Chuck Huey is a 73 year old gent who lives over in Kingston, Pennsylvania. No fool he, Chuck knows that even though we no longer have the draft young men who turn 18 are required by law to sign up with the U.S. Selective Service System.
Old Chuck also has a healthy respect for the immense power of the federal government. He's read enough headlines about NSA spying and IRS harassment to know you don't want to cross Uncle Sugar.
So when elderly Chuck received a letter from the Selective Service he opened it immediately. And, lo and behold, Uncle Sam was threatening Chuck's grandfather with heavy fines and serious prison time if he didn't immediately sign up with Selective Service. The problem was Chuck's grandfather, though he lived a long fruitful life, surviving to age 100, had died back in 1995!
To quote "eloquent old Chuck"...."Geeze!...what the hell is this about?" So Chuck got on the phone and called the Selective Service Office. Problem is, the Selective Service is not very busy these days so Chuck spent hours trying to navigate an automated calling system in order to talk about this problem. It seems the Selective Service Office seems to be the only federal bureaucracy that didn't grow following the end of the draft. In fact, this agency, that has the power of life and death...or certainly bankruptcy and prison, over its citizens only has 60 full time employees nation wide. Then they have another 70 part employees who occupy themselves sending out threatening letters to any kid who forgot to register with them.
Well, you know good part time help is hard to find. Maybe the feds were paying those part-timers something less than the $10.10 federal minimum...or maybe they were just occupied with playing the "What If" game that all those IRS agents were caught playing. Well, for whatever reason it seems those Selective Service letter writers made a little "oops".
It seems the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is required to submit records for youths who apply for a driver's license, or who get a ticket, or are otherwise caught up in a bureaucratic trap over to the Selective Service Office, the better to catch those dastardly kids who haven't signed up for any future draft. Then the SS matches those names against anyone who hasn't signed up with them.
Well the snafu occurred when the records were transmitted for youth who were born between 1993 and 1997. Except, somehow, the bureaucrats wrongly recorded the birth dates as 1893 to 1897! And they did for 14,000 odd records!
So, back to old Chuck, sitting there minding his own business over in Kingston, Pennsylvania, Chuck, desperate to contact a human at Selective Service before federal stormtroopers come busting down his door.
Well, apparently some grandson or great grandson or great granddaughter of these 14,000 ancient and long dead miscreants was able to get through to the Selective Service. Because Thursday morning the SS posted an apology on their web site and promised not to come after these long dead relatives...and they had called off the storm troopers so every one could just chill out.
A Selective Service spokesman is quoted as saying "We made an error...a quite serious error." They also offered that "this has never happened before" which seems to be the pat response when our federal masters are caught screwing something up.
So old 73 year old Chuck Huey is breathing easier again. His caretaker says his heart rate and blood pressure have almost returned to a normal range for an elderly gent. And no doubt his great grandfather has stopped spinning in his grave.
Funny, very funny.