Homeland Insecurity Catch-22

This is an essay about what’s wrong with Amerika since DHS was invented. I am thoroughly pissed, and am about to reveal extremely personal information about myself because… because… it doesn’t fucking matter what I care to reveal about myself, since I have been officially informed by both state and federal authorities that I do not exist.

Now, that designation wasn’t a problem back when we were involved in some serious skullduggery on the ‘official’ federal level investigations end of things nasty and nuclear, but that was more than 30 years ago. We’ve lived a quiet life for the most part since then, and just live on our homestead and work wherever we can for enough money to stay. Grow some food, raise some kids and grandkids, do a little entertaining here and there as clowns, puppeteers, jugglers and fire-eaters. Being officially non-existent on the skullduggery end so the nuclear mafia will stop shooting is fine. Being officially non-existent in the real world and still having to pay taxes is downright ridiculous.

Deal is, my Mother-In-Law is dying in another state, last parent we’ve got on the planet. Hubby and I flew out there a couple of months ago to get her into assisted living, but she lasted less than a month before having to be hospitalized with end-game dementia and unidentified infection. She’s in the hospital and going down fast. So it was decided I should fly out there again to help spell other family per the death-watch, as hubby won’t have time off again until late May.

Unfortunately, I found out the last time we flew that my duly “official” NC Driver’s License won’t get me on a plane without having to do the whole anal probe thing at the airport because it expired four years ago (I don’t drive and don’t have a car, so why did I need a driver’s license?). I highly detest being treated like a terrorist, since I don’t happen to be a terrorist. Yet. What I am is a dowdy nearly 60 year old certifiably white grandmother type who looks (and mostly is) harmless.

But since DHS got established with massive funding and more red tape than anybody ever needed, there’s a problem with my name. It’s a long story…

First, I was born in Olongopo, Luzon, Philippines back during the bad old Korean War when my father was Planning Officer for NIS, Pacific Fleet, out of Subic Bay. They named me after his sister, who was always my favorite relative. Marian Aileen (yes, with an “A”). Dad’s name because Mom used it instead of her maiden Cash (John’s first cousin, btw) when they got married in 1948. She never had a problem with it, and went by the name “Diane C. (for Cash) B. [insert my ‘real’ maiden name here]” from then until she died, even after they were divorced in 1968. Even got a raise in her SS checks after he died, as his wife of record despite the divorce.

Anyway, I got my SS number and card way back in 1967 in Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA when I was Sweet Sixteen so I could get a job at the VA hospital for the summer. Deal is, nobody in my whole life ever called me “Marian.” Or “Aileen.” My Filipino nursemaid called me “Joy,” and that’s the name that stuck. It’s what my parents, siblings and friends called me, it was on all my school records, etc., and hardly anyone anywhere in all the states and countries my family ever lived knew my ‘real’ name was Marian. I never used Aileen for anything, it’s just some letters on the birth certificate issued by (I have all this stuff in a folder right here for the wringer I’ve been going through) the Municipality of Olongapo, Zambales, Philippines [Luzon]. Stapled to that certificate – and something I need in order to explain to bureaucrats and pigs in various states we’ve lived in our 41 years of marriage – is a duly sealed “Report of Birth” for Child Born Abroad of American Parent or Parents. It’s nice and official and signed by all interested parties including the Vice Consul of the United States of America. Also attached is a letter on letterhead of the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Philippines, further explaining that I am an American citizen by right of birth to American citizens who happened to be in the Philippines when labor ensued. It’s all quite yellowed and fragile, but it is what it is. Me.

Anyhoo, back in 1967 when I got my SS number and card, the nice people at the SS office there allowed me to use the name “Joy” because that’s how I was known by everybody including the high school I was duly enrolled in at the time. They put “Marian” as my middle name, then B [insert my ‘real’ maiden name here]. Everybody including the Social Service Administration was all hunky dory with it. It got me through until I got married in 1969, at which point the registrar in Chickasha spelled “Aileen” wrong – used an “E.” I became “Marian Eileen,” which didn’t match my birth certificate or my SS card, which didn’t have any form of Aileen but DID have “Joy.” When I got the last name changed on my SS card to his name – a custom and not a formality in those days – all they wanted was the marriage license. They still didn’t use any form of Aileen, it was just “Joy Marian T [insert hubby’s name here].

Then my hubby got drafted and joined the nuclear navy instead, and Eileen with an “E” was issued to me as my new moniker for the purpose of dependent’s benefits and health care for our children. So I started getting my other identifications in the name of “Marian E. T [insert hubby’s name here]. Driver’s license, my portion of the bank account, and the joint taxes we filed every year. SS never had a moment’s problem with dropping “Joy” on official matters because it was still the same number and it’s the number that counts. Right?

Various driver’s licenses and bank accounts in various states followed through the decades, always some form of “Marian A or E and the T [insert hubby’s name here]. Then my father died in 1993 sans a son to carry on the name (because the nukes murdered said son in 1980 and son’s three kids took some other temporary hubby’s name), so I dropped Aileen by either spelling altogether and just used “B” [insert maiden name here] on bank accounts, insurance, tax filings, driver’s license, etc. here in our homestead not-retirement. Just as my mother had done by custom when she used “C” for Cash instead of her ‘real’ middle name of Darling when she got married. Who cares about this shit?

