August 10, 2006

In Which I Do Crime (Autumn Wins)

So. Quite some time ago [looking at the peperwork, I discovered this happened almost a year ago, actually], I got a very stern letter from the social security office. They said, and here I freely paraphrase:


When you got married, Lo! These thirteen years ago, you never filled out ANAL RETENTIVE FORM 98423821691B, indicating your name change. SO! Your DRIVER'S LICENSE says your married name, but your social security number is forever bound to the the name JOSHILYN JACKSON.

Due to terrorists, the state of Georgia can't have you wandering around loose with ONE name on your driver's license and another on your social security card as marriage without name changing has definitely been linked to WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. Good women, you understand, take their husband's name PROPERLY. Via FORMS.


Don't think for a red second we won't. Because we will. Dude. We mean it.

You cannot mail ANAL RETENTIVE FORM 98423821691B. You cannot fill out ANAL RETENTIVE FORM 98423821691B online. Rest assured, fixing this will take four hours of sitting in a government office that smells like feet. Thank you notes for the pleasurable afternoon you will spend fixing your 13 year old error we never cared two figs about (until we realized the link between maiden names and suicide bombings) may be sent general post to THE PATRIOT ACT, c/o Your Helpful Federal Government.

Man Who WILL Attempt to Ruin Your Life Later

So. What did I do? I'll tell you.

I took my law abiding soccer-momming PTAing attending crabby-about-it but COMPLIANT buttocks down to the social security office and sat for four hours in the Eu de Foot, filled out ANAL RETENTIVE FORM 98423821691B, got my boxes checked and my stamp-needing places stamped, went home, and forgot it. My new cards came and Scott threw them in our safety deposit box and I put it entirely out of my mind and it STAYED out of my mind right up until the moment when they ARRESTED me in the middle of my small town, put me in HANDCUFFS and PERP WALKED me over to a REAL ACTUAL COP CAR and carted me off to prison.

Thanks, Social Security Office, for calling me down there, wasting four hours of my life, then screwing up my paperwork, canceling my driver's license, and issuing a bench warrant for my arrest EVEN THOUGH I CAME DOWN THERE IMMEDIATELY LIKE THE GOOD DOG I AM AND GAVE YOU YOUR STUPID FORM.

I have to say, post perp-walk, after searching my vehicle, the cops became very very nice to me. I think they got a gander at the Sunday School materials and Dasani water bottles that infest the floor of my car and decided they weren't dealing with, like, a master criminal. BUT! being arrested YESTERDAY of all days, was especially neat because

1) I got POPPED on the way to do TV and have lunch with the book editor of the AJC. HEH.
2) Scott is out of town. REPEAT: Scott is out of town.
3) My closest friend here in town, Julie, is in WASHINGTON visiting in-laws.
4) My other friends here in town have JOBS (Pam, and I had no idea of her work number and couldn't remember her company name...) or LITTLE BABIES (Vicki, who is also PREGNANT)
5) My LAWYER is at the beach this week.

I can't go on with this just now----really. I have to stop. I will tell you how I got out of jail tomorrow. BUT! OH! I will tell you what the TOILET is like in jail right NOW.

The toilet in jail is...not a good toilet. I decided I would let my kidneys burst and die before I came NEAR that toilet. It was behind a little HALF wall, so you could, I guess, pee in quasi-privacy, and people had scraped graffiti into the half wall so at least the toilet had its own built in (scatological) reading material.

I thought about scritching out an ad for gods in Alabama, as that book has all sorts of MURDEROUS SHENANIGANS in it that might interest criminals, but then, you know, any half decent policeman would be able to use his deductive reasoning skills and realize I was the gods in Alabama Graffiti perp and come RE-arrest me for defacing public property. Not that it was actual POSSIBLE to DEFACE something as foul as that one piece stainless steel water-fountain-slash-sink-slash-toilet-like-object. That toilet was INTRINSICALLY DEFACED by being a disgusting jail toilet/sink/drinking fountain. ALSO, seriously, if you pressed the water fountain button part (NOT THAT I DRANK OUT OF IT, LORDY, But I was SO BORED that I eventually resorted to playing with the bathroom fixtures) the WATER that went down into the sink hole from the fountain BURBLED into the toilet. SO it was all ONE THING with the drinking water CONNECTING directly to the PEEING WATER. GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

I hated to leave NO graffiti though, so, at the behest of my friend Jill, I settled for a scritching in bit of Momly wisdom. I put it close to the sink. Should you get arrested anytime soon in lovely Austell Georgia, my helpful graffiti will remind you: "Please remember to wash hands!" I add this, although I didn't have room to scritch it with my nail....If you DO use that toilet, don't stop with the hands. Go for the WHOLE BODY BLEACH DIP.

