Don’t laminate your SS card
January 19, 2018
I'm going to be blunt about the weather today. To put it indelicatly, it's crappy. The wind is howling out of the northwest. The temperature has dropped all day long and the forecast is more of the same.
It's not that I don't expect this kind of weather in January in the Flint Hills. It's just that it came on the heels of three days of sunny and relatively warm days — one of which was in the upper 50s with no wind and another, yesterday, with temps in the lower 60s. It's the shock of the change that bugs me.
The weather wuz so nice that I hunted wild quail two of the afternoons. We found a few quail, my bird dog, Mandy, worked well, and I still can't hit wild quail very well in my old age. It still wuz pleasant to get out of the house and get a little exercise and a lot of fresh air.
Yesterday I renewed my Kansas driver's license and encountered a bit of a vexing problem.
Here's what happened: As per the renewal card instructions as to proper ID for the license renewal, I got out my passport (which I've never used), pulled a recent utility bill from the file, and pulled my Social Security card out of a drawer and put it in my wallet. All set to go.
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I arrive at the licensing location, take my number (four ahead of me), wait 45 minutes for my turn. I hand the passport, utility bill, and my SS card to the renewing agent. She looks at me and says, "I can renew your driver's license with these, but I can't give you a Gold Star license that's federally required for airplane travel, etc., because you're SS card is laminated."
At least 60 years ago, I laminated my SS card so it wouldn't wear out in my wallet. I couldn't believe what the agent was telling me. She told me that I needed to get an unlaminated SS card from the SS administration or else bring a 1099 IRS tax form before I could get the Gold Star license.
So, I drove home (30 miles round trip), grabbed a 1099 form and returned to the licensing location. The agent merrily accepted the passport, utility bill and 1099 and gave me my new license.
Out of curiosity, I asked the agent why in the world my laminated SS Card was not acceptable. She replied blandly that the regulations required an agent to be able to "feel" the SS card to assure it's real and not fake. I chose not to pursue the question further and went home — after wasting $5 in gas and two hours of my retirment time. I could have taken a good nap.
The whole scene was beyond curious to me, bordering on surreal. What happened is proof positive of government overreach or insensitivity.
Word to the wise: Don't laminate your SS card.
At our Old Boar's Breakfast last Wednesday morning, my good friend, ol' C. Faren Wyde, told me that we've reached our "metallic" age: Silver in our hair; gold in our teeth, and lead in our butts. And, I might add, "salty" in our language.
The world is awash with new electronic contraptionss, gadgets and gizzmos of questionable value and I'm the owner of one of them. Our daughter in Tennessee saw fit to gift me at Christmas with an Amazon Alexa. It's a contraption — about the size of a soda or beer can — that gives me access to more than a couple million songs — just by talking to "her."
I can say, "Alexa, play Merle Haggard," and the music starts. Or, if you like jazz, just ask for the Dave Brubeck Quartet, or soul, just ask for Muddy Waters. Any artist you can think of. I even tested Alexa by commanding "her" to play songs by The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash — thinking it would confuse "her" — but she's too smart and played the right songs and not those of the real Johnny Cash. If you don't want a specific artist or song, just command Alexa to play songs in any genre you can think of.
Ol' Nevah even programmed Alexa to give us the local weather when asked. Another feature, you can ask Alexa to tell you a joke and she'll respond with a cute one-liner. Just for fun, I tried a cuss word. Alexa gently demurred and chided my choice of language.
Now, I admit that I've gotten along quite well for nigh on 75 years with other sources of music. But, I will equally admit that Alexa, while far from needed, is still pretty astounding.
Who'd of ever thunk it.
Ol' Canby Handy from Platte City, Mo., requests that you readers ponder these things:
• Do twins ever realize that one of them is unplanned?
• What if your dog only brings back your ball because he thinks you like throwing it?
• If poison expires, is it more poisonous or is it no longer poisonous?
• Which letter is silent in the word "scent," the s or the c?
• Every time you clean something, you make something else dirty.
• Intentionally trying to lose a game of rock, paper, scissors is just as hard as trying to win.
And, lastly, your future self is watching you right now through your memories.
Have a good 'un. ❖