So I went yesterday to the heavily quardoned and guarded Asheville DMV to get an ‘official’ state ID card so I could fly without valid driver’s license I don’t need because I don’t drive. I was informed by the pig point blank that I “do not exist.” He was a complete jerk, I wasted time and gas and was so furious I couldn’t even think to get his ID and demand to see his superior so I could lodge a complaint. Figured I’d just go to my county’s DMV today and see if they could be more helpful. They were.

Unfortunately, while the lady at my county’s DMV understood my issue and really wanted to help, the fact that my license is out of date throws me into the “new rules” post-911 and I absolutely have to have the name changed on my SS card before I can get a state ID. In short, I do not exist. She did tell me that while it would take 6 weeks to get a new SS card in the mail, if I went there today and started the process it would be on her computer in 24 hours and she could go ahead and issue the ID. I thanked her profusely and headed out with daughter-the-designated-driver to Asheville again (50 miles in the OTHER direction) to go see the SS. I took everything I could think of that matched any of the “acceptable” forms of identification and proof of residence listed on either and/or both DMV and SS websites.

Not just the three-page yellowed and fragile proof of human birth even though in another country, but also a 1099 showing my SS# as well as my current address, my insurance cards, my bank account ATM card, a checkbook with my name printed on it, my marriage license (to demonstrate the change from “B” to “T” more than 40 years ago), my SSA letter from January showing how much I’d paid into my SS account over the years (under any and all names), and my county tax assessor’s bill for 2010 addressed to me right here on the ‘stead. Oh. And I printed out my full voter’s registration and status page from the state Board of Elections, since I have been a duly registered and currently active voter since 1992.

Got to the desk at the SS office and the lady informed me that my expired state driver’s license wouldn’t prove who I am, and I needed a current one in order to change the name on my SS card. Here’s your catch-22. I need the ‘right’ name on my SS card to get a state ID, but I need a state ID to change the SS card. ARRRRRRRRGH!!!!!

Birth certificate isn’t acceptable ID. Marriage license isn’t acceptable ID. Bank account isn’t acceptable ID. Tax notices and/or returns and/or forms are not acceptable ID. Voter’s registration isn’t acceptable ID. Insurance card, ATM (with picture), phone card, business card, nada. Zip, zilch, no form of ID that I actually have is good enough to prove I exist. In short, I do not exist. Worse, I cannot be MADE to exist. Unless, as the SS lady told me, I can get a judge at the courthouse to buy my various forms of non-official ID so he’ll let me change my name ‘officially’ to something the state and federal governments will accept. At considerable cost, time and trouble, I might add, not to mention the bribe. The SS lady did say, however, that if I could provide some medical records not more than 2 years old those would work. Think about that for a moment… my insurance card won’t prove who I am, but some chart from some doctor’s office will? When was the last time you had to provide ‘official’ documentation (not insurance ID) to a doctor in order to pay for medical care? Last time I did it was 1974 when hubby was still in the Navy and I got my tubes tied at the Naval Hospital in Charleston. I have not been to a doctor for at least a dozen years, anyway. Don’t like ’em one little bit since I had to sue 5 of ’em for murdering my son…

Meanwhile, I am not NOT ‘officially’ married, which makes my children and grandchildren NOT ‘official’ and they’ll all have to take my maiden name. Heck, it invalidates my adoption of three children a judge DID sign off on a dozen years ago!!! It makes my bank account NOT ‘official’. It invalidates my insurance. Etc., etc., etc. And I cannot remedy any of it unless I can convince some grumpy judge to let me be who I am and have always been. Otherwise, I do not exist.

So I guess Mom is just going to have to die without me. Or (more likely), I’ll have to submit to the TSA anal probe some more in order to get a crummy puddle-jumper to West Arkansas Regional Airport. Or maybe I’ll just drive instead. Hey, I don’t exist. How could they ever bust me? And by the way, if I don’t exist the government – both state and federal – owes me a whole lot of money I’ve paid in over the years to that number that no longer counts to make me a real human being.

Hmmm… Think I’ll go ahead and demand my money back in the meantime. I could be earning interest on it in my non-‘official’ bank account while they sort it all out.

Can you tell that I’m absolutely livid? Daughter had to shut me up at the SS office when I told the lady that if I was going to have to get a judge to change my name, I might as well be “Jihadi Joy” (JJ for short)! She’s expecting the FBI at any moment, but I’ve got my shotgun right here. I’m thinking about joining the revolution. This is bullshit times a thousand…

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    • Joy B. on April 22, 2010 at 10:38 pm
      Author

    just going back to the Philippines. They actually have a public health care system. Daughter reminded me that such a move would require a passport. Which I can’t get because I do not exist. So I told her that all I have to do is make enough noise about all this crap, and they’ll deport me. They pay for transport and I don’t need a passport…

  1. officially from the USSA and now you tell me how that is a bad thing, a huge pain in the ass.  It is an excellent story for the 911/New World Order crowd but I won’t use it without your permission.

  2. finding himself a cockroach. Americans better be careful; when they wake up it may be too late.

    I just want to say that I’m thinking of you. I’m no stranger to the Twilight Zone.  

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