I SO WISH I had thought to use my camera phone to snap a pic of that toilet. ALSO --- I need a copy of my MUG SHOTS, any jail birds out there know how to get that? SMOKING GUN has mug shots all the time so they MUST be gettable. I had my picture taken SO MUCH on this tour that I reflexively did a 1 2 3 Betty style expression for my forward facing mug shot, and I would LOVE to post it here.

ALSO, I feel like having a mug shot gives me some much needed street cred. It's like a license to say "Yo yo yo, Homey-homes," with 30% less irony.

I will tell you how I spent MY TIME IN THE SMALL HOUSE (it was Austell, after all, they don't really HAVE a big house) tomorrow, and how I got out with no Scott around.

OH! I was SUPPOSED to mail off three crates of signed books yesterday, and I had to call Tammy at Seattle Mystery Bookshop and tell her the POLICE had taken her crates of books, my van, my license, AND my final scrap of personal dignity...
She responded by mailing me a sympathetic note that said "Hey Joss,
we found this today, let us know if you need a copy shipped to Jail. Bookstores can send directly to convicts:"


Lord, but I love Booksellers---especially the ones who care enough to handsell, even to bad crime doers like me!

Posted by joshilyn at August 10, 2006 8:20 AM

On the bright side, if you were on your way to do TV, I'm sure your hair and makeup were lovely. So many people fail to prepare for their mugshots but I am sure yours looked like a Glamour Shot.

I will ask hubby (a police officer) if you can get a hold of your mugshot (I smell Christmas card!!). I, personally, wouldn't know as I follow the law to the letter at all times.

So what is your gang name?

Posted by: Em at August 10, 2006 8:36 AM

I'm just so glad you managed to get out! I can't believe they messed up your forms and caused you to get arrested. That really stinks. However, your story of it? So far, it's hillarious. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: Jessie at August 10, 2006 9:17 AM

Ohmigosh, that is freakin' hilarious. Oops, I mean, that is HORRIBLE! (But, your story is hilarious, still...) You should have called the lady at the tv station and had her come spring you during the show. THAT would have been some good reality tv.

Posted by: Julie at August 10, 2006 9:20 AM

My new mantra for today is - "At least I'm not in jail like Joshilyn." By 8 this morning I'd already had the morning from hell, or so I thought, until I read this. They are indeed correct - No matter how bad things are they could always be worse.

Thanks - I really needed this one!

Posted by: Charity_s at August 10, 2006 9:27 AM

So if you now go down to the Social "Security" (Ha!) Office and find the idiot who lost your paperwork and beat him-or-her to a bloody pulp with one of those crates of books you couldn't send off, is that like a freebie in terms of jail time? 'cause I mean, you've already been there for something you didn't do, so now shouldn't you get to DO something for time served?? Just sayin'...

Also, dammit, Autumn, I was SO totally going to guess jail and you beat my to it by less than an hour. Aaaarrrggghhh!!!

Posted by: DebR at August 10, 2006 9:32 AM

you should have called toots, I have friends at the Austell jail. I coulda pulled some strings. they must have redone the place, it use-ta not be soo nice!

Posted by: desi at August 10, 2006 9:34 AM

ohhhhh ya, too bad it wasn't Carroll county they still have those ubber cool black and white stripe, honest to God chain gang getups. When I see them on the side of the road digging ditches (really picking up trash) I expect to see them all shackeled together!
I've watched a little too much "Oh, Brother where art thou"!

Posted by: desi at August 10, 2006 9:37 AM


I'm calling you for the rest of the story. And you better answer your freaking phone.

Posted by: Amy-Go at August 10, 2006 9:58 AM

Oh my dear holy LORD IN HEAVEN. I CANNOT BELIEVE this happened to you. That is INSANE.

Your lawyer's going to have a field day with this one.

