful as someone like me. On an unrelated note, I need the tags on four of my Cadillacs updated.” He can really be quite a motivator when he needs to be.
But Mitt Romney would never rely entirely on carrots if he were to run the DMV; he’d use his fair share of sticks as well. Any underproductive worker would be strapped to the roof of a test car as 16-year-olds whiz around the parking lot like go-kart drivers and are granted legal permission to do the same on public roads. Not to worry for the teenagers’ sake: any unpleasant bodily emissions resulting from the rides will be immediately hosed off the windshield. And Romney would not quit until he saw results. Or sold the DMV.
I finally rejoined my brother at the counter, and after 20 more minutes of debate about the missing piece of mail, the man helping us offhandedly mentioned that emails work too. With the help of his phone, my brother pulled up an email, and we were good to go. A mere half-hour later, the process was over. Walking back to the car, we both let out a sigh of relief that the visit did not take more than one calendar day. More importantly, though, I realized how to fix the system: Appoint Mitt Romney chief executive officer of the DMV. He would get the job done.
Jacob R. Drucker ’15, a Crimson editorial writer, lives in Mather House.