Friday, November 15, 2019

Social Insecurity

The government is doing everything in its power to make me feel old.
And I’m not talking about the endless mind numbing, word bending, brain freezing, back bending, gobbledygook that comes out of Congress and the White House every minute of the day.
Or the watching paint dry, snail’s pace at which things do or do not progress and are or are not resolved.
I mean, one of these days they’ll make that Nixon fella pay for what he did…or didn’t do.
No, I’m talking about something on a more personal level…something that really matters…at least to me.
If you recall—and why would you, even though you should—I turned 65 earlier in the year.

65…that magic number which evokes images of broken-down cattle, lumbering out to pasture, spending their remaining days munching on bean curds, or whatever it is old cows munch on.
65…the age your grandpa hung those risqué posters of Betty White, down in his rumpus room.
65…the age when people politely say you haven’t changed a bit, since High School, which makes you wonder how bad you must have looked in High School.
65…the age the government says you must begin to reap your Medicare benefits; in whatever part of the alphabet you should choose…be it A…B…C…or D.
Pick a letter, any letter…just pick one…or two…or three…or all the letters you want.
They’ve got a letter for everything.
Once you’ve deciphered all of that and you’ve gathered—you think—all the letters you’re gonna need to cover that unexpected goiter removal at age 75, you’re now ready to take on Social Security, which, in my case, I can begin receiving at age 66, my full retirement age,
which is just a mere third of a year away.
Of course, if I were a year younger, I’d have to wait another 2 months, past age 66 to rake in the moola.
And if I were two years younger, I’d have to yet endure an additional 2 months…etc. etc. etc.
So, it appears there are times when younger isn’t necessarily better.
At least according to the government.
But I’ll take it…at least some time in March.
Of course, if I’d been born in 1939, I could have collected already, at 65…but then, I’d be like 80 years old right now.
Which would mean I’d have to go to the bathroom more often…if that’s even possible.
Or, I could be “not at all, anymore” years old, which, while reducing my bathroom time, significantly, would also make collecting, difficult.
Which is my way of saying…how did I get so old the government wants to give me stuff?
Not free stuff, mind you…they still make you pay for some of it…even though they’re using your old money in the first place.
Old…there’s that word again.
The thing is, as I’ve said in the past, I don’t feel old; not at all. I pretty much feel the same as I have since I graduated college…without the purple haze.
So why is the government trying to make me feel old?
I mean, once I pull myself out of the iron lung, hang upside down in my inversion boots for an hour or two, untwist my pretzeled back and find my truss…I’m ready to paaaaaartay!
I can mostly still find the TV screen…or I at least know what part of the room it’s long as I’m in the right room…or house.
My hearing is as crisp as it ever was. I don’t miss a single syllable…unless a plane flies overhead or there’s loud music, or someone next door is talking in their kitchen.
And my memory is as sharp as a uh…sharp as…sharp as something or other.
People are always marveling at how well I’m able to recall stuff in great detail, which actually comes in handy when the cops are driving me home after I get lost in Costco.
Who needs all these social entitlements? 
Old people…that’s who.  Like, a gazillion year old people.
Not me….
But, like I said, if they want to give it to me, I’ll take it,
And they do make it kind of easy to sign up.
You can do it right from home, once you figure out how to turn on the computer.
It’s all pretty straight forward.
And if you have a problem you just call the Help Line and speak to a cheerful representative, who sounds as if they’re using the same transatlantic cable that once connected us to Australia.
However, before you can do that, you have to get past the very modern electronic computer man who tells you how long you'll have to wait before speaking to an actual living person. It’s usually not too long, providing you don’t have dinner plans over the next couple of weeks.
Or they give you the option of them calling you back in a more convieinent time frame...possibly or possibly not, before your bedtime.
Nah…actually it’s a very reasonable 45 minutes…45 fraught filled minutes spent staring at the phone, finger poised over the answer button, afraid of getting distracted for even a second, because you know if you miss the call there’ll be consequences.
I mean it’s the government you’re dealing with.
But soon, the phone does ring and once again it’s the very cheerful computer guy informing you, if you’re ready to speak to a representative, please say—
At which point, some sort of whale or eel crawls across the transatlantic cable and the secret word is obscured by all sorts of static and hum…so you start shouting out everything you can think of that might bring you into the magic land of Social Services. 
Yes!” I try first.
Representative!” I try next.
Customer Service…Help…Incontinent…dyslexia…MAGA… Melania…Ivanka…Rudy…Witch Hunt…Quid pro Quo…Quo Pro Quid…FAKE NEWS!”
Then the nice computer man comes back and tells you due to your total lack of technical abilities and decreased cognitive skills, they will give you time to nap for ten minutes and call you back.
“What…No… Wait…I—”
And then the dreaded click.
So then the whole phone staring, finger hovering process begins a-new…or an-old, which seems much more appropriate.
Eventually, the phone does ring, and again there’s our favorite little computer man telling me, if I’m ready to speak to a representative please say…and now the anticipation really builds as finally, the magical secret word will be revealed…barring another intrusion from some form of indeterminate deep sea creature…and the little computer man says…please say “Ready”…ready????
Ready is the magic word…Ready? 

