Form Filling

As an archivist I know the value of storing important documents; as I person with a real life I am a lot more cavalier and have the devil may care approach to filing. Did you know that was the title of the 36th James Bond novel written by Sebastian Faulks? No, neither did I! Did anyone tell Ian Fleming? The Devil May Care bit, not the filing.

Form filling day three… and counting… now I need my last three payslips, an up-to-date utility bill AND a passport. I am a little at sea, to say the least. Somewhere in this small house there might be a passport, as for the rest, I did have a small, and a surprisingly difficult to light, bonfire at the bottom of the garden just the other day. Perhaps not the right thing to have done under the circumstances.

So form filling is becoming part of my daily routine. Everyone seems to want account numbers: NI numbers, telephone numbers, serial numbers, ISBNs, irrational numbers, rational numbers and now it seems they are also including complex numbers. This does not sit well on a poet’s shoulders.

When “If you don’t know how to do long division now Abegail, you never will” rattles in the back of my head every time I try to do a simple multiplication, putting down sequences in the right order (and yes, they mean in the right order and not just some approximation) I can feel myself start to scream.

Is the new house worth all this?


2 thoughts on “Form Filling”

  1. Dear Abi,

    I enjoyed this post very much – but then I’m not the one filling out the forms!! I’m glad you took a wee break from the forms and wrote this and shared it with us.

    I went looking for a poem for you – and this will do, just fine. I like the bit about the zebras and the cookies 🙂


    Arithmetic is where numbers fly like pigeons in and out of your
    Arithmetic tell you how many you lose or win if you know how
    many you had before you lost or won.
    Arithmetic is seven eleven all good children go to heaven — or five
    six bundle of sticks.
    Arithmetic is numbers you squeeze from your head to your hand
    to your pencil to your paper till you get the answer.
    Arithmetic is where the answer is right and everything is nice and
    you can look out of the window and see the blue sky — or the
    answer is wrong and you have to start all over and try again
    and see how it comes out this time.
    If you take a number and double it and double it again and then
    double it a few more times, the number gets bigger and bigger
    and goes higher and higher and only arithmetic can tell you
    what the number is when you decide to quit doubling.
    Arithmetic is where you have to multiply — and you carry the
    multiplication table in your head and hope you won’t lose it.
    If you have two animal crackers, one good and one bad, and you
    eat one and a striped zebra with streaks all over him eats the
    other, how many animal crackers will you have if somebody
    offers you five six seven and you say No no no and you say
    Nay nay nay and you say Nix nix nix?
    If you ask your mother for one fried egg for breakfast and she
    gives you two fried eggs and you eat both of them, who is
    better in arithmetic, you or your mother?

    Carl Sandburg


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