"Three Who Came Back!" Is it a thrilling tale of espionage and escape from behind the Iron Curtain? A mysterious epic concerning those who have died and come back with amazing stories? Or is it some kind of government informational booklet designed to deliver basic citizenship facts to people who, well, let's just say they need lots of pictures when they read? Let's find out!

If you've got a minute to spare, let Solid Businessman Type tell you three very short stories. Once upon a time the captain of the baseball team was also president of the junior class and helping out around the family farm. One day, he said, "Gee Dad, every time you shoot a revenue agent or a rival moonshiner it means more work for me! When are we going to get that backhoe?" Dad just smiled.

Then one day Fred's dad died. Could happen to any of us at any time. Think about it. What are you doing with your precious time here on Earth? Wasting it with some dumb website that makes fun of old comic books? Is that what you want on your tombstone? "Here Lies Bob; He Sure Loved to Laugh At Those Stupid Comics!" Sure brings the meaninglessness and ultimate futility of singular human existence into sharp focus, doesn't it?

Okay. Sorry about that. Got existential there for a minute. Won't happen again. Now let's get back to Fred. Fred! Quit school Fred! That white lightnin' isn't going to distill itself! There's thirsty hayseeds out there!

Fred had nobody to turn to... HE WAS ALONE.

"Fred! Hey, Fred!"


"Social security? That's for... ugh... OLD FOLKS, isn't it? UGH! NO THANKS!

Wait a minute, did you say "benefits" and "paid" and "family" in that sentence? Together? Hold on now!

Walking out of that office with a big fat check for $255 and a monthly payment of $200 and what's that, Mom? Rent the farm and move to town? Shouldn't we have done that in the first place?

"Fred could have saved himself a lot of heartache if he had inquired at the local Social Security office promptly after his father's death. Just drop in right after the funeral next time. It'll save you a lot of heartache! And by "a lot" I mean "a teeny tiny bit that you won't even miss compared to the actual heartache of losing a loved one!"

And now some fun facts about Social Security.

Did you know that there are a lot of Social Security cards and if you laid them end to end, it would be really long? Because there are a lot of them! Did you know every worker has to have one, even famous people like Elvis, Richard Nixon, and your mom back when she was young? It's true!

And now on with exciting story number two! This one we like to call... "Bloody Nightmare Of Violent Horror Castle."

No, wait, this one's called "The Smart Aleck". It's about two guys interviewing for a job and one of them is a wiseass who could probably use a punch in the snoot. Sorry about that "Bloody Nightmare" stuff earlier.

"Hustle it Joe! Write faster! Just ignore that part about prior convictions - I did! Write faster now!"

Smart Aleck Bowtie Rex gets first crack at the sweet job action while Joe stews in his own juices. "Won't that smart aleck ever stop talking in there? Also, is he hitting on me?"

"I don't stand a chance next to that bow-tied dynamo. Anyway working for Barry Goldwater here would probably be really boring. And... did that guy just hit on me again?"

"That guy is DEFINITELY hitting on me. This is getting weird."

Well, the good news is that Joe has the job! The bad news is that he's going to be working next to Mister Smart Aleck who talks a mile a minute and keeps telling Joe that Joe "has what it takes." I can see Joe's going to find working with Smart Aleck Rex a real interesting experience. Yeeoww!

But Rex doesn't have his Social Security card! No job for Rex! Now Joe can... wait Joe, what are you doing? Telling Rex what he needs to do to quickly get a replacement Social Security card? Do you WANT to work with this winky motor-mouth?

Remember to keep the stub when you get your Social Security card and that way if you ever lose your Social Security card, you can get a new one issued, just in time to find out about all the amazing identity theft that went on when your lost Social Security card was found by somebody on the street. Best to keep the stub AND the card safe at home, except when applying for jobs or making new friends while applying for jobs. Keep that stub!

And now more fun Social Security facts!

Tired of your pa or grandpa constantly parroting Fox News "talking points" about the evils of our wealth-redistributive welfare state? Explain to them the three out of four times they can visit their Social Security offices to pick up big fat free-money checks! I'm sure after collecting their first Social Security checks, they'll wait two or three whole minutes before getting right back to the complaining.

and now our third story, one of romance, heartbreak, and, of course, big fat free-money checks.

"This is it! Good-by to my dream! My dream of Dad working! All I ever dreamed about was Dad's continued employment, and now it's gone!"

No, wait, it's a dream of getting married, of dancing with Dan and making happy little small talk about the wedding, happy little small talk that was not at all filled with foreshadowing.

"In June you will be a married lady. You will come here, and I will wait on you, and I'll whistle tunelessly all the time, and you can see for yourself how TOTALLY ANNOYING IT IS, JAnet."

But Dad's illness means the money needed for the gigantic traditional American Wedding-Industrial-Complex Marriage is no longer there. No rented tuxes, no $100 floral centerpieces on every table, no catered rehearsal dinner, no matching bridal party dresses, no open bar at the reception, no giant piece of cake for Bobby! WON'T SOMEBODY THINK ABOUT BOBBY?!

But it's Janet's boss to the rescue. You see, in his former country which, how you say, is in Europe, there is such a thing as, how you call it, universal healthcare, which is to be meaning the doctors and medical bills are all covered by various government social insurance plans, and... well, sorry, this is America. Maybe we have some Social Security disability benefits for you.


"By the way Miss Bailey, if this works out the way I hope it will, don't forget to come back in June after you're married and register your new name. Yes we know all about your personal plans. We know EVERYTHING here at the Social Security Office. Never try to lie to us, Janet. There is no escape."

And Janet's dream came true and she was able to experience the happiest day of her life, her wedding day, which was immediately followed by her most crushing disappointment, which was her wedding night. But Social Security can't help you with that, sorry.

And that's the end of Solid Businessman's last Social Security Story, which he's able to tell us because it turns out he's the guy working in the Social Security office who handled all their cases! On the other hand he ISN'T really able to tell us these stories because, as the guy working on their cases, revealing personal information to the public would be an egregious breach of trust and probably a criminal violation. See you in court, four-eyes.

Death? KA-CHING$$!! Hospitalization? KA-CHING$$!! Keeping your card in a safe place and filing the stub away for later? Future KA-CHING$$!! Spilling your life misery to your case worker so he can use it in a free comic book later? KA-CHING$$!! Want to know more, or have some juicy gossip to spill? Ready ears are waiting at your nearest Social Security office.