Here it comes again! Tax time. The dreaded deadline approaches. I started my return yesterday (March 10) to have a little wiggle room if there were problems. Turns out, it was a good move.
I’m lining up the 1099 forms when I notice that I have no such statement from the Social Security Administration. The pittance that I receive from those folks barely covers my bar bill so it’s understandable how they might overlook me. But wanting to take no chance of suffering the wrath of the IRS, I had to come up with something.
I start with the Internet and the SSA web site. Lucky me. Right there in plain sight is the info I need. Seemed easy enough; just sign up as a user and the 1099 I needed would be available for downloading. NOT!
The first section went well–name, SS number, address, etc., but then I get this:
We see you took out a home mortgage in 2016. What was the name of your lender?
Whaaaaaaat? I did no such thing.
(A convenient list was provided with a none-of-the-above box. I checked it.)
Which bank did you use? Another list. None-of-the-above.
Three more insane questions. Three more lists. Three more none-of-the-above’s.
I click NEXT.
“We’re sorry but your answers do not match up with our records. You can try again in 24 hours. Goodbye.”
Sweet Baby Jesus. I don’t deserve this.
I take a deep breath to calm my nerves, mixed a spooker* for courage, and dialed the phone number for the SSA.
A recording of course. I listed to the options, chose one I thought might be it, and followed the prompts…or tried to.
“Please say your first name, then spell it. For example, if your first name is Paul, say Paul and then say the letters P A U L.” Obviously this SSA recording was aimed at the language skills of the average six-year-old. Surely I could handle it. Again…NOT.
Warren. W A R R E N.
“Thank you. Now say and spell your last name. For example…
Hey you jerk. I don’t need another example. If I was smart enough to manage with my first name, don’t you think I could repeat it using my last name with some degree of confidence?
But didn’t say that of course, instead, I dutifully swallowed my pride and played along.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t get that. Please repeat.” I closed my eyes, took a long sip from the spooker, and complied.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t get that. Please say your name and then spell it. For Example, if your name is Paul…”
“Okay, one more time you moron and this time pay attention.” I enunciated my name and letters with all the clarity and diction that an Okie can possibly muster, speaking in the slow deep resonant tones of a professional radio broadcaster. W I L L….
Then…silence. Dead air. No, I’m sorry, nothing. “Hellooo, Mr. Recording. Are you with me?”
No reply, not even a dial tone. I hung up. Mixed another spooker.
One more shot at it. I call the local SSA office. Got the menu, pushed the number for a live person, watched out the window long enough for the dandelions grow another inch, when…”How may I help you?”
I went through my sad tale, including the bit about me taking out a false mortgage and locking me out. The guy laughs, “Yeah, that recording does that a lot.”
Please, God, give me strength.
Next the guy runs me through an interrogation worthy of men wearing black hoods and wielding hot branding irons.
What is your mother’s full maiden name? What is your Father’s full name? What city were you born? Residence, zip code, bank of deposit for that pittance you receive?
I aced the test. The guy promises to send me a 1099 in the mail. “It’ll be a few days.”
“Dude, you’re looking at it right? Can’t you just tell me the benefits amount in Box 5 and I can finish my taxes without fear of penalty and SWAT teams running around in my yard?”
“I’m sorry. I can’t do that.”
Keep in mind this guy knows every detail of my life since birth; first date, when I lost my virginity, the names of the cats, including what I had for breakfast, and he can’t divulge the dollar amount on a stupid 1099 that his agency produced?
Cleary, it was time for another run to the liquor store.
*Spooker: An alcoholic beverage of any kind, usually a shot of whisky with a splash of branch water.