So you want to change your name, but can't afford it?
My advice....GET OUT OF TOWN!!!
What? Take a vacation, when I should be saving up $300 to $500 of my hard earned
cash, so that I can bribe a lawyer to go in front of a judge, that he hopefully
goes to the gym or plays golf with, and explain why it is perfectly O.K. for
me to change my ďChristianĒ name to one more suited to my (insert fitting colloquialism,
i.e. freak, Goth, Satanist, etc...) self-image!
Calm thyself...you obviously need that vacation besides, for around $300 -$500 you could go to California, maybe even less if your savvy to traveling cheap, or if you possibly have some friends who have been beckoning you to the ďsunshineĒ state....(named more appropriately for the acid than the actual sun, if you take in account Northern California...)
So letís focus on Northern California then. Primarily San Francisco. A place that almost elected Jello Biafra as mayor(lead singer of the politically outspoken Punk band The Dead Kennedyís, in case you forgot!) Although any municipality in the state of California will work, they just have to have some of the basic elements that are listed here.
1. Easily access transit hub... An airport or bus terminal which connects to an understandable local transit system is ideal. Unless you plan on driving, which from the Midwest takes about 40 hours, and then youíll have your car with you and can get around quicker, but be warned...cities like SF and LA love to ticket and tow cars, and this could raise the expense of your true function, and take away from your much deserved leisure time. Weíll cover why S.F. fits this criteria best in a moment.
2. Affordable Lodging...This is exactly why some might stray to other cities, but believe it or not, Hotels in the Bay Area are about the same price anywhere,(just not as affordable as a friend or relatives couch.) If youíre not afraid of a little bit of grunge, there are some that offer very cheap weekly rates. Look for them near Downtown, or in The Mission district of SF. Also if youíre into parties, many things are going on late at night, and many clubs/raves donít mind power naps, just as long as you have that, I will drink/dance again as soon as I am refreshed type attitude.
A power nap after jet lag can be a dangerous thing, so plan on at least two nights lodging in the expenses, youíll feel better for it.
3. An address...Part of the ploy hinges on seeming like you are just moving to California or have been living in California awhile and now need to become an actual resident of that state, and no longer a resident of your old one. The I.D. that you are getting will be mailed to you, and will take the governmental 3-4 weeks to process. Even if you are staying with friends or relatives who approve of the name change, donít count on them to re-mail this important item to you after they get it. When this was test driven, the good friend claimed they never got it, and then found it a year later when preparing to move(her second move from the time it was actually received.)
Besides there is a low cost alternative than using someoneís actual address, which will then continue to get all kinds of stuff in your name, like junk mail, advertisements, warrants, and ticket notices. Go to a local area Mail Service Provider, a professional mailbox company which will provide you with an address that is not a P.O. box (which is a bit of a giveaway), and they will also charge you a small fee to either call when mail comes in, or simply re-mail everything that comes in for a small fee. Send yourself a postcard to see if works, if you get back and it doesnít show, call them and find out why, most SF services have 1-800 lines for this reason. I have listed a few below, that should do the trick. Many mailbox companies require 3 month minimums, but give you one month free, making this cost an initial $30 or so. It is smart to get the extra time, in case it takes longer than anticipated to get the I.D. Each re-mailed item is an extra $2-$3, depending on the item.
4. An open Department of Motor Vehicles(DMV). Make sure your trip is scheduled in a manner that you have at least two days that government offices are open. If youíre good, and not easily distracted, you can get everything done in one shot, but why chance it? Give yourself the extra day in case there is some California holiday you didnít know about, like Judy Garland day, or Freak-out day! Donít worry, you wonít have to take a drivers test, not even if you drove up to the thing, just get the forms for a State I.D., which is the first mandatory item needed to prove residency. Go in with just your SS card and a Birth-Certificate, they may want you to surrender your old identification. It is not illegal to use two I.D.ís as long as it is not to commit fraud. They like the old one anyway, makes it easier to not be tempted, but if it is your Drivers License, it will be bad to not have it back home.
Look closely at the form, and there is a line for a current name, and below it a line for new, or desired name. You get a first, last, and middle name. No titles,(Jr., Sr., King etc.) and no numbers (the 1st, the 3rd, or 23.3 etc..) THE BEST PART IS THIS ONLY COST $6.........
It gets better. You will be given a receipt that you can then take to the Department. of Social Services. Where they will process a new card, with same number, but the new name, FOR FREE.
So youíve managed to accomplish all of this, now it is time to party like itís, eh, well heck party like itís any good ol'í day in S.F. After all you just legally got around a technicality which has been a thorn in your side ever since that first rotten nickname in Kindergarten. I mean if someone now wants to make fun of your name, you can just think of the wild adventure you had getting it. They wonít know what to think of the smirk on your face while you reminisce of your time in a town where there is a Gothic/Industrial club almost every night, and prostitution (not to mention every day perversion) might not be legal, but is encouraged. You might even respond with a quip like, ďWell at least itís not my Christian name, like yours!!!Ē
Here is some advice and addresses for those taking the S.F. route...
Southwest Airlines, 1-800-IFLY-SWA. With enough notice, has good fares non-stop to SFO or Oakland, the Oakland airport has better access to B.A.R.T which can get you across bay for very cheap (it takes about an hour, and if your not used to public transit, is rather fun)
Or if you feel lucky, you can take Vanguard Airlines, to Chicago and then a low cost carrier, America Trans Air, non-stop to SFO!
Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) 1377 Fell St.
415-557-1179. This is right across from the entrance to the famous Panhandle park. An easy landmark on any SF map. It is a few blocks away from famous Haight-Ashbury.
Social Security....I donít have the exact address for this but if you find the Carlís Jr.(a Californian Burger King) on the corner of 8th and Market, the building is around the corner, and all the bums sparing change outside have applied for SSI at this place so give em a quarter and they might get you there... and if your sneaky you can nap in Carlís late at night with the other homeless denizens,(sunglasses and a reading book help)
Mail Boxes 4 You-1230 Market St. 415-621-1991
Postal Chase 915 Cole Ave. 415-566-9777
The Mailbox, 41 Sutter 415-362-6373
One of these could become your new home, sorta...there are more in the phone book, which your hotel might supply a copy of.
Good luck and have fun, grab a fast pass; they are a good deal because then you donít have to worry about transfer expiration dates and you can ride the trolleys for free...(a $3 ride in and of itself) Remember this isnít illegal, but still play it cool!!!
---by Zen FX