your so-called social security

When I looked at our bank account last night for the umpteenth time before going to bed, I was ecstatic to see the Covid-19 recovery money had been deposited by the guvmint. Ecstatic for us – and for the guvmint as well. I told Pretty yesterday if we didn’t get the money by today, someone was going to hear from me. (As if the guvmint would be very afraid of a call from me.) Since her nonessential antique empire is shut down without any protest from us, we really are very thankful to have unexpected deposits. I remembered a post about other guvmint checks I published here in January, 2015.  

One of the most popular country singers and songwriters, Merle Haggard, wrote one of my favorite songs, Big City, with lyrics that are much more meaningful to me in 2015 than they were in 1981 when I first heard it. “Gimme all I’ve got coming to me…and keep your retirement and your so-called Social Security.  Big City, turn me loose and set me free.”

Yep, in 1981 I was thirty-five years old and the owner of a very small CPA firm that had a growing clientele with low overhead.  How small was very small? That would be one person: me. I had been working full-time since 1967, was in robust health – full of piss and vinegar – with visions of acquiring great wealth through hard work and perseverance in America, the land of equal opportunity.  Retirement?  Social Security?  Bah, humbug.  Irrelevant and unimportant, but I paid my Social Security taxes along with everyone else.

Fast forward to 2008, the year I turned sixty-two years old. My robust health became more of a pisser than vinegar, which forced me to retire much earlier than I had planned,  long before acquiring great wealth. I had worked for forty-one years in a variety of jobs with numbers as their primary common denominator; I had made both good and bad career moves in those years but was moderately successful in the good years while being financially challenged in the lean ones.

Regardless of the triumphs and tragedies in my working life, I continued to pay my income taxes plus Social Security taxes every year along with everyone else in America. When I became disabled at age sixty-two, I began to receive my retirement benefits from the Social Security Administration. Because my prospects for acquiring great wealth looked slimmer than my prospects for acquiring great weight, I’m afraid I couldn’t sing along with Merle who apparently didn’t want his Social Security.

I’m happy to have mine – happy to be on the receiving end of what I paid into for more than forty years. Thanks Merle, but gimme all I got coming to me including my so-called Social Security, and then Big City, turn me loose and set me free.


Stay safe, stay sane and stay tuned. Seriously, my friends. Please do.

About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, photography, politics, racism, Random, Reflections, sexism, Slice of Life, sports, The Way Life Is and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to your so-called social security

  1. Luanne says:

    Congrats on getting your check. I’m mystified by all this. How do they know where to put the money? Is it because of social security? I’m trying to figure out about the $600 /week unemployment rumor/fairy tale, too. It’s all a lot of work. And anxiety. Luckily I received a bottle of wine today from my friend Carla. Sort of a Coronavirus national poetry month thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Did you not get a cheque signed by Agent Orange?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ranch Chimp says:

    Good posting! Social Security is one of the best things in America (not too much left these dayz), but they are trying to tell younger folks (like my kids and grandkids), that it’s a ponze scheme or whatever, and selling them the big dreams of making alot more by investing savings (folks can’t save much these dayz) … the whole thing is to privatize it, and whenever there is a market crash or crisis, you lose … too long story. The whole thing about neoliberal economics (has nothing to do with socially “liberal”), is to privatize every single thing, and they have been very successful over the last 4 decades at doing it, they even want USPS, they took our freewayz with tollwayz too. BTW … alwayz liked Merle’s song, when I was reading this, I started singing it (but of course didn’t mean it) {:-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi and thanks so very much for your thoughtful response to my post on social security which has been a lifeline for me and millions of other folks.
      As for privatization, I was working as a CPA in the 1970s when the IRA was invented to give people a chance to “invest” their own retirement personally and do away with company pensions – supposedly to allow Americans to take control of their own financial futures. I knew then, as I know now, that was a mistake of gigantic consequences. But my younger family and friends can’t wait to escape the “burden” of FICA and spending money on old people. As Butch Cassiday once said, boy I got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals. Stay safe and sane.


  4. ranch chimp says:

    Yes Sheila, I remember the start of the persoanl retirement stuff, brought back fond memories too. I was a kid back then (registered to vote in 1974, when I registered for the draft), I was too young to see what was happening, and didn’t even see any of this coming, or the corporate takeover, etc. … frankly Sheila, we’re being taken for a ride, by neoliberalism these dayz, too long story, but I point out this in my blog also … grew up as a street kid, and know when I’m getting the “bite”. See you’re from Texas, I first lived in Houston, in the 1970’s, today I live in Dallas. I see you’re an “actual” writer {:-), credit to you on your book writing, and your contributions to the LGBT movement. My wife, my daughters, and myself, alwayz been strong supporters of LGBT rights, that’s just how we raised our daughters, my wife and I were attending gay weddings (not legally contractual) back when no one was hardly talking about it … I was so young and dumb, I actually thought gay marriage was legal (of course, it alwayz should have been). I myself am not an actual writer, just have this blog, never wrote a damn thing actually, besides letters {:-) Take Care of you and yours too, Sheila

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind words of support as a straight ally of the LGBTmovement. Your daughters are very lucky to have had you and your wife as parents.
      Also I appreciate your calling me an “actual” writer – sometimes I wonder!
      Never underestimate the power of your blog. That makes you an “actual” writer in my “book.”
      You take care, also.


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