Once upon a time, the abstract concept of government bureaucracy gained sentience, and immediately decided it would be a regular ol' hoot to choose a little human boy at random, and deal him an epic Bureaucratic Dropkick straight in the legal d******e.
"When I was born, my mother, in a fit of rage, put her maiden name on my birth certificate, despite being married to my dad," says King Kagle, who now uses his father's surname. Perhaps because it leaves him with the best name this side of a Nintendo villain.
We put the words "King Kagle" in our stock image database and this was the only result.
"No biggie, I'd grow up and never know the name Kagle (I assume she assumed). By October (four months later), she was like, 'f**k parenting' and drove from Atlanta to Pittsburgh [where his dad lived] to get rid of me. She left me with no birth certificate, no Social Security card ... and I didn't see her again until she signed divorce papers."
His father, having been left with a small and exorbitantly leaky human, and no way to prove he hadn't simply picked it up in the Walmart parking lot, went to the Social Security Administration office to get a card. "The guy [at the counter] replied, 'What name do you want on it?' My father, being reassured by Mr. Is It Five-O'Clock Yet that it was totally his choice, gave him the name Kagle -- you know, my name -- and thought everything was kosher. Spoiler alert: It wasn't."
If they literally assigned him the name "Mr. Is It Five-O'Clock Yet," it couldn't have turned out worse.
Kagle, being a baby, didn't give it much thought at the time. Later, when he became a big boy with dreams of a big boy car and big boy job and big boy crushing debt, he took the traditional pilgrimage to the DMV to get the necessary documents to prove he was said boy.
Long story short: He couldn't get an ID.
Long story long: 1) He was born with one name, 2) his Social Security card was issued under another name, 3) the two aforementioned names had to match in order to obtain an ID, and 4) he was issued a previously unknown Social Security card at birth that -- wait for it -- was also under the wrong name.
"And then your pants have another name altogether!"
"So the DMV told me to try going to Social Security, and getting my card reissued under my birth name."
Though that came with the obvious downside of giving up a sweet-ass name like King Kagle, at least it was a solution.
Unfortunately, by that time, terrorists had fucked everything up, and fucked him up, specifically, in one very specifically fucked up way. After the 9/11 attacks, the Real ID Act required states to follow rigorous Social Security Number verification practices when issuing a driver's license or identity card. Because if you let a terrorist obtain a fake ID, the next thing you know, he'll be using that ID to get a credit card. Then he'll use that credit card to get some Nikes, and if he gets some Nikes, he'll want to stuff them with plastic explosives and now you've gone and created a nightmare version of If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.
If you give him the explosives, he'll ask for 40 virgins ...
After applying for a new Social Security card through the mail, Kagle received a reply stating that he needed to send in a copy of his photo ID, which was obviously not an option, or stop by the nearest Social Security Administration office.
"The nice lady there ran my details through the computer and, lo and behold, told me that I was issued a card at birth. I could have a card reissued under my birth name for a price ... but only if I provided a valid photo ID. That was my first Catch-22: No ID until names match, no matching names until ID."
It's a wallet, not a magician's hat. He can't just "Abracadabra!" that s**t.
The nice Social Security lady then suggested he try the courthouse, at which point we assume she began vigorously making armpit farts until he sighed and trudged away in defeat. "I get to the courthouse and learn that they can fix all my problems ... for $300 plus surcharges."
That was a problem at the time, because while a few hundred smackaroos may not sound like all that much to the wealthy elites we assume comprise the bulk of our readership, to a guy like Kagle, it was a golden unicorn that shat diamonds. Without an ID, he couldn't get a job, leaving his family of four living on $400 a month, the blessing of income-based rent, and good intentions.
"So that's my second, and biggest, Catch-22: I can't get $300+ without a job. I can't get a job without an ID. I can't get an ID without $300+. I can't get $300+ without a job ..."
That left it all in a sort of sad and boring Mexican standoff between Kagle, the government, and his wallet. Until one night, when Kagle was walking around his old neighborhood, and made the mistake of happily greeting a grumpy cop. Then he truly learned the downside of no ID: "I apparently matched the description of a car vandal (the oh-so-specific 'male in a hoodie'), and without ID on me, I just had to be the guy. I pleaded with them, and told them how I had gone to school there, and the only picture of me with a name on it was the one in the yearbook. They replied that they had a yearbook, and brought me to the station, where an older cop said, 'Book him as a John Doe.' And that's how I learned that you can be arrested for simply not having an ID."
"No, a four-year-old Twitter account doesn't count as 'ID'."
Though he may not technically exist, Kagle is far from alone. He joins the likes of Texan Anthony Settles, whose name doesn't match his 1950 birth certificate. Or 72-year-old Hargie Randall, who can't get a photo ID because of a one-letter typo on his birth certificate (which, if we're keeping score, is slightly stupider than Kagle's predicament). Then there's Myrtle Delahuerta, who spent two years attempting to obtain an ID, when she could've learned professional mime instead, and at least came out of it with something.
Here's a super weird thing that they all have in common: They're all "poor, black, Latino, or elderly." In other words, a veritable bingo card of people that the rich don't want voting. And wouldn't you know it -- a majority of states are passing laws requiring photo ID to vote. And if the 3.2 million Americans who find it next to impossible to obtain government-issued photo ID are not allowed to vote, why, that could sway the result of a f*****g presidential election.
George Frey/Getty Images
The fate of the free world may rest in the hands of folks like King Kagle. Let's put a god damn ID in them, shall we?
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