This I Believe

Jennifer - Micanopy, Florida
Entered on June 15, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in Mary Johnson. She answers the phone at Congressman Cliff Stearns’ office. I picture her in a cape and tights, manning an ocean of ringing telephones. Her lilting voice calms the jangled nerves of disgruntled travelers who can’t get their passports. I’m a nurse, and a vacation isn’t a luxury. It is a neccesity. For my health, and, oh yeah! the health of my patients. Believe me, you want a happy, well rested nurse.

So my husband and I haven’t vacationed together in nearly 20 years and he doesn’t enjoy air travel. Well, I was thrilled when he agreed to a trip to Costa Rica. I purchased a gauzey, white cotton dress, you know the fluttery kind. Just in case there’s romance in the air. We’ve been hoarding samples of hygiene products and bug wipes. We’ve limited ourselves to one bag, so as not to waste precious time in luggage carousel-hell. So much thought and anticipation went into it. But sadly, once again, our government made huge decisions without any thought or anticipation. Their short-sighted Homeland Security reaction caused a huge case of constipation in the Federal Passport system. Constipation? No. An actual full blown impaction deep in it’s intestinal tract, threatening rupture, causing pain and inconvenience. But Mary Johnson, the name alone screaming apple pie, has become a savior to me. At first, just the sound of another human being

bought tears to my eyes. No, really. I could love a Republican. She was Glenda and I was Dorothy. She was Oprah and I was an everywoman. I’d survived the callous recordings of the past week. The endless menus and button-pushing and the constant rejection. If you called 1-877-487-2778, a number I now have memorized, then you know. You’ve been there, man. My sister even got hooked into the game. We’d get excited by getting onto a different menu, unexplored territory, a deeper level of penetration. We weren’t giving up, even when we were told there was no hope. No appointments. Ever.

Then my semi-genius, boyscout-prepared,


chum suggested I go to those who represent me in the government. And that’s how I called Mary Johnson. She told me, and I quote, “Well, you stop worrying and let me do the worrying for you.” Don’t you love her? I do.

I started writing this yesterday. Fed X delivered his passport today. Thanks and God Bless you, Mary Johnson. I wanna be just like you when I grow up.