The Census Is a Lot Like the Time You Lost Your Virginity


So today’s your last day to fill out the census (supposedly) before you can expect some lovely government-enabled body to come pound on your door demanding facts and figures and being generally pushy and bureaucracy-oriented. And since we personally have been alternately bored/confused/tired/guilt-ridden/very briefly contented to our core (by the sound of the mailbox door closing) throughout this whole census process, we can’t help but address our conflicted, hormone-fueled feelings on the issue.

It turns out, we think the census is a lot like dating. Which is to say, when a hunky specimen of man (or census) just shows up in your mailbox, you have to play it cool for a while, you know, have a drink (not too many!), get to know it before you actually take a pen to it. Because it’s gonna leave you, surer than the day is long. ‘Cause why buy the cow when the milk’s for free?


Okay, the census is a lot like having a baby. You hear for years about how positively miraculous it’s going to be, and how you’ll be a fabulous mom, and so you waste nine torturous months sober and the little bundle arrives and you’re sort of like… oh. That wasn’t quite what I expected. And you have to live with it, you know? Unless you can send it back to Russia.


Fine, the census is a lot like Chinese food. Full of msg, and you’re hungry three hours later? Um… the census is the cheap bottle of wine you suck down quick so as to numb self from “pain of life” but then blame for the inevitable headache the next day? The census is the abusive boyfriend who used to paper cut you and then laugh maniacally as you bled? The census is your passport to a land of pleasures? Or, like the first time you had sex — awkward and without eye contact?

We can only speak for ourselves. And others. Here’s our random collection of the wisest/stupidest/funniest/most interesting things we’ve heard about the census during this whole catastrophic nightmare that’s actually a lot like the time we had our appendix out. Please, feel free to submit your own if none of these work for you.

From NPR, interviewing Brooklyn “hipster”

Mr. STARK: I mean, people would do if they got like five bucks.

From “exhausted” Tribeca mother, interviewed by The Villager:

Susan said the census was on her to-do list for that very evening. While it’s important to be counted, Susan and others said it was also hard to find even a few minutes to fill out the form.

“There are lots of young parents who are very busy,” said Susan. “Or they’re forgetful because they’re sleep-deprived.”

From Mayor Bloomberg, who enjoys a sports metaphor, in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

“We’re entering the stretch run, and fewer than half of New York City households have returned their census forms.”

From straight-talking NY1-interviewed census worker lady:

“All we ask is for, who’s breathing … don’t count your pets!…Who’s breathing, who’s here, how many bodies are here…”

From Guy Cosentino, who hates SNL:

Over the weekend, Saturday Night Live tried to make filling out the Census funny with one of their players, Fred Armisen, acting the part of President Barack Obama and parodying the conspiracy theorists who believe that the Census is part of a plot to take away the right to keep and bear arms, identify those who opposed the president’s health care proposal and finding on what goes on in the nation’s bedrooms.

It is not.

From the Huffington Post:

“Census participation” is beginning to sound more like a band that New York City hipsters would listen to than an action they would take part in.


From Libby Post (who has a point) in the Times Union:

In just one 48 hour period, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is, once again, reminded just how marginalized we are.

Only a handful of us can honestly check off married on the U.S. Census form yet when it comes to filing our federal tax returns the married gay and lesbian couples among us still have to file single, unmarried. Where is the sense in that?

From Choire Sicha in The Morning News:

Which questions do you avoid to not have government detection in the census?
#50. Would you eat this ham sandwich if I just pulled it out of my slacks pocket and handed it to you and even though it was a little warm it didn’t even smell kind of bad?

And, from future census-taker/candy-girl extraordinaire Cara Herbst, by way of the New York Daily News:

“I sold candy as a little kid sometimes, so I think it will be like that,” said Herbst, who lives on the upper East Side.