I’m a census nerd. I always have been. Plenty of people love the Constitution, so I don’t really understand why there aren’t more losers like me. I remember sitting in my sixth grade class when we learned about the 2000 Census, and while everyone else yawned and fidgeted, I was glued to my seat. And I still am. While most of you were tossing your census forms on the kitchen table by the unpaid Xfinity bill, I was unabashedly pouring over mine.
Why? First, the obvious reasons. The census is important for the allocation of federal funds for various public works, emergency services, schools, hospitals and all that jazz. The numbers in the census also determine state's representation in the House of Representatives for the 2012 election. While the folks at the census are stewing up super sexy ad campaigns for subways and billboards (“If we don’t know how many ___ we have, how will we know how many ___ to have?”), they’re doing the wildly thrilling work that B.Frank, George Washington, Madison and Co. cooked up for them over 200 years ago.
Think about how much smaller the country was back then. But we still count everyone! Individually! By mail! Crazy! And if you don’t fill it out, a census-taker will come to your house, knock on your door and ask you those ten simple questions his or herself. And they’re hiring! OCR didn’t pan out? TFA reject you? LSAT scores look like crap? Federal employment opportunities are calling your name. Seriously, the 2010 Census jobs website is practically begging you to come work for them. Those people make it seem like Barack Obama himself will personally chauffer you to those reticent peoples’ homes in an American-flag covered Batmobile that runs solely on the fumes of freedom.
And your work will be easy. This time around, the census is much shorter than in decades past. It only has ten questions. You know this has got to be important because the government has allotted the census people $11 billion to do the job. Your census response is actually required by law and punishable by fine or imprisonment: if they don’t know how many lazy Ivy Leaguers there are, how will we know how many prisons to have?
So fill out your census. I don’t think I can move forward until you mail your form in.