October 2014: All in a name

Many of you will be surprised, but I found out today that the government doesn’t know who I am. If you are screaming YEEHAW and want to know how I did it, just follow the instructions below. I have reverse-engineered them since I really didn’t know what I did, until it was all over. Always remember, it helps if you act like you don’t really know what you’re doing.

You just need to confuse the government and specifically the Social Security Administration, not the DMV, the DOD, the DOI or the IRS. And shockingly, it’s not that hard to do. It’s just a matter of paperwork.

A: You’ll need to change your name on your Social Security card, repeatedly, over several years. Remember patience is a virtue, so get some.

B: Changing your name on your card is easy. You marry, you blend your collective names, he takes yours, you take his, you divorce, you do it all over again . . . at least twice is good. All your old marriage and divorce certificates are great for this one.

C: You decide you don’t really like your middle name and you change it. This works well because you’re not changing your last or first names. I’ve done this, oh . . . at least four times. Yes, all of them had to do with vanity, but none of them rendered me an NBE—non-biological entity—to the Social Security Administration until the last permutation.

I added a second middle name and put a hyphen in between the first and the second one. So instead of Barbara Katherine, I was Barbara Katherine-Hillary. Which has nothing to do with that Hillary.
Anyway, it was the hyphen that gummed up the works. The computer system freaks out over hyphens, so the computer dumped my hyphen between Hillary and Cohea, giving me an entirely new last name, which even I didn’t know existed.

D: There are lots of problems with this, but the one I was interested in was getting a new social security card because I’d lost the old one. I had to physically go to their office and bring two items, but not from the same category, off a menu of different choices showing the exact same name and a picture. The expired passport, the current driver’s license, electric bills, a 1976 official college transcript, old W-2s, all reading Barbara Katherine Cohea.

I needed a card, but the sign over the clerk’s desk read, YOU MAY NOT — USE A BIRTH CERTIFICATE AS IDENTIFICATION. Because it doesn’t have a picture on it, that’s why! There went the back-up plan! I pleaded, I begged. She said I had to use my birth name, Barbara Kay Cohea, which I know is not right. I thought it better not to tell her that. I told her about the hyphen problem instead. Nope, this was governmental agent payback time. She insisted I change other . . . stuff at other offices. I . . . don’t think so. I’m keeping Barbara Katherine and now I know who they think I am, and I’ve got a card. What could be the problem? Clever!


For more humor, visit www.BarbaraCohea.com or barbaracohea@gmail.com .