The process is simple, really. You get a form in the mail, you fill it in, and you send it back. [How easy it is to fill in depends largely on whether it’s the short form or the incredibly nosy long form.] And if you merit special attention, a real live census taker may show up at your door.
Now, there’s a profession that might just be trickier than it sounds at first blush. Asking people how many folks are living in their house? Piece of cake … until you run into Hannibal Lecter:
“A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.”
Taking the census is an expensive proposition, but it’s a Necessary Evil. At the very least, you need to know how many people inhabit a given state so that the appropriate number of political whores congressional representatives may be assigned to that state. And population data is essential to critical governmental functions such as gerrymandering, pork barreling, log-rolling, cheese distribution, et cetera.
Given that it is expensive, however, you wonder whether the People in Charge are doing everything they can to save a few bucks when they can. After all, the economy is still in the bog (by which I mean the toilet, not the swamp), and we need to conserve as many dollars as we can, the better to donate them to incompetent Wall Street investment bankers and sloppily-managed corporations.
So why did I get a letter from the folks at the Bureau of the Census a couple of days ago, the sole purpose of which was to tell me that I would be shortly be receiving — wait for it — another letter from the Bureau of the Census containing the actual questionnaire I would need to fill out?
I don’t need a fricking letter to tell me that I will be getting a letter. How many millions of taxpayer dollars were pissed away to send that letter? Don’t the bean-counters ever talk to the head-counters?
Why, it makes no sense-us!