Or, proof that Dickens was right, The law is an ass;
Donald Miller of Ohio left behind a wife, two children and significant debt when he fled his home in 1986.
He was declared legally dead in 1994, then re-emerged in 2005 and attempted to apply for a driving licence.
A judge this week found death rulings cannot be overturned after three years.Judge Allan Davis handed down the ruling in Hancock County, Ohio, probate court on Monday, calling it a "strange, strange situation", according to media reports.
"We've got the obvious here. A man sitting in the courtroom, he appears to be in good health,'' he said, finding that he was prevented by state law from declaring Mr Miller legally alive.
"I don't know where that leaves you, but you're still deceased as far as the law is concerned."The 'strange, strange situation' being that Mr. Miller's wife had been collecting Social Security survivor benefits all these years. Is there a regulation that covers this?