Posted by: Chookooloonks at August 10, 2006 10:00 AM

You're kidding, right? This didn't really happen, did it?? I mean, no way. Really?? Oh my gosh. You can dine out an that story for YEARS.

(If it was April Fool's Day...)

Yet it's not. I still can't get over this.

Posted by: Keetha at August 10, 2006 10:01 AM

First off. Mug shots are public records. When you regain your legal status (you do realize that you are one of those "illegals" now) go down to the cop shop and ask for a copy. Of course they'll overcharge you for it.

-- :... materials and Dasani WATER BOTTLES" You probably don't want to publically admit that you were carrying not one but SEVERAL of what we now know are terrorists weapons of choice!!

-- What was the charge? Whatever it was and IF you are ever cleared, expect to get that "special" treatment at all airports from hear on out.

-- So are you going to tout your new bad-girl, hardened criminal image? If so, I suggest:
a. punching a photographer (any one will do -- even if you have to wail on some camera-totin' touron at Six flags).
b. stop in traffic and beat up the car behind you with a golf club
c. check into rehab because of "exhaustion."
d. practice your Fosbury and then go on Ophra
e. go back and ask the cop of he's je.... well, Mel already did that.. how about Catholic? We KNOW they've started wars...

Posted by: alan smithee at August 10, 2006 10:24 AM

Oh my DEAR FREAKING LORD! I... there are no words. I think I broke something trying not to laugh and pee and snort while reading this with my boss in the next office. Only you could make getting arrested the funniest frickin' thing I have read all year. I. Love. You.

Posted by: Aimee at August 10, 2006 10:28 AM

you should have a photoshop of jailbird joss contest!

Posted by: zippy patrick at August 10, 2006 10:51 AM

Oh no, Deb, she can't use our books to thwack on people for two reasons. One is that she still doesn't have access to them, or didn't until recently.

But mostly, we now have books we can handsell as books that have been in jail with their author! We are a mystery bookshop with actual, honest, criminal books! Not that we'd need the added story to be able to sell Joss' book, but it's going to be a great selling point!

Posted by: Fran at August 10, 2006 11:17 AM

I detest the SS office with a hatred of hate!!!!! I had to go last August for my child's ss card which my idiot behind lost. NEVER AGAIN! BTW, my Sally Foster saleswoman is the sister of your childhood friend. Her name is Amanda. Twas neat to meet her.

Posted by: Tiff at August 10, 2006 11:40 AM

Gawd, you have more street cred than one of those fellas from SWATs (SWAtl) now. What kind of jailhouse tatoo did you get?
Seriously, that is just crazy. I had to do the wait at the SSN office thing too and let's just say you could tell who the two grils were who where there to get their names changed. Jail might have been better.

Posted by: Chris at August 10, 2006 11:47 AM

Oh Joss, if I'd have known I would have warned you. The social security office is not our friend. Not only will they not be around for your old age and charge you for it today, they can have your whole life in turmoil.

Sometime after wedding two I went and filled out new papers at the SS office 60 miles away from here and promptly forgot about it. Fast forward 6 or 7 years when I receive copious paper work saying they are TAKING MY SOCIAL SECURITY for the last six or seven years BECAUSE I DO NOT EXIST. I have copies of copies but they did me no good. After several trips to the valley and multiple completed copies of ANAL RETENTIVE FORM 98423821691B - I am now six or seven years short
of Social Security payments and "interest" that I will never see because they are going bankrupt right before I hit retirement age.

Then of course the reality of my life was, that my husband left two years later. Was he worth it all...HELL NO! hmmm. sorry. But yes, I am a glutton for punishment so I married again. Filled out copious sheets and versions of ANAL RETENTIVE FORM 98423821691B. Thank you for letting me know what my trip to hell will be like when the SS catch up with me.

Posted by: Cele at August 10, 2006 11:55 AM

Your fricking life is fiction fodder! And yes, having a mug shot definitely leans street cred.

I've lost my daughter's SS card, and the school system is threatening not to let her enter second grade because she must not exist without a SS card, even though I do have the number and I can prove, beyond doubt, that she does indeed exist. So now I'm really scared.

Street cred, street cred, street cred.

Posted by: Edgy Mama at August 10, 2006 12:13 PM


You dreamed that...right?'ve taken a huge bite of hyperbole cake...or something. Because...I mean...that didn't uh...really...happen. Did it?

I think my dad's in jail somewhere in didn't see him, did you?

