“I wish I could hug you, but I don’t think I’m allowed” ~Clare G.

Once Pearlsky became 18, she started to receive Social Security Disability which helps pay for her stuff: food, clothes, medicines, stuff not covered by insurance, etc. She gets $804 a month, this is calculated by such things as the fact that she does not work, she is blind (legally), she lives with her absolutely wonderful dad, the house mortgage (they consider that I “give” her some money for rent, ie: some percent of the mortgage), etc.

We received a letter from the Social Security Administration two weeks ago …

We are writing to tell you about changes in PEARLSKY’S Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. … As  you can see from the chart, we are changing her payments for both past and future months. … We will reduce her payments as shown beginning October 2011 to $491.84.

Want to know why? Keep reading the letter …

She has monthly income which must be considered in figuring her eligibility as follows:

  • Her wages of $124.80 for June 2011 and $748.80 for July 2011.

Yes, my friends, wtf? Wages? WAGES? Is she pimping out at school? Selling dope from her chair? Where’s my cut?

Then I look in the envelope and find something even more interesting. Five pay stubs. Yes, the thing you tear off your paycheck. They are originals. Pearlsky’s name is on them. They are real. They are pay stubs from one of her nannies. The nanny’s name is on them, the nanny’s social security number, etc. Pearlsky’s name is there as well AS THE EMPLOYER. You see, in our state, Pearlsky is a corporation (really) and money comes to her from state and goes out from her corporation to her care attendants. The money NEVER stops in Pearlsky’s name nor control. The paystubs that Social Security sent are payments to one of the care providers.

Ok, so some poop-for-brains totally messed up. The nanny was at the Social Security office applying for retirement and was proving a part-time job. I call. I get Mary B. in the Kansas City Teleservice and tell her the story. She is WONDERFUL. She talks out loud as she is typing a message to the local office since they are the ones to fix this. She gets it. She tells me it should be fixed within two days. Thank you Mary B, you are great.

A letter comes yesterday, about ten days later. Same crap, just more official. Nothing has changed. I call the local office and get Mrs. Blast. That’s her real name, I don’t mind using the real names of total and complete incompetent morons. I try to explain the situation and she interrupts me …

Yes, she has wages. We have proof.

That was her line, and she was sticking to it. I explained that Pearlsky cannot work, does not work, and she insisted they had proof. Yes, I started to lose my natural charm with this woman. And yes, I used words that none of you like, so do not read the next quote, because yes, it is exactly what I said …

You need to understand, Pearlsky is a retard. A crippled retard. Think cinder block. Do you get it? She does not work because she cannot work. She does nothing.

Well, yes, but she has wages.

May I speak to a supervisor?

No, a supervisor won’t help you. I will pass this on to Mr. Marvas.

And what will he do?

He can look into it, he is the only one. He will get back to you today.

This has been in your office over a week. You really think he will get back to me today?

Yes, or you can come in.

And you won’t let me speak to a supervisor?

No, they cannot help you, I will give it to Mr. Marvas and he will call later today.

I must tell you that I really wanted to rip into this woman. From her heavy accent I knew she was Russian. I happen to speak Russian. I also know that words have emotional feelings behind them, but typically only when it is your native language. For instance, saying “I love you” to someone for whom English is a second language is not the same as saying Я люблю тебя in their native Russian. Same with nasty words. Saying a dirty word in one’s second language does not sting like hearing it in one’s native language. So yes, I started to rip her a new жопу. I started to slip into Russian, thought better of it, and said a simple Большое спасибо (big thank you).

That was yesterday. No call from Mr. Marvas. Duh. This morning I pack up Pearlsky, get in the van and drive downtown. The entire area is swarming with people, a complete mess, there is an immigrant swearing-in at a major venue next door. I find a parking spot for $20, get Pearlsky out of the van (the parking garage did not have handicap spots, I had to get her out in the middle of a very busy aisle in the garage, blocking everyone for a couple of minutes. Life is tough folks.), and go to the office.

The security guys were baffled by Pearlsky’s wheelchair. They were nice enough, but did not have a clue. They asked for me to remove the backpack from her chair, I told them I would need to take her out of the chair to do it, they said, “never mind.” They basically checked nothing on her. Me? Full strip search. Ok, no. But I did need to remove my belt.

We walk into the Social Security office and the woman guard looks at Pearlsky, looks at me, touches her own chin and says ..

She has a little drool.

No shit? Really?

Clare G. comes to get us and takes us in to her desk. A very nice woman, mid-50’s (well, 56, but then you would wonder how I know that), grew up knowing an ex-girlfriend’s aunt. She says to me …

You are here for the renewal?

No, I have no idea what that is. I am here because of the gross incompetence of your office.

I use that expression when I want to cut to the chase. If you call somewhere and just ask for a supervisor, they are trained to do everything to stop you. When they ask what the problem is, just say “the gross incompetence of those that answer the phone.” Nine out of ten times you’re golden.

Clare asks me to explain. I tell her the story. I show her the paystubs. Then I say …

Look at Pearlsky.

She’s beautiful.

Yes, I agree, thanks. Do you think she works as a caretaker making hundreds of dollars.


Do you think that drool is snake venom? Well, it’s not worth hundreds of dollars. She has no income.

She looked at me with puppy dog eyes. I was being nice to her, told her several times I knew this was not her fault. I explained that Mr. Marvas never called, that Mrs. Blast was a moronsky. She suggested we go through the re-evaluation and can handle this as part of it. Fine.

She turned the computer monitor so we can both see it and went through it all. Pearlsky’s school, my mortgage, where she (Clare) grew up, the fact that when not working she teaches sailing, Pearlsky’s certificate of blindness, the fact that I have two kids like this and life is tough enough without idiots, etc. She looked at me and said …

I wish I could hug you, but I don’t think I’m allowed.

I smiled.

Then she got to the “notes” screen. We both start reading it and there is a long note from over a week ago, from the wonderful Mary B. explaining the mess and telling this office to fix it. Then, a second two sentence note.

Oh my.

We looked at each other. All I could say was “shit.”

The last note was from Mr. Marvas saying he fixed it, yesterday. I pointed to the characters on the computer screen right before his note, just after the previous one, and asked what they were. She said …

That’s your phone number. He was supposed to have called.

It’s 11:30, he still has not. So, I took the day off from work, took Pearlsky out of her program, got her into her van, drove all the way into town, paying $20 for parking all because some puke could not make a required 45 second phone call that some other moron promised I would get?

I was nice, obviously not happy. Clare had tears in her eyes, real ones. One rolled down her cheek.

I’m so sorry.

I assured her I knew it was not her fault. I insisted on her bringing over Mr. Marvas but he was not available. She promised me she would talk to him. I believe her.

I thanked her for her time. As I stood up from her desk she walked around and hugged me. Then she gave Pearlsky a kiss.


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