Today I went to replace a lost Social Security Card. Not because I wanted to but because the state of Georgia requires you present THE card when you “renew” your drivers license. They also require you to have a birth certificate, two utility bills to prove your proof of residency, and your current license for a picture. I.D. I was lacking the SS card so they gave me a temporary license.
I got to the SSI office an hour early and there was already a line. We shuffled through the doors and subsequent roped areas like cattle going to slaughter or mental patients waiting for their meds.
The first thing I see is a sign that said NO TEMPORARY ID.S.! Certainly they aren’t talking about me because that’s the reason I’m here! After a brief thirty minute wait they called me back to a row of windows that strongly resembled the visitors room at a prison.
I explained to the lady why I was there and she asked me for my license. She looked at it and said, “Sir this is a temporary ID.”
“Yes ma’am. Remember that’s why I am here?”
“Well sir we can’t take this.”
I didn’t want to alienate her but I was thinking, ” Why did you ask for it then?” So I said to her, ” I have other forms of ID. Here’s my birth certificate.”
“I t doesn’t matter Sir we can’t take birth certificates for two reasons. One. It shows you were born but it doesn’t prove that you are still alive.”
I put my head down and close my eyes and started counting. One. Two…..I made it to six and realized I had forgotten to take my meds this morning and looked up slowly. I said, Ma’am, it shows I was born and you have a picture ID on my license AND I AM SITTING RIGHT HERE IN FRONT OF YOU!!! (damn I should have counted some more).
“Well Sir I can’t reference the picture ID because it is temporary. The second reason I can’t take the birth certificate is it’s not current.”
Now I am actually experiencing tremors. “No ma’am it is not current because it is a birth certificate AND I AM FIFTY-FOUR YEARS OLD!!!!!!!!!!!
I gave the lady my DD214 with a pay stub attached. I gave her my honorable discharge.
“No sir I can’t take these either.”
“Ma’am that is paperwork from the U..S government, which happens to be your employer, with my SS number on it.”
“Yes sir but they are from years ago. I need something more recent. How about some medical records?”
Ah Hah! I produce a statement from the VA for the meds I take.
“Sir this a bill. Not records with your birthdate on it”
“I gave you my birth certificate!”
‘Yes sir but you have a temporary ID.”
I put my head down and picked up where I left off….seven, eight, nine, ten.
I slowly looked and leveled my gaze and leaned forward so we could look eye to eye. I said as I was putting my medical paperwork from the VA back into the folder in as even and low voice that I could muster, “Ma’am, if you knew what this prescription was for and also knew that I forgot to take them this morning, you would be very proud of me. My doctors would be proud of me. In fact I am proud of me. I am leaving now…but I’ll be back. Have a very good day.