Just fill out the form please

I bought an old boat and I have spent a lot of time fixing the leaks and getting the engine to run. Now came time to register the boat and so last week I went down and got the forms. In Texas when you buy a boat you have two forms to fill out plus a title for the boat and boat engine. Having not done this before, I started out thinking that it would be a routine task. I had the two titles signed by the prior owner and the two forms filled out and signed by the prior owner. So filled with hope and with a smile I drove down to the local courthouse to present the titles and paperwork to the court clerk so that the boat would be registered and titled in my name. Well on my first visit the young clerk looked at the titles and informed me that the titles needed to be signed on the back as was the front. So I went back to the prior owner to have him sign the back of the title at the location that the young clerk pointed to. He did so without hesitation and said that I was lucky to catch him as he and his wife were headed off to another part of the country for the next six months. At that point I felt lucky and happy. So I took the two newly signed titles and the forms back to the clerk’s office at the courthouse. This time I was met by a senior clerk, who quickly looker at the two titles and told me that they had been signed on the wrong line. She told me I would have to go back to the prior owner and have him sign the titles again. Then she glanced at the two forms that I had presented with the titles. She quickly told me that she would be unable to accept those forms because I had made a cross out and a correction (I used a pen to dark in a number that I placed on the form ) this meant that the forms were no good and they would have to be replaced with new ones and signed again. I was told by the clerk that the Parks and Wildlife Department would not accept any kind of crossover or mark over of any kind on the form. The form had to be perfect. Well at this moment my heart just sunk to my feet because the prior owner had told me that he was going to work at another location in the country and would not be back for six months. All of a sudden I felt like I wasn’t going to get the boat put in to my name. And if that was to happen I might as well just put the boat at the back of the property or use it as a prop on the pond. When I got home and told my wife what happened she said it was okay and that we could wait for six months, not to worry. Even though in my mind I knew the guy was already gone by now, I went to his house and found the place locked up. So I left a note on his door (I put the note in a plastic baggie so that there rain when destroy it) and I taped it to the door. My hope was that the note would survive any bad weather and the man would find the note when he got back home. I also wrote a letter to his address hoping that it would find him wherever he ended up. Luckily for me the man’s company decided not to send him to the other location and he went back to his house and found my note. So I went back to the senior clerk and got the new forms and asked her for directions on what should be signed and where it should be signed. I bring all this up because I’m sure that if you’ve ever owned a vehicle or boat or motorcycle you had to deal with the same procedures. I am sure you have had the same problem as I when it came to filling out a form. And I’m sure you felt the same frustration when the front desk clerk tells you that you’ve done something wrong and the court would not accept the form that you have presented. I know that when I lived in California and had to deal with the DMV it was always a negative and ugly experience. Especially when the clerk at the desk, who seems to hate their job and appeared not to really want to talk to you and looked at you with disgust and disdain only to tell you that you’ll have to go back and redo the form. That usually meant you also had to go back to the end of the line. Fortunately living in the rural community there are no long lines and the clerk actually seems like they want to help you before they tell you that you have to redo the form and the signatures over again. It is during these times that you realize the power of the front desk clerk. That person who is the gatekeeper who may or may not allow you to proceed with the lengthy and sometimes confusing forms that you must fill out perfectly to become the registered and titleholder. If you have a trailer the goes along with the boat it will demand that you go to a different agency and a different set of forms to register it. I know that each time that I go to get an inspection sticker for my vehicle I go and face the clerk with a positive attitude. And even when they tell me I can’t get there from here I still say thank you and smile as I walk away, I do not want to piss them off. Now, most things can be done on a computer and through the Internet. But there are some things that are still done the old-fashioned way which demands that you humbly go to the courthouse or the DMV and hope that all your forms are in proper order. For me it was a plus to have that clerk be pleasant but it still felt bad when I had to turn around rejected. I still do not have the titles or the forms ready for another run at the front desk clerk. This time I’m going to wait and have my wife help me fill out the forms in the hopes that between the two of us the form will be perfect. Pops

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