Top 5 Reasons Why I Totally Suck At Filling Out Forms

#5. Though I am generally considered to be a bright (enough) person, something in my brain inexplicably heads south when I find myself facing any official-looking document that has spaces I am supposed to fill in with various types of information. I have no idea why this happens. I suddenly develop a weird tunnel vision thingy where the edges of my peripheral vision start blurring, the words on the paper or screen appear to be twice their size AND written in Mandarin Chinese, and my ears fill with the same kind of rushing train sound that many of my fellow Arkansans have described as hearing right before the tornado struck their trailer park.

#4. I over-think e v e r y t h i n g. In my earnest attempt to do it all perfectly like the good girl I am, I agonize over each and every question. This includes the ones where all I have to do is check a box. I’m sure there’s some hidden nuance there that I might be missing unless I read it over and over a minimum of three times, and even then I’m not quite sure that it’s not a trick question put in there to purposely trip me up. Wait, there’s a name for people like that–what is it again…? Oh, yes: Paranoid. AND I AM THEIR QUEEN.

#3. I’m convinced there are secret squads of Form Filling-Out Police that are waiting to pounce if I answer something incorrectly. (See above.) Or that there is a special bulletin board in the break room of whatever company/corporate/medical/government entity whose form I am currently filling out where they post the particularly inept/bad examples/multiply-erased copies– and then they all point and snicker at them and feel all superior while they sit and sip their stupid coffee. I just hate them. (If they, you know, actually existed.)

#2. I start developing a bad attitude about halfway through the process, which only serves to make me even more nervous and further distracts me. My inner dialogue goes something like this: “OK, this is ridiculous! There has to be an easier way to get information. Who has time to do this? I mean, seriously– if they can put a man on the moon, why can’t they invent a life-size doppelganger robot who can fill out all necessary forms for me for the rest of my life? IS THAT SO HARD???”

#1. And finally?  The number one reason I suck at filling out forms is because I know deep in my heart that one wrong answer could cause untold devastation and ruin innocent lives and possibly end civilization as we know it. I’m sure there’s data out there to back me up on this one. I betcha there are many, many stories of people who inadvertently checked something they shouldn’t, or timed-out one too many times, or accidentally used the wrong state abbreviation (Shut up. It happens.) and all hell broke loose– like for instance, forms could be  sent to the wrong address, or applications could be declared null and void, or babies could be repossessed by hospitals, or there could be a massive IRS audit… OR MADI’S COLLEGE MIGHT DECIDE TO UN-ACCEPT HER BECAUSE THEY HAD SERIOUS CONCERNS ABOUT LETTING THE OFFSPRING OF SUCH AN OBVIOUSLY INEPT FORM-FILLER-OUTER MOTHER LOOSE ON THEIR UNSUSPECTING CAMPUS!

(Theoretically, of course.)

25 Responses

  1. jonny

    ‘They’ do exist, and yes; they do enjoy, at least from time to time, being superior to most of us in theese regards. But honestly, can you blame them ??

  2. tori

    small-j-jonny– I KNEW IT!!!!!

  3. rachelbaker

    So its not just me?? (The only point I don’t empathise with is #2 – I’m freakishly patient, seriously).

    The last disaterous form I humiliated myself on wasn’t even for me, and I know it was put in the centre of that bulletin board. My friend thought I was trustworthy enough to be a witness on her very official documents for buying her dream house. All I had to do was write my name and address and sign – how hard could that be? I focused, and focused again and managed to correctly write my name and address in the correct spaces. I was so relieved I hurriedly signed my name – my maiden name!! I’ve been Rachel Baker for over 8 years, and have signed that name a million times, so what weird mental gremlin caused the long, flowing Rachel L Woodward to spring from my pen instead of the scrawled RLBaker that I have been using since my wedding day? I was ashamed and mortified.

  4. Carole Turner

    I always said “I could never do a foreign adoption because I couldn’t do all that paper work!” So when I had completed our HUGE dosier for our Ethiopian adoption of a 6 year old, I felt like I had climbed mount Everest!

  5. LindaB

    Ah ha!!! I wondered where on earth you were these days! It’s all becoming clear now—–you’ve descended into the paperwork abyss that precedes sending a child off to college!!! It’s a mind bending, insane process! It’s almost like you HAVE to have a master’s degree in formology to enable your child to get a bachelor’s degree in anything!!! I remember once trying to fill out forms to get financial aid for my youngest to attend our local community college, and it drove me to the brink! And it didn’t help to see this warning at the bottom of the page—“Any false answers to these questions constitutes fraud of the federal government and punishable by heavy fines and three years in the electric chair!” I finally said to my husband, “Oh, forget it! I’ll sell my car to pay for her first semester, (I can walk anywhere I need to go), and then maybe she’ll be smart enough to apply for this stuff herself!”
    And that worked!

