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“Have Passport, Can Travel”

By Jerry Zezima

In case I am run out of the country, which is probably inevitable but would give me a great reason to have my own travel show, I just renewed my passport.

“Now I can visit my mother,” I told Jenn, a very nice postal employee who helped me and my wife, Sue, with our renewals at a post office branch on Long Island, New York.

“Where does your mother live?” asked Jenn.

“In Connecticut,” I replied.

“You don’t need a passport for that,” she said. “At least, not yet.”

“I can’t afford to go anywhere else,” I said. “But if I had a TV series, I would get paid to travel the world. If Stanley Tucci, Eugene Levy and Conan O’Brien can do it, so can I.”

“I’m on my third passport,” Jenn told me, “and I haven’t been anywhere farther than Epcot in Florida.”

Sue and I got our passports in 2008, when we went to Barbados for our 30th anniversary. We also used them when we went to France in 2011 for our younger daughter’s wedding. But the passports expired in 2018. And even though we have no plans — or money — to go anywhere exotic, we wanted to renew them.

“You never know when I’ll need to make a quick getaway,” I told Jenn, who wore gloves while she handled our paperwork. “Is that so you won’t leave fingerprints on my application and be guilty by association?” I asked.

“It’s because the stickers I use are too sticky and can split my fingers,” she answered. “But I won’t tell the authorities I saw you.”

Jenn agreed when I said that the worst part of traveling is Packing.

“Unless you go overnight, as I do when I visit my mother, it takes forever to pick the right clothes and stuff them into your suitcase,” I said. “If you go somewhere for a week, you have to check the weather forecast and decide what to bring. And you always end up overpacking.”

“My husband has a Packing list,” Jenn said. “He’s very organized. I’m not.”

“That’s like me and Sue, except the opposite,” I said. “She’s very organized. I’m not.”

“He’s right,” Sue said.

“I bet he isn’t most of the time,” Jenn said with a smile.

Sue smiled, too, and said, “You’re right.”

Jenn took our expired passports, made copies of our driver’s licenses and checked our applications to be sure we filled them out correctly.

“Are you going to take our pictures?” I asked.

“Yes,” Jenn responded. “And you can’t use a disguise.”

“You can’t replace my mug shot with a photo of Brad Pitt?” I wanted to know.

“You can’t even use a Groucho Marx disguise,” Jenn said.

“I already look like him,” I noted. “If he weren’t dead, he could sue me for stealing his identity.”

“When my husband saw my passport photo, he said, ‘When did you get arrested?’ ” Jenn recalled.

She took Sue’s photo, which came out great. When she took mine, she said, “I have to shoot you again.”

“A lot of people would like to shoot me,” I said.

“No, I mean I have to take another picture,” said Jenn.

“Why, because the first one looks like me?” I wondered.

“Because you were smiling,” Jenn explained. “You’re not supposed to show teeth.”

“When mine fall out, there won’t be a problem,” I said just before Jenn snapped the second shot, which came out all right.

“You can expect your new passports in six to eight weeks,” Jenn told me and Sue as we were leaving.

“What if I have to flee the country before then?” I asked. “Can I use you as a reference?”

“No,” Jenn said. “But if you get your own travel show, you can send me on a nice vacation.”

Copyright 2024 by Jerry Zezima

Originally Published on

Jerry Zezima Humorist, Author, Public Nuisance

I write a humor column for Tribune News Service, which distributes it to papers nationwide and abroad. If you have ever wondered why the newspaper industry is in trouble, it would be because of me.

As a chilling example of just how low journalistic standards have sunk, I have won many awards, including seven for humorous writing from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

I have a strong social media presence, I have made many radio and television appearances, I have done several YouTube videos, I am a popular public speaker, and I am writing a sitcom. If you think TV is bad now, wait until my show gets on the air.

I live on Long Island, N.Y., with my wife, Sue. We have two daughters, five grandchildren and many creditors. I have no interesting hobbies.

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