Posted by: Angela at August 10, 2006 2:26 PM

I read this post with one half of my brain going "OMG...OMG"... and the other half going "she's, um, kidding, right?"

We must have the whole story. If you won't tell then maybe Amy-Go will... oh Aaaaamyyyyyy.....

Posted by: Heather Cook at August 10, 2006 2:34 PM

Doesn't that just frost your cake? Poor Joss, you must have been terrified. What will Mr. Husband do when he gets home, breathing fire, no doubt?

Social Security is the pits. After way too many years having money stolen from my paychecks, they now tell me they show me as only having the minumum time in, so I'll get like $100/month! What about the freakin years I made way over the max, I asked. "We have no record of that." Good thing I never throw out my pay stubs.

Big (((HUGS))). I can't imagine how soul destroying that must have been. It's great you can turn it into something humorous. Can you sue for false arrest? Sue SS for anguish and suffereing, esp. if you get the full terrorist treatment every time you have to fly, thanks to their lousy paperwork. Oughta be worth a few $mill.

Posted by: ZaZa at August 10, 2006 2:44 PM

I saw the title and I was like YAY I WON. Then, OH F*&$ I won... that's not good.

But you tell it well, I mean, haha...

but still:


Posted by: Autumn at August 10, 2006 3:14 PM

Oh honey....weighing options....birth film/jail...birth film/jail....I dunnoo..that's a pretty tight competition if you ask me...

I guess not only are their gods in Alabama but there are devils at the SS office in GA, but on the do realize that your good karma points have shot way up....I love you Pluffy and only you baby..only you.....

Is Sam going to be okay now that his mom's a jailbird???? OMG, the storys when he goes to school...
1. Bodyboard for the beach 50.00
2. Camp to learn to build fires and earn badges 200.00
3. Bailing mom out of jail and selling her mugshot on Ebay...PRICELESS!!!!

Posted by: Gabi at August 10, 2006 4:29 PM

The burning question,

Did you call Mr. Husband and say....."I'm a little arrested."

OMG....I'm still sitting here with tears streaming down my face....

Posted by: Gabi at August 10, 2006 4:43 PM

I got the fish eye from them years ago for doing the same thing Before It Was A Crime... they just sent me a really peeved letter and I went down and took care of it in about an hour. It was the last time I ever saw my marriage certificate. Oh well, he died so now I would need the DEATH certificate. I hate SS - they were the first ones to call my mother a widow and they made her cry so hard she had to go home. Shame.

Posted by: Peggy Spence at August 10, 2006 5:04 PM

ohmigosh... Just when I thought it couldn't get worse, you brought up the toilet and scritching an ad for gods. *wiping coffee from my screen now*

The real question is: What did Scott say when you called him? You did call him, right?

Shame on the SS office!! (but then as someone else said... great fiction fodder!)

Posted by: dragonfly at August 10, 2006 5:17 PM

You have become ten times cooler in my eyes. Didja get a tat in the "small house?" A little tear drop perhaps?

Bad girls of the South, unite!

Posted by: Jenn2 at August 10, 2006 5:29 PM

Oh. my. god.

Seriously, I am hauling my keister down to my stinkin smelly WAY bad SS office on Monday and making my self an honest woman.

Or I may go the DMV and just change my license to match my SS card.

I don't have any problem being known socially as the "missus" but keeping my legal identity separate.

Of course they may brand me with a big scarlet "H" for hussy, but whatever.

Only you could turn what would be for me, utter mortification and terror, into ready for prime time first rate humor.

Posted by: lisa at August 10, 2006 5:46 PM

I am far from happy with Social Security right now. I spent all day fighting with the DMV here... guess what?

No go. EVIL.

Posted by: Autumn at August 10, 2006 5:47 PM

Oh man... But I already know what the jail toilets look like there, thankyouverymuch!

What a horrid thing. My sympathies. BTDT -- not with SS, but still. (I mean, not as a real criminal either!!!)

Posted by: Angela Giles Klocke at August 10, 2006 6:56 PM

Oh My God . . . I SO want an autographed copy of your mug shot. Can you get them printed on coffee mugs???

Posted by: Suziqoregon at August 10, 2006 9:25 PM

Jail's not so bad if you just give it a chance. I spend nights upon nights there. Sometimes I go in on my nights OFF to hang out with the excellent folks there. Also, there is a show every night without fail. But I don't think your jail's the same as ours if you were confined so tightly.

