No doubt you, dear reader, like I, have set up your routines to be just to your liking, and you can sit back and relax knowing that your repetitive ducks are all in a very neat, quietly quacking row.

You know that your electric bill is being paid automatically so you won’t be plunged into stygian gloom for non-payment. You’re confident your paycheck is going into the right account at the right time. When your passport expires; when your driver’s license is up for renewal – you’re organized to the back teeth, and happy as a spotted pup under a pickup truck.

If you want an abject lesson in frustration, try enrolling in a website that quite frankly doesn’t want you to enroll. I find government websites to be particularly irksome in this regard, and I tend to agree with a politician who put forward the theory that as it is extremely hard to fire a government worker, there is no need, if the mood strikes, for anyone to really give a rat’s patootie, thus dragging down morale, and the need to do a good job.

Oh dear, I digressed. Back to the point ...

“Please enter your government-issued number.” So you enter it, along with your official name, date of birth, first born child, dog’s last known chew toy, and the nickname of your left big toe.

“Our records do not match your entries.” Now one would think it would be tremendously helpful at this point to be shown which particular bit doesn’t match, but no, that would be way too easy on the user.

So you slog away repeatedly to try to force your square-peg details into the round-hole website, until finally the penny drops and you figure it out.

The government-issued number has dashes in it, and when you recheck your entry for the 87th time, you realize the number was cut off by the equal amount of dashes you so obediently inserted. So you give it a belt and throwing caution to the wind, enter the 93-digit number without the dashes, and blow me down, sport, you’re in.

Now wouldn’t it have been helpful for there to be a small word of advice on the form saying something like “enter the number without our fancy dashes” or words to that effect, as it would save an awful lot of blood pressure across this great nation.

Then you try to get to a section of the website you’re trying to find. In my case it was to save the government time and money by not mailing me a “this is not a bill” notice that a monthly premium was going to be wrenched, kicking and screaming, from my bank account on the 20th of the month.

I know it’s coming, guys. I don’t need confirmation that it’s going to happen. I can check my bank account. No, really, I can. And when I finally broke down to have an “online chat” with an agent (again putting in all the details mentioned above), I discovered that it was all tough toenails really, and there was no way to turn off the mailing of this particularly useless piece of paper.

Efficiency, thy name is not government.

Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at