Notary public fees are going through the roof, as much as $2 to $5 for a single signature! Many–well, a few–are starting to ask “Who will notarize the notaries? Who will authenticate the authenticators?” Look no further, your Notary Public Action Reporter is here to help!
“I can’t help it, the bus went around a curve.”
Dear Notary Public Action Reporter–
I have a question that relates to an intimate body part, so is sort of “off the beaten track.”
I went down to the Saline County Courthouse to record a homestead on our ranch house out on South Peterkin so that my husband Bob’s ex-wife Lurleen cannot put an attachment on it. I mean a legal attachment, not a satellite dish.
Anyway, I get there and its 25 cents a page for copies, and I needed four all told–an original to record, one for my alphabetical file, one for my chronological file, and one to send to Lurleen just to “ward her off.” That’s $3 dollars right there, and the recording fee is $25, so we’re already up into the mid-two figures.
“Some of the get-ups these gals wear downtown are scandalous!”
I don’t like to carry a lot of cash around with me because of all the “meth heads” our little town is attracting, so I went into the Recorder’s office with $30, thinking that would be enough. “‘Fraid not,” says Merle Deseret, who is Assistant County Recorder. “You need to get that notarized which is an extra $5.” As you might imagine, Merle is a notary on the side, so he was in line for a payday since I obviously wasn’t going to start walking the streets looking for another “N.P.”
I told Merle I only had another $2, and he says “Tell you what, I’ll do it for free if you’ll let me stamp you anywhere I want.” I didn’t like the sound of that, but he said it was entirely on the “up and up” and he got Opal Lemoyne, the Second Assistant County Recorder, to vouch for him. “All right,” I said, “whatever floats your boat.”
Well, I signed the original, he seals it and stamps it, then before I knew what he was doing he whipped out a second stamp and planted an imprint on my right thigh, I was wearing my short shorts and he got me good! Of course I couldn’t see what the stamp said, so I just skedaddled out of there and asked my neighbor Joanne to read it to me when I got home. A look of horror came over her face and she said “Bob isn’t going to like that–it says ‘Property of Merle Deseret.’”
Mr. or Ms. Notary Public Action Reporter, I am absolutely furious that a public servant would take advantage of a sales tax-paying young woman such as myself in this way. I don’t trust our state courts to do me justice since Merle would have the “home court advantage” as a county employee if I sued him there. Is there an agency of our federal government that can help me out?
Appreciate your help,
Nae Ann Waltham, Ottumwa, Iowa
Dear Nae Ann–
I checked with your Secretary of State and unfortunately notaries are allowed to use any type of stamp and seal, there is no prescribed statutory form, so for now you are going to have Merle’s “brand” on your backside. I checked with the Helena’s Household Hints columnist and she says the best way to get ink off your skin is, surprisingly enough, hairspray, and I’ll bet you have a can of that around somewhere.
Dear Notary Public Action Reporter–
I recently completed a half-cross-country bus tour from my native Seekonk, Massachusetts to Chicago, Illinois. I know, I know–why would any sane person go to “The Murder Capital of America,” where they put something called “celery salt,” of all things, on hot dogs! Let’s just say I was struck by wanderlust as I reached my late 20’s and have still not met “the right guy.”
Anyway, we had no sooner crossed the eastern border of Pennsylvania with a long, boring drive ahead of us when this wonderful gentleman–I will call him “Pete” because his first name is “Peter”–got on at Wilkes-Barre, which as he later told me is one of the few cities in the U.S. of A. with a hyphen in it. We did not get a chance to see the hyphen as Wilkes-Barre was just a “flag stop.”
We hit it off “famously” as they say, and by the time we crossed over into Ohio I realized he was the man for me so I gave in to his “overtures.” Mr. Notary Public Action Reporter, it was my first “French kiss” ever, and I now know how the French got their reputation for being so romantic!
He slid (slud?) his hand onto my upper torso and was creeping it towards my right breast when I stopped him cold and said, “No sirree bob, Mister, I’m a baseball gal.” He says “What does that mean?” and I said “Unless I’ve got a diamond, I don’t play ball.” Then he says “Well, why don’t we see if there’s a notary public on board, they can officiate weddings on interstate highways like the captain of a ship on the high seas.”
I was initially skeptical as I thought you had to have a blood test but up pops a guy three rows ahead of us and says “I’m a notary, there’s no blood test in Ohio and you can get married immediately.” I made Pete look it up on his phone–I’m no dummy–and the notary guy was right, so I said “What the heck, I’m not getting any younger,” and we “tied the knot” somewhere between Steubenville and Coshocton. There was a nice couple sitting back by the restroom who served as witnesses. To the wedding, not the canoodling Pete and I engaged in back there on the night of our “nuptials.”
Well, when we pulled into Chicago Pete looks at the makeshift marriage license the notary had filled out and it turned out he was a Pennsylvania notary. “That’s too bad, I guess we’re not married, he’s not licensed in Ohio,” he says, and I said “Well we can get married here,” but it turns out there’s a one-day waiting period in Illinois. You guessed it–Pete excused himself to go to the men’s room and never came back.
Mr. Notary Public Action Reporter, I have now lost my virginity for nothing and am out $7.50, which is what the notary said was his fee for performing a wedding. I think I should have saved the extra $2.50 and just had him authenticate the copy of People magazine I was reading.
Is there any recourse for consumers who are defrauded by “rogue” notaries lurking on America’s interstate highways, or am I out of luck?
Linda Sue Conklin, Seekonk, Mass.
Dear Linda Sue–
I am so sorry for your loss. You should report “Pete” as a “missing person” to the Chicago police, who will get right to it after they have finished taking bribes and ignoring the many homicides that occur in broad daylight there. You might want to check the lockers at the bus station, a lot of times sadistic killers will store dead bodies there.
As for that “notary,” all I can say is “caveat emptor,” which is Latin for “You are so screwed.” Only ordained clergy and justices of the peace can perform marriages in Ohio, so you’re up the Cuyahoga River without a paddle.
Nut drivers: Now available in a veritable rainbow of colors!
Hey Notary Public Action Reporter–
I never thought I’d be writing to you, but a few months ago I got the notary “bug” and bought a used stamp and a seal at a garage sale for $5. I didn’t want to make too big of an investment in case it turned out I didn’t like getting calls at all hours of the night to come authenticate wills and stuff.
When I went to the Secretary of State’s office with my notary “kit” and my check for $52 the lady behind the counter says “It’s not that easy, you also need a high school diploma and can’t have felonies or crimes involving fraud, dishonesty or deceit on your record.” Then she turns on her computer and I knew I was screwed as I was kicked out of high school for stealing a nut driver set from Shop Class, so I had two strikes against me right there.
My question for you is, why do they allow people to sell their notary stuff if you have to be a high school graduate to use it? Doesn’t seem fair to me, it isn’t just “big shots” who need notaries, the “little people” do too.
Duane Imhoff, Ronceverte, West Virginia
A good education doesn’t come cheap!
I am having a hard time working up any sympathy for you. Theft of nut driver sets from America’s shop classes drains scarce educational funds from critically important needs such as new uniforms for the football team and replacement pom-poms for the cheerleading squad. I trust you have learned your lesson and won’t buy a black robe hoping it turns you into a Circuit Court Judge.