Sunday, June 13, 2010
Upon learning that someone held an interest in who they were and what their lives were like, socially inept outcasts and the perpetually ignored citizens across the country waited with anticipation for the census forms to arrive.
As required by the Constitution, the U.S. Census is charged with counting every resident in the United States, even those citizens that nobody cares about. The questions are limited to collecting information about residents’ names, address, age, sex, and race in order to properly allocate federal funds targeted towards public works projects, hospitals, schools, and emergency services.
Having no common bond with anyone around her, Sarah Feldman, a lonely Chicago area resident, was excited to open up her newly arrived correspondence and eager to tell someone –anyone– about her personal attributes, anxious to share her hopes, dreams, and aspirations.
Unfortunately for Feldman’s fragile self image, the Census questionnaire was no more interested in her well-being --or what her summer plans were-- than anyone else she may boldly claim as an acquaintance.
“This is it?” Feldman asked with disappointment, realizing that the form was limited to 10 simple questions, and not one was about how her day was going. “It’s like only a page long!”
Feldman was quick to notice that there was no place to tell anyone about her three cats, who she claimed are like children to her.
“I’d want to write about how cute they are when they wrestle or how this one time, when Mr. Kittles found The Big Bopper lounging in his warm spot in the kitch. . . ” Feldman said as this reporter lost interest.
“Also, it didn‘t ask what religion I was.” Feldman said. “I had just converted to the Seventh Day Adventists and now I’m much more at peace. By the way, have you found Jes–.”
Feldman was unable to offer anything else of substance but was intrigued that the Census form did ask for her phone number. She has since spent long hours sitting by the phone waiting for someone to call.
Census Bureau Director Robert Groves has been surprised at the pathetic responses from Americans that spanned cultural, racial, and educational backgrounds.
“The slogan for the 2010 US Census is ‘We can’t move forward until you mail it back,’” said Director Groves. “Although, it appears as though some of our solitary citizenry are having a great deal of difficulty moving forward.”
The Census Bureau reports having received tens of thousands of letters from shut-ins and the homebound hoping that the agency that resides within the Department of Commerce would soon write back.
“They are begging that we please ‘ask them something else. . . anything’,” Director Groves said. “We cannot be your pen pal.”
Additionally, many were further distraught to learn that the Census is only conducted once a decade and won’t be back in 2011.
“I was hoping a census worker would drop by maybe next year,” said Feldman, who hasn’t had a face to face conversation with anyone for three months due to being chronically homebound with agoraphobia. “No one ever came to see me this time. . . . someone please visit me.”