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I just want a social insurance number!

My son Sean is 15 years old. He and his friend Kevin are now preparing themselves for the workforce. Upon applying for a part-time job at St. Hubert’s in Scarborough they are told that Sean requires a social insurance number. They are directed to the Scarborough Town Centre office where it will be necessary to fill out the required paperwork.

The boys stood in the first line up to collect the necessary forms; this line up took 30 minutes to navigate. After receiving the required forms the boys are directed to another counter to fill them out. After committing to paper all the information Sean has at his disposal, the boys join yet another line up.

This one is excessively long and filled to capacity with some very testy and frustrated people (having also worked their way through the other two line ups). Finally, after almost an hour of waiting and shuffling from foot to foot and alternating turns for breaks, the boys reach the front wicket. Once there, they explain the desire of their new employer to have Sean secure a social insurance number.

The administrator behind the wicket assures Sean that he is in the right place and begins to review the pertinent information. The clerk reads out Sean’s full name, address and telephone number. His age and the place he was born…all as confirmation.

“What is your mother’s name?”

“Sandra McLellan,” responds Sean.

“No, that name is not showing up. Could there be another name your mother goes by?”

Sean’s friend Kevin pipes in. “Well, what was your mothers other married name?”

“Oh,” says Sean a little flustered “Doyle…Sandra Doyle”.

“No, sorry, that name isn’t showing up either,” replies the clerk

By this time the frustration level and impatience of the people lined-up (which has now increased exponentially) waiting for their turn, are looking downright scary!

With a little less patience himself the clerk continues his query. “Could there be another name your mother goes by?”

“Clarke is my name…so try under Clarke” says Sean

“No,” says the clerk, “that was the first name I looked under, for exactly that reason.”

Somebody in the line-up mutters a rather derogatory remark, adding anger to Sean’s already red face. Doing his best to keep Sean cooled out and focused, his buddy Kevin suggests a new tactic. “Sean, all the last names you’ve given were your mothers married names, but she must have had her own name before she ever married any of her husbands!”

“Yes, of course,” replied Sean. “I think my moms’ maiden name was Power, like my grandfather Alex?”

“No…sorry, she’s still not coming up under that name either,” responds the clerk.

“Well I give up. I’m completely out of names!” stammers Sean, in complete disgust! 

“Well it’s about bloody time,” comments another disgruntled client, even further down the line-up…

“Wait a minute, wait just a minute…try Price!” exclaims Sean, hopefully.

“BINGO,” announces the clerk with great bravado! Causing the entire line-up to break into spontaneous applause, accompanied by exuberant cheers!

Sean and Kevin take the appropriate bows, deferring also to the clerk behind the wicket to do the same. With deft speed and competency, the administrator completes Sean’s transaction and sends him and Kevin happily on their way!

As the boys leave the wicket, a few of the men still lined-up, give the boys the customary ‘we understand buddy and feel for you’ back slapping. A very male bonding type ritual it would seem.

 “I believe in large families: every woman should have at least three husbands”     Zsa Zsa Gabor 

This is my story and I’m sipping it!