Down here only the weirdos who fight or fling poo get tossed into the little cells. Everyone else gets to MINGLE and compare ink. Only the boys have that semi-private potty with the metal commode. The ladies get a proper bathroom with a LOCK on the door and feminine products and paper towels.

I'm dying to know what the official charge is - jeebus knows I've never booked anything even close to that, unless they're calling it posesion or use of fraudulent id? I'm lost. Are they calling it a misdemeanor or felony? what was the bond?

GAH! hurry up and fill us in on the rest, I'm dying here.

Posted by: Dianna at August 10, 2006 9:32 PM

And thank you, Peach! It occurred to me, reading this, that I never changed my name back with this evil empire after I got divorced. I'm doing that MONDAY! I have learned, oh yes, I have learned!!

Posted by: Fran at August 10, 2006 11:36 PM

I'm just having the eensiest panic attack here because I've never changed my name at the Social security office either. My husband gets irked every year at tax time because he forgets and then has to change the forms to my maiden name... What would be worse, I wonder, the jail time or my husband being so RIGHT??? Actually, I don't have to wonder.

Posted by: Laura at August 11, 2006 12:40 AM

Dude, I know its not funny to you deep down, but I laughed so freakin' hard I almost broke something. Seriously. You know, you should just carry a picture of my cat around in your purse and threaten them with it next time...maybe they'll loosen the grip just enough for you to run.

Posted by: marisa at August 11, 2006 12:44 AM

I can't believe this! I'm sos sorry you had all this happen to you...

But by god it makes good blogging ;)

Posted by: diane at August 11, 2006 6:57 AM

[I mean 'so sorry'...]

Posted by: diane at August 11, 2006 6:58 AM

Oh my goodness. And here I thought you'd had to go to Walmart. I am rolling on the fllor knew-slap laughing. HOLY COW, Joss.

Posted by: Heather at August 11, 2006 9:13 AM

PS I am also feeling extreme sympathy for you and wishing I had been there to bail you out.

*suppresses laughter*

Posted by: Heather at August 11, 2006 9:13 AM

I gotta know -- where were the kids? I figure if you were on the way to an interview, you had a sitter or arangements, but I was worried.

So sorry that your day went kablooey on you and that you had to spend time with the crappy crap facilities.

Posted by: hollygee at August 11, 2006 10:05 AM

I'm really sorry to hear about your time in the slammer. BUT! I wanted to tell you the little experience I had yesterday. I was dutifully taking my 4 year old daughter to Barnes & Noble story/craft time. Afterwards we were going up the escalator to the sinfully delicious cafe and at the tippy top of the escalator I saw "Between, Georgia". There it was! A real book that one of my favorite bloggers wrote and it was pretty and it was a real book. I felt, like proud by association or something. I just wanted to make sure you knew. That it felt like a much more personal book since I read your exploits and laugh and giggle and keep telling myself I can be a writer too.
ps-I missed the first Gods In Alabama class..any way to get a transcript or something like that?

Posted by: Julie at August 11, 2006 12:46 PM


Posted by: Gwen at August 11, 2006 12:48 PM

All Important Letters should be so freely paraphrased! I'm thinkin', what if those letters really were written like that!? But, no, that would require intentional levity, and in government, levity is strictly intrinsic, not ever to be purposfully offered, LO! lest interpretation be disastrous!

Posted by: Stephanie at August 12, 2006 9:33 AM

Is there nothing that you can't make funny? I mean, really. *sigh*

Sending you a hug through the jail bars...

Posted by: Pattie at August 14, 2006 11:55 AM

it's completely inappropriate to laugh. (which is why I'm hoping you don't think I'm a really bad, mean, awful, horrid person for having done so.)

Posted by: deb at August 14, 2006 11:26 PM

so, how long were you incarcerated? Did they give you time off for good behavior?

frankly...I can't believe they can actually arrest you for paperwork...what has happened to this country????


Posted by: dee at August 18, 2006 12:30 AM

Not sure whether to laugh - hilarious writing - or cry - can this be where our nation is headed? - or head down to Georgia to picket the Social Security Office.

This is funny...and outrageous. Very outrageous.

Posted by: Elizabeth at August 19, 2006 12:13 PM