The other day, my employer sent out an e-mail asking us all to update our personal info on the company site in the event of an emergency. Being the dutiful employee I am, I immediately set about navigating the intricacies of the online form, updating my phone number and my sister's information (she's getting my Pez collection when I die). Everything looked good.
Then I scrolled down to the bottom of my page and found some other personal items listed under the heading: "To edit this information, see your Human Resources Department."
While the phone number I had just updated had been simply one numeral off, the information at the bottom of the page was seven years off:
Marital status: Married
I got a bit of a frustrated chuckle out of this, seeing as M. and I separated in 1999 and were officially divorced a year later.
Again, being the dutiful employee I am, I shot an e-mail to HR asking how to go about erasing this info. After all, I could just imagine me having a breakdown in the newsroom, perhaps fainting from not being able to eat lunch all day and my body failing to run on the fuel provided by three baby carrots.
"She's married!" someone would proclaim. "We've got to call her spouse!" And M. would answer the phone sleepily (why, I don't know, as I picture this scene happening around 5 p.m.) and yawn and say, "Well, I'm in bed with my girlfriend right now. I think maybe I have her new number around here somewhere ... you know, you can probably reach her at the newspaper ..."
(Not to mention the wrangling over the Pez collection that would ensue following my demise.)
So, today I received an e-mail from HR saying they would be happy to edit my information -- if I would provide them with a copy of my divorce papers.
No one had ever asked me for my marriage certificate -- surely, a much prouder, happier occasion.
But here was HR, the same department that last year demanded I provide a copy of my dad's death certificate in order to get a day off for his funeral (that was a cheery moment). And now this?
I wrote back: "Are you serious? Don't you think I'd know if I were divorced?"
This prompted a phone call. "Hi! This is X from HR," a cheery voice said. "I got your e-mail. But I don't get it."
"I was joking," I said. "You really need me to show you the divorce decree? I'm not sure I even know where it is."
"Let me doublecheck the system," she said, and after a moment, "Yes, we still show you as married."
I can't help but liken my marriage to Rabbit's warren in Winnie-the-Pooh, which was oh, so easy for Pooh Bear to enter into and enjoy the honey -- but oh, so hard to pull himself out of.