    Hang in there, Tori! We miss you here, but we understand—-Madi’s higher education must come first.

  6. jonny

    You did, Carole !! = )

    And Rachel L Wood…, oops, sorry, BAKER !!! You should be ashamed !! Hopefully your husband is just as patient as you; or he never finds out = /

  7. jonny

    You did, Carole !! = )

    And Rachel L Wood…, oops, sorry, BAKER !!! You should be ashamed !! Hopefully your husband is just as patient as you; or he never finds out = /

    @Former: ‘formology’ lol !! = )

  8. rachelbaker

    Carole – amazing, some things are worth climbing a mountain for.

  9. jonny

    Sorry about the double post. My phone is acting funny and it didn’t show the first one being posted when it did = /

  10. MostlySunny

    PUSHED A BUTTON ON THIS ONE!!!! Oh my…college financial applications….and then all they say is “NO. Pay the whole dang thing yourself!” Thanks a lot.

    There should be a “TurboTax” for college applications. Then again, I sweat using TurboTax…every little box you check, the tally at the upper left corner dials up or down like crazy!!! Makes me crazy! If I keep this little box checked, then I will get a thousand extra dollars back from the government; but if I uncheck it, I will need to pay an extra two thousand dollars to the government…mmmm. What to do? **Googling “accountant – tax preparation-for-people-who-(stupidly)-think-they-can-do-this-themselves””**

    No wonder Tim Geitner couldn’t get his taxes right; or Charlie Rangel forgot to check the box “Do you own a house in the Bahamas, per chance?”…but I digress…so sorry! This is where I’m at right now.

    My favorite day…April 16th! Every year!

  11. Gramma Jac

    I TOTALLY believe in the “life-size doppelganger robot” I think,…because my method is to procrastinate because I’m SURE the next time I look at the forms they’ll magically be done for me! (Or maybe if I accidentally leave them where my husband will find them, HE’LL do them for me!)

    BTW, “doppelganger” is a great word.! I thought you made it up until I consulted wikepedia! Now I have to figure out a way to work it into conversation so I sound so learned!

  12. Vicki

    #5 #4 and #2 are me to a tee! And it’s not just financial aid paper work that’s bad, it’s also doctor’s offices and hospitals, too. I can understand they might want a medical history for something major – say cancer or other diseases, but when they want an entire medical history for your entire family (AND I mean ENTIRE for some doctors) when you have the flu? Being disabled, I understand this to a degree, but some of the stuff they ask is outrageous and unnecessary. I went into a pediatric appointment at 9 once (yeah i filled out my own paperwork even then, though my mom signed it) and one of the questions asked was about SEX! In a pediatrics office?! (incidently I answered “Sex? EEEEEEW! Not til I’m 100) Point is, they ask too much stuff, and it turns me into a mushbrain!

  13. Gramma Jac

    Vicki, I had x-rays recently to see if I had pneumonia and they asked me if I was pregnant,….they said the question is on their computer until a woman turns 70! As if I’d be worried about a little thing like pneumonia if I was 70 and pregnant!! :-)

  14. KellyBurton

    Are you reading my mail? I’m usually FINE with forms…in fact, I get a sick little fascination out of things that have a definitive beginning and end. BUT, Paige’s college stuff – like the homeschool transcript I am preparing tonight, while still feverish (so I tried to send it to Lexington IL instead of KY) – kinda scares me.

    Maybe because we sort of don’t want them to go??…. xo

  15. MostlySunny

    Tori – “They” didn’t really un-accept her, did they? (I’m a literal person so I have to ask!)

  16. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Well, the first thing that came to mind when I read this was when I was on a stretcher on my way to the delivery room with my third baby, with my husband walking by my side, and we were stopped near a desk where a nurse wanted my husband to sign a form. He went to the desk, signed the form and before we could continue on our way, the nurses at the desk became hysterical. Seems my very nervous husband had signed the wrong form….he had signed for me to be circumcized. Thankfully, he went back and signed the correct form.

