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  • Dan Rattiner

Blind and DeaD

Updated: Mar 13


A friend of mine told me this story as we were enjoying our appetizers at a local restaurant earlier this evening.

“My mother is elderly and went to the doctor a month ago. He examined her and told her she was legally blind. Then she drove home.

"Two weeks later, she got a letter from the State informing her that her driver’s license had been revoked. What had happened was that her doctor had sent a letter to Motor Vehicle.

“She called him up and really balled him out. This was a violation of her privacy. She had rights. I heard it all. Mom was on speaker phone. The doctor told her that people in other cars have rights too. Like not being killed.”

When the main course arrived, she told me another story.

“I had my own trouble with my driver’s license. It got me declared dead. I was just moving from Massachusetts to the Hamptons. But when my driver’s license came up for renewal, I renewed it in Massachusetts. It seemed easier. That same week, I started having all my mail forwarded to the Hamptons. Turns out that Motor Vehicle doesn’t allow its mail to be forwarded it. So when they mailed me my new driver’s license, the post office in Massachusetts, knowing this rule, sent it back to sender. And Massachusetts Motor Vehicle then sent it to Social Security which, also following the rules, declared me dead.

“I didn’t know this at the time of course. But one day I had to go to the Social Security Office, which is in Riverhead and waited two hours to learn I was dead. I told them I wasn’t and they said I’d have to prove it.

“This went on awhile and I got a little agitated, but soon together the Social Security lady and I backtracked into the computer to find out that Motor Vehicle had done it. So the Social Security lady, seeing me in the flesh and blood filled out a lot of forms declaring me alive but, as it turned out, as Social Security is a kind of octopus, she missed mailing that information to several parts of the octopus.

“So I still get notices from some lingering divisions of social security declaring me dead.”

My friend cut into her steak.

“Sometimes I don’t know if I’m coming or going.”

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