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I’m counted in the U.S. census; my cat is not

I’m counted in the U.S. census; my cat is not I’m counted in the U.S. census; my cat is not

When I submitted my official 2020 U.S. Census form over the weekend, it formally added a nice singular number to the country's population total. One. That's it. Just a husky -- OK, chubby -- Caucasian male of European descent who owns his house and was not staying in a nursing home, jail, prison or detention center as of April 1. Pretty simple. Although they didn't ask about my intelligence level. Go figure.

My cat wasn't happy with our household census report. No, the number was OK with him, it's just that he figured he should have been the one counted instead of me. I told him, 'Hey, when you pay the taxes and grow opposable thumbs and fill out the form yourself, you can count whoever you want.' He didn't argue, although he was licking his crotch at the time. Stupid cat.

I must say I was surprised at how easy the form was to complete, and this coming from a guy who's figured out a way to screw up instant pudding (oh, just one cup of milk, not four). I got myself all nice and comfy in my chair, pulled a blanket over my legs, had a fresh can of soda on the table next to me, and even cleaned my laptop screen (who spit hot dog chunks on there anyway?) for what I expected would be a lengthy process. I was gonna' notify a few family members of what I was doing just in case, you know, something catastrophic might happen, but then I figured, what the heck, if I'm dead, they're not gonna wanna count me in the census anyway, so what's the big deal? Somebody would've come looking for me eventually when I didn't show up for Christmas or somethin.' The instructions for the census were brief, too. First, they said to 'count all people, including babies ...' I thought it peculiar that they had to specifically tell us to count the babies, as if you know, anyone who isn't old enough yet to control their bowels or recite their ABCs might not qualify as people. That seemed an odd detail to me, and made me wonder why they didn't also make sure to remind us to count grandparents, third cousins, refugees hiding in the attic, and those people who show up uninvited in your yard and try to tell you what god you should worship. Just to be sure, I looked around for any babies, and finding none, continued with the instructions.

So far, well ...

The instructions next told me to count all people 'who live and sleep here most of the time.' Hmm. Does that mean that I should include in my final number the people who sleep here most of the total time, or just most of the time that they are here. That makes a difference, 'cuz I have a son who shows up now and again, and when he does, he sleeps, right there, on the couch, with the dirty socks he just peeled off tossed on the coffee table next to the cereal bowl half filled with unused milk. In the end, I decided I'd let somebody else count him. Just seems it's about time that happened.

Next I was told that the Census Bureau also conducts counts at various places besides your normal abodes, such as colleges, military facilities, nursing homes, prisons, dog houses (I did sleep there 'most of the time' when I was married), bomb shelters, fishing cabins, winter snow forts and convenience store restrooms, and that I should exclude such people from my final tally. 'Otherwise,' the instructions stated, 'they may be counted twice.' And that we don't want, of course, or we might find out in the end that we have like 340 million people and only enough emergency pandemic face masks for about two dozen, give or take.

No, wait, that already happened.

Moving on, my form asked me how many people were living or staying in my house as of April 1, to which, after a little math, I answered '1.' Thinking I was done with the arithmetic part, it then asked me if there were any 'additional' people staying at my place as of said date that I 'did not include' in the first answer.

Hold on now, if they were staying at my place on April 1, why wouldn't I have counted 'em, and secondly, that would explain where all the toilet paper has been going. The 'additional' people may have included -- Children, related or unrelated: What, you want me to get blood tests?

-- Newborn babies: There it is again. I don't know about you, but if I have babies lying around, I tend to count 'em.

-- Relatives, such as cousins or in-laws: You know, when you're twice divorced, you don't see a lot of in-laws loitering around the place.

-- People staying here temporarily: I don't know, the UPS guy stops now and again.

Question number 3 was straightforward and asked me to indicate whether this address is for a house, apartment or mobile home, to which I said 'Yes.' It also asked if the place is owned with a mortgage, owned 'free and clear,' or rented, although I'm not sure why that information is pertinent to a census count. I mean, it didn't ask me how many toasters are found in the house, or how many windows it has, so why does the government need to know if it's owned or rented. Sounds fishy to me. Must has something to do with voter suppression. Just sayin.' Question #4 asked me for my telephone number, to which I wanted to answer '911,' but figured I might be counted in a 'jail or prison' at the next census if I get too cocky. The next one was for my name -- first, middle initial, last -- and though I hated to divulge such personal information, I decided in the end to give it up just in case they use this data someday to send million-dollar checks to chubby white guys who own their own homes. What? Could happen.

Next they wanted my gender, and surprisingly, still only give the 'Male' and 'Female' options. Lawsuits coming on that one, I'll bet.

Question 7 asked for my age and birthdate, standard stuff. The next one asked if I was of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin, but with a name like Dean and skin more pale than the paper on which the form is printed, I think they could have figured it out. Finally, the Census Bureau wanted to know my race. I checked the 'White' box, and although in the space where I had to list my specific ancestry I wrote 'Slovenian,' I really wanted to go with 'Klingon.' That woulda' fouled up somebody's data base.

Again, my cat thought I should have checked the box for 'Some other race' and wrote in Brown Tabby.

Stupid cat.