Friday, June 3, 2011

I registered to take the Notary Public test

Never Done: I registered to take the Notary Public test

People are forever looking to get things notarized. And if you're people like I'm people, you probably have to go into some institution that makes you die a little inside -- a corporate bank or a crusty old real estate office that reminds you of Glengarry Glen Ross. So why shouldn't some of us become notaries, so we can notarize stuff for each other at piano bars and shabes potlucks? I mean, do people covered in glitter have less moral character than people in suits? Of course I don't think so. In fact, my judgement might swing the other way (whether fair or not) and claim that people in suits might have less moral character than people covered in glitter. (Glitter of course being actual glitter and also metaphoric glitter -- referring to the fabulousness that has been known to adorn my community of artists and radicals.) Why am I even talking about moral character? Because look at the New York Notary Requirements:
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a person of good moral character
  • Be a resident of New York State or have an office or place of business in the state
  • Have the equivalent of a "common school education"
  • Not have been convicted of a felony or of certain lesser offenses not indicative of the good character required of a Notary, unless an executive pardon or a parole board certificate of good conduct has been received.
How do you test for good moral character? Put a question on the test that asks if we plan to stamp and sell blank documents? That's unlikely, so if it's not a question of testing, how do you measure for it? Is it completely self-selecting, so those of us who think we have good moral character gravitate toward jobs that require it? But doesn't every job require good moral character?

As I was pondering this, I decided to google "good moral character, and I came up with this Wikipedia page that explains that it is actually a defined legal term characterized by the absence of criminal and immoral activities, including Money laundering, Tax evasion, Earning your principal income from gambling, Being a habitual drunkard, and Practicing polygamy.

OK then. I'll start the practice test, and before long, I'll be your Glittery Public. Call me.


  1. I've been a Notary Public in my lifetime. I kept my seal. They don't use seals any more (not here anyway), just stamps. I have sometimes used my seal in my books (personal library) in lieu of bookplates. I was an NP when I worked at the Community Law Project in the early 1980s. I'm glad you're taking this on, Jenny. I applaud your idea!

  2. I love that you personally seal your books!