Friday, January 29, 2010

Close Enough

Close Enough

By Allison Adams 01-22-10, submitted to The Greeneville Sun on 01-23-10

I hate filling out forms. Am I alone?

I hate it so much that I really have to exercise amazing self-restraint in order to keep from moaning, groaning, and throwing myself into a heap on the floor whenever someone passes me a clipboard with a chewed-up pencil tied to a string.

The other day I had to fill out five forms just so my son could get an emergency sports physical. It was an emergency because I’d forgotten he needed one in order to play, and the game was scheduled to start in 67 minutes. I had to fill out five forms because it was a new year and a new office with new files.

“Just fill these out, front and back, sign here and here and here, and initial here and here, and bring them back to me when you’re through.” instructed the receptionist as she passed me the clipboard and its accoutrements.

Awwwwwww. Do I really have to?” I whined.

“We’re updating our files.” she stated.

“But this is all OLD information.” I whimpered.

“But you need to write it on these NEW forms.” she ordered.

“Ohhhh alllll riiiight!” I grumbled as I dragged the clipboard across the floor by the pencil to which it was tied.

Part of the reason I absolutely cannot stand to fill out forms is because I no longer have some of the requested information filed safely in my rememory.

We moms have to store so much data in our brains that at some point we have no other choice but begin to forget things that we feel are no longer pertinent. The older my children get, the more selective my recall becomes.

When I’m prodded to produce previously purged particulars – I often punt.

“This form is asking for your birth-weight. What did you weigh when you were born?”

“I don’t know, mom. I was so busy marveling at my new environment, I neglected to pay attention to the scale when the nurse weighed me.”

“You had a very large head. I’ll put down 12 pounds. I’m no good with numbers. That’s close enough. “

When you have several kids its hard to keep all their significant data straight. This is where I really struggle – significant data. And also some names. Frankly, the older I get, the more one kid and his or her first day of kindergarten rolls right into another.”

“What is your date of birth?”

“Are you kidding me, mom?”

“Oh, I know its December. And its early in the month – I believe it’s the first day.”

“Very good, mother, you’re almost there.”

“And you’re fourteen – so I’ll just do the math …”

“I’m seventeen.”

“Close enough. What was the date of your last tetanus shot?”

“I’m not supposed to remember that stuff, mom – you are!”

“This is critical information – you need to know this in case you step on a rusty nail. Now let me think … I remember it was raining on the day I brought you in for that because I had to park about a mile away and I forgot to bring an umbrella so we were soaked by the time we reached the doctor’s office, and I was wearing pantyhose – February 20, 2002.”


“Close enough.”

I hate filling out forms so much that there have been times when I’ve been very tempted to embellish a bit – just for spite – and to make a mundane exercise a little more interesting. Surely I’m not the only one who thinks that some of the information requested on certain forms is just ridiculous!

Patient’s Mother’s Name: Allison Wonderland Adams

(People have actually called me that, and I have actually answered to it.)

Hobbies: Ice sculpting, mindreading, singer in a rock & roll band.

(Seriously – who’s going to check this?)

Sometimes I purposefully put my checkmark outside of the box. Sometimes I autograph the form instead of simply signing my name. You may not think there is a distinct difference, but I can assure you there is.

It won’t surprise you to learn that it took less time for the doctor to thoroughly complete my son’s sports physical than it did for me to thoroughly complete the aforementioned paperwork. I autographed the last page on the clipboard as my son emerged from exam room #3.

“Well doc, did he pass?” I asked.

“Close enough.”

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