  17. Barbara M. Lloyd

    And then there was the time when I went to the Highway Department to renew my driver’s license. I filled out the form, including the place where they asked for my weight. I calmed my shaking hand and wrote in the number that applied to me 20 years earlier. Then I got down to where it said when I signed my name at the bottom I was swearing that everything I had written above was absolutely true. So, I put an asterisk beside the weight number and followed that up with another at the bottom of the form with this comment: “This is not true.” After that, I signed the cottonpicken form. When it was my turn at the window, I called this to the man’s attention and he said, “They gotta be able to recognize you, lady.” But I stood silently and looked as pitiful as I could possibly muster up and he let me go with it. I thanked him profusely, saying my husband would never know I was overweight unless he saw it in print. He did not think I was funny. Personally, I feel all state employees should be required to have a sensze of humor. It would make filling out those forms a whole lot easier.

  18. rachelbaker

    Momma Lloyd, you’ve reminded us again why we all love you so much!

  19. bettyrwoodward

    I am very fortunate in that I have a husband who seems to enjoy filling out forms, or at least can do it, so generally I only sign my name!

  20. jonny

    Oh Momma Lloyd, your husband was fortunate that he could re-do his one paper. Something I unknowling signed, in a language not my own nearly twenty years ago, apparently can not be un-done. It still comes back to haunt me from time to time = /

    And Rachel hit the nail on the head once again; we do indeed love and appreciate you dearly = )

  21. tori

    rachelbaker: I love this! See, you were being all earnest and trying-to-do-your-best, too– that seems to be when I screw up the most!

    Carole Turner: I cannot even begin to imagine the paperwork a foreign adoption would take… I think I may have to go lie down now… (And good for you!)

    Linda B: I’ve been working on scholarship forms for the last two days. *sigh*

    MostlySunny: I KNOW! That’s what paralyzes me– the fear that I’ll do one thing wrong, check one wrong box and KABOOM!

    Gramma Jac: (I always thought Doppelganger would be a great name for a dog… Especially if it kinda looked like me!)

    Vicki: I know! It’s everywhere!

    KellyBurton: I swear, if someone would go into the business of doing all of the paperwork for the whole college application process, they would make a million dollars! I know I’d personally sell a kidney to pay them to do it for me!

    MostlySunny: No, no they haven’t. But if they knew how inept I was at this, they might start getting nervous…

    Momma Lloyd: The circumcision story is one of the top 5 stories I’ve ever heard!
    And the DMV one is right behind it!

    bettyrwoodward: Yeah, well, I married a musician…

    jonny: I am not even going to ask you if your story has anything to do with circumcision. Because I’m a lady that way.

  22. jonny

    You are !! = )

  23. LindaB

    Scholarship “hunting” is the pits! And I, like you, would have paid someone to do the job……and there are folks on the internet that say they will! That they are expert at finding just the right scholarship for your child for a fee……..AND, I found out, they are CROOKS! There’s so many crooks out there that if any of them are legit, you’ll spend all your time looking for them amongst the crooks instead of looking for scholarships.

    You hear those ads that say there’s PLENTY of scholarships out there just begging to be had? Well, WHERE THE HECK ARE THEY WHEN YOU NEED THEM? Are they hiding? Are they broke?

    I’ve gotta stop this. I get all worked up all over again.

  24. auburn60

    Well,as usual, a day late and a dollar short…

    This made me think of a guy I used to work with. He absolutely LOVED filling out paperwork…all kinds of paperwork.He would be totally giddy over boxes to check and blank lines to fill in. He always acted like he was doing me a big favor. As we worked in a facility for runaway/delinquent juveniles there was always a lot of paperwork. He would grab up intake files, monthly fire drill
    logs, prescription drug ledgers, daily reports and run into the office to fill them out. We would literally ‘tug-of-war’ over clipboards full of papers to be filled out. As I was the supervisor I would pull rank and take the paperwork…I also wanted the peace and quiet of a distant office over the general chaos of a roomful of teenagers! He must have thought I was too stupid to see through that.

  25. Tanya Sykes


    I TOTALLY identify with this post! Being a mom, we’re used to filling out endless stacks of forms regarding our children. Several years back–during the endless carpooling days–I had an appointment with a new family doctor–me–myself. I finished filling out the forms and handed them back the the girl at the desk. After a few minutes she called me to the window and said, “ma’am, I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I think you’re probably older than 14…” I had completed the ENTIRE form with my oldest daughter’s information.
    Oh yeah, I’m brilliant!

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