Flannery Correspondence

January 30, 2010

I’m Outraged! Today’s Episode: Social Security

I lost my social security card. I tore the house apart looking for it. No luck.

You know what that means. What’s funner than the DMV? The Social Security Administration.

I know what to expect from a well-oiled government bureaucracy: Bad fluorescent lighting; bland, dingy room staffed by unmotivated misanthropes; waiting in an endless line with general population. (Ah, gen-pop. Aren’t you glad you’re not one of them? They wear clothes that don’t match and sneeze without covering their mouths.)

I’d better get there early. Reserve my spot in misery. I want a 30 minutes jump-start but I only manage 15. I’ve got my driver’s license, my checkbook and a roll of $20s, my W-2s, my passport, my birth certificate, my parent’s birth certificates and social security cards, photographs of my birth, notarized vouchers from people who have known me for decades as Brian Flannery, 52X-XX-XXXX. My cell phone is on auto-dial to LifeLock in case I need them.

The SSA door is very clear: They open at 9AM. You can wait in the lobby starting at 8AM. I look around the lobby. There’s only two other guys. One guy is trying all the locked doors like he’s gotta get out of there. (What bomb?) The other one doesn’t speak English. Not bad: I’m third.

It’s only 8:57 but the door opens. It’s not locked. I’m not third. There are dozens of people ahead of me, fidgeting patiently on uncomfortable seats in the real lobby. I take my number from the computer printer. “S106,” it says. Over one hundred people know that getting there “early” does not forgive Flannery Standard Time.

So I sit down in despair. I have my book. I wonder if it’s long enough. I guess I can re-read it. If necessary, I can also eat some pages and burn the rest to survive this nuclear winter of the soul.

9:00, they start calling numbers. But this counting is different. “M47.” “321.” “M48.” “S104.” “322.”

“S104”! That means I’m third in line in the category of clumsy native citizen who merely misplaced his existing social security card.

“Last call for S104.” Yes! A quitter. “S105.” “S106.” I hop up amidst snarls from the poor seated souls with more complicated cases. My bureaucrat awaits me behind the seven inches of glass named Window 5. Am I in prison or is she?

With shaking hands I fork over form SS-5, dutifully completed and twice reviewed. She asks for my driver’s license. She reads a run-on sentence about answering questions truthfully, otherwise: perjury. I clench for the barrage of questions. What if I go blank? You can’t expect me to remember every identifying detail about my life!

“Is your name and address accurate on this form?” They are. She prints a receipt and says I’ll get my card in about two weeks. I even got my driver’s license back.

I just stood there.
“You can go.”
“Where?”
“Home or work or anywhere. Leave. You’re done.”
“That’s it?”
“S107.”
“No foolin’?”
“S107! (Go away. I don’t date general population.)”

I’m driving away at 9:07.

You can see why I’m so outraged: I didn’t get any reading done. (Just when you thought you knew what to expect from America’s longest running Ponzi scheme.)

What’s worse? I’m apparently a member of general population. I should have sneezed on her. Bulletproof glass can’t stop gen-pop germs.

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1 Comment »

  1. Funny stuff Bri. Glad things went smooth for once but was it too eazy?

    Comment by Gorilla — January 31, 2010 @ 14:57


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