One More Paper And You Lose!

Football is the national sport of Peru.  Depending on the situation, it can also be the national passion. Well, this article is not about football. It is about another national game. It is called One More Paper. This game has a lot more players than football, but it doesn’t excite the passion of soccer. In fact, most adults in Peru are players. And most would say that they don’t like the game, but they have to play.

This is how it goes. At one time or another and for various reasons, virtually all of us have to have some paperwork done. It may be for a birth, marriage, pension, extension of visa or even for a simple matter such as changing your address or picking up a package at the post office. Thus, it is necessary to make some kind of transaction requiring approval of a government, church or other institution.

The game is very simple. When you go to complete your business with the official, you present your papers to your opponent who scans your offerings and nods his/her head with satisfaction and announces   triumphantly that you need ONE MORE PAPER in order to complete the transaction.

 One point to the clerk. Zero to the home team.

 Please note that the opposing side is extremely adept and may even introduce some devilish variations to the game such as One More Signature, Bring More Photos or Return to the Bank to Pay a Fee.

At first, I’ll admit, I was a green, innocent novice, and I experienced defeat after defeat at the game. So, I would slink away to lick my wounds and prepare for the next encounter.

However, I can be a competitive person at times.  I resolved to do better. I did extensive preparation: researching on the internet, asking friends for advice, and assembling all sorts of papers, photos, and certificates.

 I learned where I had to go to pay the fees required before the transaction may be complete. I practiced my key Spanish phrases so that I could stay in the game. I stood motionless for long periods of time so I would have the stamina to stay in the line and have lots of energy for the contest.

I am happy to report that the home team (meaning me) has now scored a few points against the opposition. Still, my batting average remains well below .500. Keep in mind that the opposing team can change the rules without notice at any time. So every contest is in doubt until the very last.

I do have a fantasy that I will share with you. I indulge in this while I’m standing in line. When I get to the clerk and he/she says, “One more paper.” I reach down into my briefcase and whip out the requested paper. I say, “Haaa, take that!” The clerk, crushed, crumples in defeat, and hands me the approved document.

Ah, victory is so sweet.

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