Those wacky bastards at the social security administration sent me my yearly social security statement today, and it’s a real eye opener, I tell ya.
For instance, during the 1980s I lived on an average of $8,107.60 a year. It’s really quite disheartening to see your working life summed up in quaint little numbers like that.
These listings go back to 1977, when I left home late in the year to prove how bitchin’ I was, and made a whopping $526. But you know, that’s 526 1977 dollars! Probably worth $1500 or so now (actually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator, it’s $1624.62 in 2003 dollars).
But I’m far too enthralled with numbers and statistics and databases and order these days. I don’t think I was like that in 1988, 1995, 1997 and 2001, when I had $0 of “Taxed Social Security Earnings.”
But I found the internet in 1994 (and earned $369 that year – boo yah!), and it’s been a long, slow slide down the slippery sewer pipe of useless information ever since.
So, there it is, staring me in the face. 27 years in and out of the work force, about $300,000 in (and quickly out of) my pocket, and not a hell of a lot to show for it.
Why we piss away our strongest years grunting and groaning for people who wouldn’t wipe their asses with us is a mysterious and ugly question. One we don’t really want the answer to, because most of us are still on the losing end of that equation, with no exit in sight.
No pension for a McDonald’s cook or a dot com code jockey, no rest for us down the road, brothers and sisters, just more of the same until they wheel us out to the garden to be buried under someone else’s geraniums.
Most of us, anyway. I’m sure there’s someone reading this who banks a four or five grand a week and has a quarter million maintaining steady growth in conservative mutual funds, but I’m not talking to you, Poindexter.
And you’re not really in a much better position than I am, standing here with $2,935.66 in the bank and a stack of bills somewhere under all this paper and random junk.
We live on a thin edge, and all the money in Silicon Valley won’t buy you another second of life when your number is up, so enjoy yourself now.
Go have yourself a couple of those “$0 Taxed Social Security Earnings” years. Take it from me, they are good for the soul, and life is short.