I called Iowa Workforce Development late last week and by happy coincidence Anna the Angel answered the phone.
I called because I wanted to double-check that my benefits were on track to arrive on time.
This was more a triple or quadruple check. The first few times I called with questions on my benefits, I got into a verbal shouting match with a robot answering machine.
I followed that by a useless encounter with an unemployment office employee who seemed most interested in not answering calls from the public.
This series of frustration eventually landed me in the care of Anna, who seemed to give a damn whether or not I got my benefits.
She worked out some kinks in the paperwork and sure enough, benefits arrived. Another bureaucratic wrinkle meant I would wait two weeks to receive a check rather than the customary one.
That inspired me to call the unemployment office. You’ll forgive me if I’m skeptical of the agency’s ability to get things right.
Anna checked and to no one’s surprise, there was a problem. Apparently, somebody tried to file for unemployment benefits under my name.
Identity theft isn’t a new problem. I’ve lost track of the number of letters telling me my data has been compromised or text messages from my credit union telling me somebody tried to use a debit card in my name in a place I’ve never been.
I often joke that if someone is serious about stealing my identity, they’re welcome to it.
They can deal with the obesity, the mental health issues, the aches and pains, near-constant self-doubt, and the bird poop on the hood of my big black car.
Heck, if somebody stole my identity, my credit score would probably go up.
The upshot is that Anna the Angel of the unemployment office is on the case. She alerted the fraud department. The downside: I might not get paid on time. Again.
This adds stress to a stressful time. I’m 45 years old trying to learn a completely different career coming off a spectacular failure in my last job and getting my job cut at the one place I invested more of my heart and talent than anywhere else.
Restrictions on cash flow tighten the grip around the throat like Darth Vader force-choking an Imperial admiral.
But I chose to look at it another way.
Somewhere out there, there’s a fake me. They’re trying, at least for the benefit of a few hundred bucks, to pretend to be Daniel P. Finney.
I don’t know what Fake Finney was doing Sunday.
But OG Finney (that’s “original gangster” for my older readers) finished his linguistics homework. He fixed a few of his toys that needed glued. Finney finally retrieved one of the Millennium Falcon models and a Spider-Man figure that had fallen behind his bookshelves in the bedroom.
OG Finney picked up the new Taylor Swift CD, her remake of “Fearless.” Her voice flowed out of his car speakers like an enchantment as he drove about the metro with his windows down on a postcard-perfect day with periwinkle skies.
OG Finney ate a burger and fries from B-Bop’s in Clive. He sat on a bench by the trail with the sun on his arms and the breeze across his bald head.
He stopped by Snookies for a twist cone in a dish and played a few more songs off that Taylor Swift CD.
He got home and watched TV shows where things blow up and the good guys win.
He feel asleep reading a Conan the Barbarian comic book.
Whatever swindles Fake Finney was up to on Sunday and whatever hassles that may lead to for OG Finney, the real me, it’s all trivial in the end.
Sunday was a good day.
Daniel P. Finney writes columns for ParagraphStacker.com, a free, reader-supported website. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I continue writing while I pursue my master’s degree and teacher certification.
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