Social Security

by gemma kennedy

Florian Klauer|Unsplash

It’s the first of the month.

I’d forgotten, actually. Things have been busy and today’s the last day of school. On my commute to work, my mind was filled with misty-eyed memories of the too-quickly passing year, the forward-looking prospect of my youngest heading to Kindergarten later this year, and relishing in my fleeting moment of resignation this morning when I allowed my middle child to Sharpie-up a tee shirt because in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter anyway.

I’m fortunate to not rely on the first of the month, that it doesn’t dictate when and how I pay my bills. Considering my start in life, I think about this often and am thankful for the path that got me here today.

I realized today was that day as I waited for the last traffic light between me and my office to turn green.

The Social Security office sits on the northwest corner of the intersection. It boasts a single service window and thirty parking stalls. A twenty-six/four split counting handicap accessible ones. On the first, they beef up security. And by beef up, I mean they have one security guard when they usually have zero. He patrols the twenty-by-thirty foot perimeter, but never gets out of eye-shot of the treasure:

His own motorcycle.

The shimmering white Harley Davidson sits askew, poking a bit too far out into the street, and he guards it against those who might nick into it with their vehicles or bother it with their breath. It’s on these mornings that the woman walking her corgi crosses over to the other side of the street while he claims as his own personal real estate the strip of cement between his hog and the brick building behind him. A concentrated plume swirls up and around his earpiece and mirrored sunglasses as he stands 15 feet from the front door, with its No Smoking within 20 feet sign affixed prominently above the office hours.

He wanted to be John (or Ponch). Instead, he’s pulling a two-day-a-month tour of duty in this town where I can count the past three decades’ worth of bank robberies on one hand and have enough fingers left over to pick my nose, hitchhike, get married, and silently tell someone to fuck off.

It’s where I counted myself fortunate to only need their help filing the required paperwork for name changes when I was adopted. And married. And divorced. And married again. And divorced again. And married again.

None of the men in my life have ever had to do this.

I wonder which office or department or agency fired him before, or found him unfit for duty. I wonder which background investigator overlooked this. I wonder if it was laziness or intentional. I wonder if they’re friends.

He paces and stands watch over his pride and joy, forcing those who depend on this critical service to pass by on their way in the door.

God, I hate this fucker.

He may well enough be a nice guy. But I hate him. I hate him and others like him, and today I am adding him to my list of people I judge from a distance, throwing them firmly in the dislike column. I know many are petty, but I am a lady of a certain age and this is who I am now. When I die, I want my eulogy to just be a 14 year old girl reading this list, which may be found in my journal upon my nightstand, one hundred pages long, and bearing the sleep deprived angry scrawlings of an elderly hand, the angry scrawlings that will match the endorsement on the back of my Social Security checks.

People I Hate Universally

Miata drivers

Men who wear sunglasses on the back of their head (looking at you, Guy Fee-Yeti)

People who wear their watch face on the inside of their wrist


Step counters who brag about it

Flag apparel wearers

Sportsballs enthusiasts (except Lon Shapiro)

Dicks who say, “I don’t like reading”

The first person of the season who insists camping is fun but no really

People who call the stickers on their cars decals

People on both sides of the Mossy Oak vs. RealTree debate

Child molesters, obviously

The part time guard at the Social Security office