It’s been a month now, and I’m not in jail. You can hear the message by clicking on the video link above (really, it’s worth a listen), or I can tell you what it said:
Attention! This call is from the legal department of the Social Security Administration. Your Social Security number has been suspended, and we have filed a case under your name. So, before this matter goes to federal claims courthouse for you to get arrested, kindly press 1, because FBI also involved in your case. So, I repeat, press 1 to know about your legal case.
I did not press 1, but I find myself checking the rearview mirror for unmarked Crown Victorias following too closely or men in black with earpieces and talking into their wrists. Maybe the federal claims courthouse has a backlog of cases or is processing the cases of those who pressed 1. In any event, I remain a free person.
The call came from the Solomon Islands, phone number 677-75. Maybe I should have wondered why the legal department of the Social Security Administration calls from the Solomon Islands. I Googled “federal claims courthouse,” and the closest I could find is the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., but there is nothing on their website about suspended Social Security numbers.
I don’t want to let my guard down, but the call may have been spam. I might not have avoided jail by pressing 1.
P.T. Barnum is quoted as saying, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” My cynical self, my proud self who thinks he’d never press 1, feels little sympathy for suckers. Those who believe their friends’ social media posts about the real stories. Those who are persuaded to vote based on the story a robocall tells. Those who give out their credit card numbers and believe it’s the tech department from Microsoft asking for access to your computer. I have little sympathy for suckers.
I have little sympathy for suckers, but then the Bible reminds me I am one. Like a Ninevite who doesn’t know his left hand from his right, like a foolish person who tears down some perfectly good barns with plans to build bigger barns, like the self-satisfied suburbanite or rich young ruler who thinks this is the best life now, I am a sucker. I believe the lie. Fear and ambition snare me.
The rich young ruler was a sucker. He had pressed 1 to get it all now. But Jesus did not mock him for being a sucker, believing the lie. Jesus looked at him and loved him, Mark 10:21tells us. He told him how to free himself from the lie, the snare, that had entrapped him. And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
Jesus saves suckers. Like me. I may not press 1 very often, but I believe the lie. I’m more inclined to riches on earth than treasure in heaven. Oh, I want to follow Jesus, so long as he allows my camel through the eye of the needle.
Jesus saves suckers.