The Criminals Among You

The other day I went to pick up a prescription for my son.

“I need to see your driver’s license,” the clerk informed me.

Usually, I use my military ID card for identification, but in this case, she specifically asked for my driver’s license, so I fished it out and handed it to her.

“This is expired,” she informed me.

“What??” My stomach plummeted to my knees.

“Yes, in November.”  She handed it back.

Oh no!  Another one of those things I’m supposed to remember—like all those passwords for hundreds of websites that I visit every two years.  How am I supposed to keep track of all these things I’m expected to do?  At my age, my brain is full!  It can’t be responsible for squeezing in any more information.  Of course, it would be nice if the state of Florida sent a reminder that our driver’s license is about to expire and needs to be renewed.  But we are talking about a government department.  Why should they do any more work than necessary?  Besides, if they sent out reminders, they couldn’t collect the late fees on people who forget to renew their licenses.

The realization that I had been driving around with an invalid license sent a wave of terror down my spine.  At any time during the past two months, I could have been in an accident or pulled over by a policeman and potentially carted away to jail.  I’m a law-abiding citizen, for crying out loud.  How would I explained this to my Sunday school class?  I was suddenly paralyzed with the fear of driving home.  I just knew something bad was going to happen during the two mile trip. By the grace of God I made it home with the guilty knowledge I was breaking the law.  But I refused to drive to church that night.  I had to go with my husband, which meant getting there early and staying late—with a business meeting, no less.  Probably my punishment for being a criminal.

The next day was my husband’s birthday, which fell on his day off.  Instead of sleeping in, he had to get up and take our son to school and then drive me to the tax collector’s office.  There is a sign on the door that says, “Welcome to the Tax Collector’s Office.”  Somehow, that seemed like rubbing salt in an open wound.  Does anyone actually enjoy a trip to the tax collector?  Or feel welcome?  Usually it’s worse than a root canal without Novocain. Fortunately, however, there was no line and the lady who processed me was very nice.

So now you’ll be happy to know I’m driving legally again.  But who knows how long it would have taken me to realize I was driving around with an expired license if it hadn’t been for that astute clerk at the pharmacy?  Hopefully not as long as I as it took me to find out I had an expired DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) license.  It seems that when I quit my job at one veterinary clinic and moved to another, my mail didn’t get forwarded to me, so I never received notice of renewal for my DEA license.  I discovered this when I went to change my name on my license after I got married in ’91.   Apparently my license had been invalid for seven years!  I asked the representative in the government office what I should do until my new license was issued.  (This was back in the old days before instant online renewal).  She replied I shouldn’t write any prescriptions for controlled drugs until I got my new license in about three weeks.  Even though I hadn’t been caught for seven years, I was so nervous I didn’t write prescriptions for anything!   Just imagine what might have happened if I hadn’t gotten married!  My husband not only saved me the fate of being an old maid and a crazy cat lady, but also the fate of being a felon!

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