Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pineapple Laced Turpentine Icicle Sweaters

*Up at 0700, in the car by 0800. That alone qualified as a pretty damn sucky way to start the day. At least it didn't take as long as I thought it would to get there, so by 0840 I was second in line in front of the Elgin SSA office. Fortunately, the weather was pretty mild, so it wasn't too bad standing outside while we waited for them to open the doors. At least the fresh air was helping to disperse the feeling of nausea that had been present since we left the house. Guess I was more anxious about this event than I wanted to let on. By the time the doors opened and I checked in and got my waiting number, it was all of 0900. Maybe five more minutes went by before they called my number. When I went up to the window and explained my situation, the lady pulled my record up and found that there was indeed a mismatch in the information regarding my date of birth. They had me down as being older. Not by a month, a year or a decade. By a day. By one single day. Unable to hide my puzzlement, I asked when the information had been changed and by whom. After another quick glance at her computer screen, the lady informed me that it had been wrong since my card was issued. Back in 1975. Let me repeat that, just in case you're not quite clear on the deal. For the past 35 years, my information on file with the government has been wrong. Only by one day, but still wrong. In that 35 years, I have registered with selective service, gotten Pell grants and student loans, mortgages, filed tax returns, and financed cars. And whenever I applied for these things, it was always stressed how utterly vitally critically important it was that the information I give be dead-on laser accurate. Now, after 35 years, I finally understand why it was so important for me to be that freakin accurate on everything: NO ONE WAS EVER REALLY CHECKING!!!! WTF!?!?! Even the damn IRS never checked! At least until this past Monday. For some reason they had a check-the-records bug up their butt this past Monday, but before that, apparently a duck could have filed my income taxes for me. True, the duck would be a day older than me, but apparently, no one checks these things! I mean it's a total relief that someone didn't really steal my identity and buy something like, say, John Goodman, but it seems so enormously ludicrous that this could happen-and then go on undetected-for 35 years! It's just one more thing that whittles away at my confidence in the pillars of beaurocracy that hold our country up. Or down. I'm not sure which. Sure, I can laugh at it now, because I'm so relieved, but seriously, 35 years? If the tables were turned, I really doubt the government would be so accepting of such a long lived 'oopsie'. That 35 years might be converted into an all-expenses paid vacation at a Federal resort complex, like the one in Joliet. At least I have an iron-clad excuse. I was five (or maybe 6, if you ask the government) when all this happened. If they want to try and go after someone else, all but one of the other people potentially involved in the original incident are quite dead now (at least as far as I know). Oh, and did I forget to mention that this whole process took less than 10 minutes?
See? Just makes your head hurt, eh? And you thought I was kidding when I said I should have just stayed at Frankie's...


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