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IN People ON 11 Jan, 2016
A poorly drawn penis is any day's something funny to look at. But when do you think it crosses the line and becomes offensive? Well, going by Jared Hyams' story, it starts to be perceived as offensive when you start using the caricature as your signature.
Yes, he uses a doodle for a signature! Well, apparently not to the government and its agencies.
Check out the whole story below.
Hyams thought that no one at the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) would take any actual notice of his change in address, and so scribbled a penis for his signature. "I thought it would be a laugh; they would approve it and next year I would sign something different. But when I did this signature all of a sudden the shit hit the fan. I was receiving letters and phone calls telling me I couldn't have it. I thought, that's interesting, why not?"
Mr Hyams even enrolled himself into a law degree course so as to provide his side of the case strong legal support. "It sparked something in me. I didn't understand if these people were offended or had taken it personally." Hyams was made curious by their rejection, and now began to use his amusing signature to apply for his passport, driving licence and ID card. But it was soon clear that the bureaucrats did not see any joke there.
The AEC refused Hyams enrollment for a new address. When Hyams went with the matter to court, he was thrown out for being "frivolous, vexatious" and for wasting the taxpayer's money. The AEC eventually registered his form without any signature. The Roads Corporation of Victoria had also initially rejected what they called an "offensive diagram." And then again, the fact that it could easily be forged, and that it might "create uncertainty and confusion" gave more weight to their decision. However, Mr Hyams tried to contest their decision in court, but was dismissed twice by a magistrate. He was told that his behaviour bordered on contempt and was slammed for wasting the court's time.
The Department of Trade and Foreign Affairs too refused to process his application for a passport, because, according to them, including images of a sexual nature on official paperwork "could constitute sexual harassment" of government staff!
Of all the kinds of reasons various agencies have given for rejecting Hyams' signature, the on given by the Department of Justice tops it all. They rejected Hyams for Working with Children Check. Hyams has since revealed that he does have "some sensitivity to that position".
Hyams has been fighting with determination, sticking to his stand on the matter. "What a signature is comes down to the function, not the actual form," he said. "Generally, it's a person putting a mark on a piece of paper by their own hand. As soon as you start defining what a signature is you run into problems – if it's meant to be someone's name how do we define that because most signatures are just illegible scribble." However, when he now looks down on what he did as a joke five years ago, he does feel a little regret. Nonetheless, he's continuing the journey, while making the following pun to sum it all up! "It's been an interesting journey. But none of it is resolved. Everything is just left hanging."
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