But, there’s no time to ponder; I can’t’ risk another disconnect…so I shout out READY!!!
To which I'm greeted by silence.
Still nothing.
I’m sorry…I’m not getting that.  Please say ready now…or PRESS ONE.
PRESS ONE PRESS ONE PRESS ONE…nobody said anything about pressing one!
So, I press one…and lo and behold, on comes Anita…or Elaine…or possibly a man named Dwayne.  I can’t tell, because now, I’m once again connected to the transatlantic cable, circa 1950 and all I hear is a small tinny voice. In the background there’s something that sounds suspiciously like a passing ocean liner.
“How can I help you”, says, Anita…or Elaine…or possibly a man named Dwayne.
“Hello, uhm, Elai…uh…I just filled out an on-line application and I’m looking for information on what additional forms I may need—”
“What is your name please?”
“Uhm, Brian Moloney…M-O-L—”
“You don’t need to spell it!” Anita…or Elaine…or possibly a man named Dwayne, chastises.
“Oh, okay…usually I—”
“Sir, I don’t see your application, here. Are you sure you submitted it?”
“Yes, I have a confirmation number, if you would—".
“Well, I don’t see anything for Brian MALONEY.”
“How did you spell it?”
“Well, as I was about to tell you it’s spelled with an O and not an A.”
“How was I supposed to know that, sir?”
“You’re right…my mistake,” I say, crossing my fingers, hoping we can now move on.
“Sir, you need to fill out and submit form SRU24-57G-YT.”
“Oh, that’s what I was wondering.”
“You were wondering about form SRU24-57G-YT?”
“Well, no…not specifically…I—”
“That seems a bit peculiar, sir.”
“Uhm…how can I get a form SRU24-57G-YT?”
“You can find it on our website under—”
“Forms?” I say, foolishly, trying to sound helpful?”
“No sir…of course not. Why would form SRU24-57G-YT be located under forms?”
“I don’t know what I was thinking.”
“You’ll have to scroll through several pages of unrelated governmental, protocols and procedures, and look for an almost undetectable link for “Additional Forms”.
“And I’ll find form SRU24-57G-YT?”
“I see.”
“Or I can e-mail you a link to form SRU24-57G-YT, if you prefer.”
‘Yes…I think I would prefer that…if it’s not too much trouble.”
“No trouble, sir. Why else would I be here?”
“I have no idea.”
“I’ll just need your e-mail address, and I’ll send it along.”
“Yes, yes…thank you, Anita…or Elaine…or possibly a man named Dwayne!” I shout, perhaps a bit too enthusiastically, finally seeing the end in sight.
“That doesn’t sound like a normal e-mail, sir. Are you sure that’s correct?”
“What…NOOOO. My e-mail is bri.moloney M-O-L—”
“You don’t need to spell it….”
So, I didn’t and I’m sure one of these days form SRU24-57G-YT will show up in my e-mail box.
Of course, now, after all that, I do feel kind of old and foolish and incontinent…uhm, I mean incompetent. 
But what’s a government for if it can’t make you feel dumb and useless when you reach the ripe old age of 65.
But I say, pish posh…which, curiously, I never said before, until I turned 60.
I don’t need the government to make me feel any of the above.
That’s what I have Z for….
Oh wait…gotta go. I think my Meals on Wheels delivery is here.
I really hope they give me a cup cake today.
I was told there’d be cupcakes….


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  1. Love this! Especially the part about "if that's even possible." I can identify!

    1. Thanks! I guess that makes us both a couple know...


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