By The Urban Blabbermouth
The Social Security Administration sent me an estimate of my retirement benefits. I did not request it. Maybe the nice folks in my Company's HR Department requested it on my behalf. Maybe the thoughtful folks at Social Security randomly selected me or maybe the old folks AARP arranged for it as one of their recruiting strategies. I just don't know.
Included was a Statement Of Earnings, every dollar I ever made from my first year of work to last year's pay. My economic biography in black and white.
In my first year of work, and I shall not mention what year that was, I made $704. I was a teenager then and I was working at McDonald's Hamburger Restaurant. McDonald's back then was the biggest employer of teenagers in the world. My father saw a hiring sign as he drove by the McDonald's. He pushed me to go and apply, "Get a job, my beloved son!" That's how parents are, always training their kids to work hard and do well for themselves.
I remember the job interview. The manager asked the usual hiring questions: Where do you go to school? What are your grades? What do you want to be when you grow up? The last question was, "A customer's bill comes to $1.47 and he gives you $2.00. How much change would you give back?"
I stumbled on this question for a while and finally told him, "Fifty-three cents."
He said, "Good, but you will have to do that faster. We will teach you how to count up. Come back next Tuesday to fill out paperwork."
Yippeee, on my way to millions.
I remember my first McDonald's pay check. I was expecting tons of money and I kept imagining of all the things I would buy. When I got the check, I was shocked. It was half what I expected. I went to see that manager and complained that there was a mistake.
He took my check, looked it over, and said, "No it's right," and handed it back to me.
I said, "No it's too little. Something is not right. It should be..." and I named some number.
He looked me straight in the face and said, "Nooo, it's right. You don't get the full pay. You have to pay taxes and other deductions."
I took the check from him, cashed it, but I felt cheated and disappointed. It's been like that ever since.