Maracaibo Oil Brat – a Boomer’s Memoir

I thought it was a good idea to apply for a copyright for “Maracaibo Oil Brat – a Boomer’s Memoir,” my book.   An on-line application comes at the bargain price of $35.00 versus the more expensive $50.00 by way of snail mail.  On-line is cheaper and promises faster processing time.  Couldn’t be that difficult, could it?

I read all the instructions on the US copyright website, printed out “tips” and copyright basics, read a hundred Frequently Asked Questions, and went through the on-line tutorial.  By then, I’d come to the conclusion  that the US Copyright office is a combination of 1790 language infused with 2009 technology.  So help me, I thought I  would come across words like “vouchsafe” and “verily” before I finished reading all  the instructions.

There are three parts to the process:  the application, the payment, and the depost.  What?  Money twice? Nope.  “Deposit” means to submit whatever it is for which you want a copyright.  Could even be a Ship Hull Design.  Who knew?

Armed with a good glass of Merlot, I began the copyright application process in earnest.

First thing?  Sign-on and a password.  No problem, I said to myself.  I clicked letters at lightning speed and pressed “enter.”  The red error message told me I had done something wrong.  Surely no one else has my sign-on or password.  I clicked on the “give me more information” message.  Alas, I had not read all the instructions regarding the sign-in rules.  Ye old copyright password must (1) have eight spaces, (2) contain a character, (3) have at least two numbers, (4) have at least two lower case letters,  (5) have at least two upper case letters, and, tahhh-dahhh, (6) not contain a known word in any dictionary.  Any dictionary?  How would I know that?

Where did my wine go?  A trip to my kitchen to refresh my glass, grab a handful of low fat Cheez-Its for fuel and back to my laptop.

At last I created a sign-in and a password that satisfied the copyright office.  OK, Susan. write down your password.  How about you start a folder, a real folder with paper, and pockets and clips and thing?  From my rough start, I’d begun to think I needed some real live place to house everything together.  Fortified with a mouthful of Cheez-Its and another sip of wine, I typed my way into the application process.  I fearlesslyanswered questions and filled in blanks.  So heady was I with the completed the application, I hit the “next” button with a flourish befitting Liberace.

What’s this?  Two red error messages?  But. where?  When I order something on line and leave out the zip code, the little red message says, “Honey, you left out your zip code, darlin'”.  The two red messages in front of me on my computer had no such information, just that I’d made two errors.

I took a deep breath, another sip of wine, straightened my back and plunged back into the application section to find and correct the two errors.  I redid everything and double checked every entry.  I held my breath and clicked “next” again.

Still two red errors?  How can that be?  Two error messages in a row?  Were they the same ones?  I sneered at my laptop?  Another sip of wine.  Well, control, alt, delete yo’ mama-board, on-line copyright application.  Me thinks I’ve had enough of thee for a while.

I’ll try this process again – when the moon is in a different phase.  And, when the wine cabinet is locked.


3 Responses to Maracaibo Oil Brat – a Boomer’s Memoir

  1. chs says:

    Yikes! How does the snail mail version look? Maybe it’s worth the extra $$, if you can avoid the less-than-helpful on-line interface. Who needs the frustration?!

  2. David George says:

    There must be a simpler way to ensure that your (our) writing is protected. Attribution and computer date stamps help. DG

  3. Well done, Susan. I think you should submit this piece to the Real Life column of the Contra Costa Times – this is a great story!

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