Bill Kirby

Online news editor for The Augusta Chronicle.

Wife prevents identity theft

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Victory goes to the player who makes the next to last mistake.

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-- Savielly Tartakower

Most of us are scared to death these days about identity theft. We have good reason, and here’s why.

I was cleaning up after my wife, and I had finished the annual income tax document collection extravaganza and found some boxes in the back of the closet chock full of old tax records.

“Do we need any of this stuff from the 1980s?” I asked my bride, who was actually not my bride during the Reagan years.

“No,” she said. “You can destroy it.”

I ambled toward a trash can with my box and she shrieked.

“You have to shred it!” she said in the voice one would use to announce a hotel fire.

“Why?” I asked somewhat irritably.

Your information is all over that stuff.”

I looked closer at the pieces of paper in the boxes and realized she was right.

Not only was there page after page of monthly credit card reports, not only were there tax forms with my Social Security number stamped all over them, but there were checks. Canceled checks.

Many of them had my Georgia driver’s license number on them. You remember that, don’t you? Up until a few years ago, your Georgia driver license number was your Social Security number.

It took about an hour to fill two shredder buckets with all my old checks.

And do you know what the best part was? Reading all those old power bills and phone bills and cable TV bills and gasoline credit card bills and laughing to myself about how cheap stuff used to be.

It was a simpler time, but was it a better time? Of course not.

For one thing, I didn’t have a wife around to remind me of stuff.

FEB. 29: I’ve got friends born on Christmas Day; co-workers born on the Fourth of July, but I’ve never worked with anyone born on Feb. 29, the Leap Year day.

Wednesday is again one of those special dates, and Jane Cole, of Beech Island, said her son Greg, who was born at University Hospital Feb. 29, 1960, will get a rare chance to celebrate. Usually he has to settle for Feb. 28, she said.

PUZZLE ANSWER: Congrat­ulations to the many clever readers who figured out Friday’s riddle: “What can be driven, but has no wheels? And can be sliced, and still remain whole?” The answer: A golf ball.

TODAY’S JOKE: Everett Fernandez tells of the husband who returned home from work, walked into the kitchen and teased his wife about her lack of housekeeping.

“You know, dear,” he said, “I can write my name in the dust on the mantel.”

“Yes, darling, I know,” she answered sweetly. “That’s why I married a college graduate.

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