Wednesday, March 17, 2010

No, Madam. Cats cannot be counted as children...

This Friday at 2:00 P.M., I will be taking the test required to become a 2010 U.S. Census taker. You're jealous, I know. But only the creme de la creme of highly trained professionals, (I believe the elite fraternity will be limited to a mere 56,000 of us), will be selected to niggle the details of who's living in your back room out of you. We'll have you revealing the sex, race, age, immigration status and home phone numbers of everyone who's ever spent the night on your Jennifer convertible before you have a chance to say, "Bob's NOT my uncle, and get your foot out of my door!"

Making the decision to try to become a census taker wasn't easy. Even though I've been out of work for nearly two years and hoping that one of the positions for which I've applied at The New York Times, the CIA, or Auto Zone might come through, this opportunity was simply too good to pass up.

So... the test. Believe it or not, (according to the online sample exam), you have to know how to multiply decimals in order to become a census taker. This is not my forte, but I believe I'm capable enough to remember where the decimal point should go. More difficult though, is trying to comprehend why I need this skill to check a box on a form. Now a foot race I could understand. I mean, I don't expect everyone to instantly fall for my census-taking charms. But happily I'll be paired with a similarly well-trained professional who I'm hoping is even slower and fatter than I am. (I know a bit about the use of a decoy from having watched NCIS and from the aforementioned CIA job application). But who am I to question anyone who's willing to pay me $18.95 an hour to get a little exercise and to find out embarrassingly private details about my neighbors?

So wish me luck, and if, in the next few weeks, you hear a knock at the door and see a slightly graying woman with a clipboard in her hand, please remain calm, remember that cats cannot be counted as children, (no matter how much you love them), and let's begin with your name, age, and phone number....


  1. You have people who take a census?! Over here, they leave it all up to us so we can count as many cats as we like - and the fairies at the bottom of the garden too. I reckon that's why there are so many Boomers; what with all the wacky baccy, we just counted anything that moved, and that was most things except the things that were supposed to move!

  2. Shoot. I'm jealous about the cat thing- you Brits have such class....

  3. I reckon counting cats is how we ended up with 2.4 children each. Maybe that's why you need to be able to handle decimals..?!