So, you think your life is “interesting”? Part 3

I was educated as an engineer, and I have spent the last 29 years trying to be one (full disclosure: since I am being laid off just two months short of 30 years with the same company, I am evidently not a very good one). So, I would much rather find out how this story ends before publicizing any of it. I would much rather show a long and convincing list of great decisions, fabulous insight, and comprehensive analysis. This story I am sharing is so far out of my comfort zone, I’m not on the dark side of the moon, I am in a different galaxy.

I was attending a meeting at church this past Friday night when my wife’s sister came by for a “visit.” When I got home (I was gone all of two hours), the sister-in-law had taken the daughter and the grandson with her. You see, “Meathead” (father of grandson, with apologies to Rob Reiner) is coming into town, and since he’s not welcome under my roof, the sister-in-law is, once again, providing the daughter with an alternative. This same thing happened this past Christmas. Ho hum. No good-bye, no nothing.

Now, I can appreciate that the daughter is letting me off fairly easily. I mean, no yelling, no shouting, nothing broken, no threats. And, at one time (not so long ago), I would be tempted to join toss the first (verbal) punch. But, I have learned that nothing, and I do mean absolutely nothing I have ever said gets through to her. So, why bother?

For example:

Any piece of paper with our name on it gets shredded. Given the amount of junk mail we get (who pays for that crap?), we shred a lot. So, it was with some surprise that, while adding something to the recycle bin on the curb recently, that I saw the first page of the daughter’s federal tax return – quite complete and intact – on the top of the heap. Complete with name and social security number; I think her address was there, too; but I froze at seeing the SSN. How can a young 20-something not know anything about “PII” (Personally Identifiable Information)? Has she never heard about “identity theft”? How can that be? I’m old enough to remember when my SSN was used for my employee identification number as well as my bank account number – and I thought that was asinine (considering that the SSN card stated that the SSN was not to be used for identification, I thought it was also illegal).

It would be one thing for someone to paste together the little bits and come up with that info (yes, we use a cross-cut shredder), but to hand a dumpster-diver the entire first page of a tax return? Makes me wonder and fear for her.

I did the only thing any decent human being would do: I took it inside and ran it thru the shredder.

The question (rhetorical) is: Should I come over to her side and stop shredding? Should I throw my own values to the wind and become more socially fashionable? Yeah, like that’s gonna happen (I’m sure many others have said that, but I always think of Ashley Johnson in “What Women Want”).

Last night, somebody called somebody; I had already gone to bed. My wife comes in, holding her smart phone. The sister-in-law is chatting, but the screen is showing the grandson. Been all of three days since I had seen him last; how he had gotten so much cuter in that time I don’t know. Anyway, the daughter didn’t skeedadle and cut us off from her kid. Proof of hope?

On the other hand, today she wants to borrow the car to go pick up Meathead at the airport. As my wife said, at least they aren’t staying with us. Yet.

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