Too old to work?

In #TCOT, Government Waste, Healthcare, National Health Care, Obamacare, Social Security on January 16, 2010 at 12:55 pm

I sat very still in the stiff-back chairs at the Social Security Office yesterday. Near silence entombed the room. I held my machine-issued piece of paper with some number on it and waited.

Occasionally a door squeak would startle those around me and we would turn, in unison, towards the rush of cold air that came at us, as though it were a welcome sign of life.

I don’t think most of us wanted to drift into the low mumble of conversation of private-lives and complaints that were just a few feet away from us. I played some mind-numb game on my cell phone. I watched the security guard occasionally thinking he may throw a fit because many signs were posted warning to turn all cell-phones off. Fortunately, he was too busy on the phone with a bank, trying to find the best deal for debit cards. (The one conversation I couldn’t help but overhear.)

After 10 minutes, my eyes wandered to the people around me. A young couple with a toddler and baby in-tow…Two older couples…. One elderly lady with knee socks and shorts on in the dead of winter… And then a very older gentleman with a stack of paper.

A number was called, then another a few minutes later. There we sat like cows, penned and no where to go except back out to pasture.

The elderly man, sitting just a few chairs away began to fumble his papers. He started to speak a couple times to people around him, but it appeared he wasn’t sure what to say.

The man with the toddler finally asked him “Do you need help?” A collective sigh of relief fell over our herd. Finally something to do. We turned and watched.

The man still didn’t have his thoughts as to what it was he was going to say, just held his piece of paper out towards the man.

“Oh, what’s your number?” he asked. The man stared at the paper and closed his mouth.

“It looks like the machine didn’t print anything on it. Let me see if I can help.”

The younger man approached the security guard, still entranced with his banker, who simply pointed him towards the ladies behind the plexi-glass counters.

Trying to explain the situation, he was interrupted by the lady began to repeat her all-to-often-used phrase

“What’s your number?”

Within seconds, she had a startled look on her face and said

“That just doesn’t happen.” Workers began to rush to the window and the machine.

By deduction, we ‘cows’ deduced he must have come in about 6 people before me. We assured him we would get him to the line.

15 long minutes later, the younger man turned to him and said

“It’s your turn.”

We watched him make his way to the worker.

“What’s your number?” she asked.

The man put his paper thru the window.

She stared at him, beginning to speak and he cocked his head ever-s0-slightly.

“What can I help you with?”

And his story began.

“I had surgery, ya see, and my doctor said I can’t work anymore, ” he stated.

“What’s your social security number, sir?” she asked.

“Why would I tell you that?” was his simple reply.

“Sir, how old are you?”

“Ma’am, I am 84 years old.”

“Are you retired?”

“I don’t want to be, but, you see, I had surgery on my neck. The doctor said I should come tell you this so I could be on disability.”

“Do you get Social Security?”

“I get a little something. Yes.”

“Well, sir, you can’t get both. You need to make up your mind if you are going to get one or the other.”

And he stood in silence for about a minute, looking at his papers.

Without another sound, he turned and looked at the chairs–staring at each of us–we were glued to the conversation.

Then he slowly made his way back out to pasture. And we watched the cool wind escort him back out.

The room went back to it’s own silence. My number was called and I went to the plex-glass.

I suppose he may come back another day. Perhaps not. Perhaps he may go back to work. Perhaps not.

Perhaps he may just go back home and make a sandwich and wait for his next doctors appointment.

I can’t wait for Government-run healthcare.

  1. It’s heartbreaking to witness something like that, especially knowing full well it happens to thousands of people daily. How any thinking person of any political persuasion could realistically believe government is the answer and not the problem is beyond me.

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