An unconventional signature has given an Australian man a very hard time.
Jared Hyams from Melbourne, Australia, has been battling authorities to allow him to use his signature, which happens to resemble a rather phallic object.
It’s raised questions on what exactly can be deemed a legitimate signature, since 2010 when Hyams started using the penis signature. Hyams’ involvement however, was admittedly arbitrary.
“It was a bit of a whim,” Hyams told Mashable Australia. “Every time you move house, you have to fill in new forms, and I was moving around a bit and had to sign those electoral [registration] forms.”
“I thought, ‘I wonder if they even check this?’ — so one year I just put a line through the box, and nothing happened.” Hyams moved house again, the next time questioning the “signature or mark” box at the bottom of these forms. “Why does it matter what I do, what my mark could be — so I did that drawing.”
“Then the sh*t hit the fan,” Hyams said, with the Australian Electoral Commission not pleased with the variation. “They were like whoa, hey, you can’t have this.”
Hyams asked the AEC why he couldn’t have the signature, where according to him they said that it wasn’t a legitimate signature, and that he hadn’t signed it properly. Hyams reiterated that it was indeed his signature with government officials. “I had a feeling I was right. Five years later, I now know I am. I was right all along.”
“At the time I thought what else is my signature on, passports, bank cards … so I went through the process of changing my signature on everything,” Hyams said. “I thought, I will adopt this as my signature for everything.”
VicRoads officials were “taken aback” at the adoption of Hyams’ new signature, according to him. “They were sure that I couldn’t have it on my driver’s license.”
Hyams noticed VicRoads’ opposition when he managed to slip his signature in for a driver’s license, but he didn’t receive the license, which he believes would have been automatically processed and mailed to him from a central printing location. Hyams thought something was up when he rung VicRoads’ call centre asking about the license, and his address details didn’t match those in the system.
“I thought, they’ve printed off my license, and someone from VicRoads has changed my details so that it didn’t get sent to me automatically,” Hyams said.
VicRoads rejected the signature based on it being an offensive diagram, and capable of easily being copied, according to The Age. Hyams fought the decision twice in court, being thrown out both times. Eventually his signature made its way through the system, and now he has a license with the signature, according to the news outlet.
The AEC, who initially refused Hyams’ unique signature, also processed his voter registration eventually, according to The Age.
“There were some emotional reactions, and I guess what kept me going is that nobody had an actual reason to be concerned or to have any objection to it,” Hyams said. “It obviously just throws them a bit — and like most people they’re working a job and it’s the same thing every day, nobody questions anything, and that’s been a big thing in my life to question things.”
“I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me at all that people working in government departments aren’t so used to questioning in their life,” Hyams said.
Mashable Australia was unable to independently verify Hyams’ identification. The AEC and VicRoads have been contacted for comment.