This week I got a letter from UT’s financial aid office telling me that my desperate plea for free money was stalled since my social security number on my student file didn’t match the one on my application.
I made some phone calls, found out who had it wrong, and I am in the works of getting it fixed so that I get get some money for the love of all that’s good in life.
This minor fiasco, however, reminded me that my social security number and I have a bit of a history.
When I turned fifteen and a half and was attempting to get my driver’s permit, the DMV turned me away because I didn’t have a social security card. My parents didn’t know where it might be, so I had to fill out a bunch of forms and have a new one sent to me.
I waited on pins and needles since I was so so so so so so anxious to be able to drive and that little piece of paper was all that was holding me back.
Finally, it showed up in the mail. I tore the envelope open, pulled out the card and saw in horror that they’d misspelled my name. It said “Jansseb.”
But the “b” was right over the seal, so it wasn’t particularly noticeable unless you were really looking closely.
As anyone who knows me could tell you, I like to live on the edge (everyone who knows me just died of laughter), so I figured I’d go back to the DMV, not mention the unfortunate spelling and see if they would let it slide.
They did. I got my permit and the DMV (not exactly known for hiring the cream of the crop) didn’t seem to notice the misspelled name. My name was spelled right on my license and all was well with the world.
I didn’t think about it again until four years later when, at BYU, I got my first on-campus job. I had to take my social security card into the main office in order to get cleared for direct deposit (or something boring like that). I was minding my own business at the counter, waiting for the guy to make copies, when he suddenly said “does this say ‘Jansseb’?”
Oh, did my heart sink into my shoes.
“Well,” he told me, “in order for you to get paid, all your BYU records need to match your social security card. Those are the rules.”
And thus it was that all my records at BYU were changed and my name was, on every role, every pay stub, every official document, Jansseb.
Clearly, I sent in immediately for a new version of my social security card and got all my records changed back, but it was an unfortunate few weeks where teachers kept asking me if my real name was “Jansseb” and my whole office, who heard the story, called me by new and improved name (by which I mean the most heinous name ever).
And then, only seven months later, I got married, so I had to get a whole new social security card. The new one said Janssen. Thank goodness.
(By the way, if you ever try to call me “Jansseb,” I’ll be forced to give you a death glare. I wouldn’t risk it, if I were you).