Sam and his little sister, Columbia, were born in the earliest days of our zealous nation.
History records that the Wilson offspring were raised in Menotomy, Massachusetts – now known as Arlington – to parents originally from Greenock, Scotland.
Sam was always the more visible of the two. In 1797, the stern-eyed, elbow-nosed gent married a gal from Mason, New Hampshire, and together they had four children who they raised in their Ferry Street home. Aunt Columbia, as the tots called her, was a doting kinswoman.
Sam first served our country during the War of 1812. A meat packer by trade, he provided beef rations – which he shipped in barrels – to the Army. Branded on the side of each cask were the initials “U.S.” – signifying their ownership by the United States government.
But the soldiers and workers who knew good ole Sam Wilson took to joshing that the “U.S.” stood for Uncle Sam.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Aunt Columbia also tried her hand laboring as a national emblem, draping herself in the red, white and blue, and bidding to join big brother Sam on the patriotic trail. In 1798, Philip Phile and Joseph Hopkinson teamed to write the music and lyrics for George Washington’s inaugural march, which came to be titled, “Hail, Columbia.” Few historians properly credit Aunt Columbia as Phile’s and Hopkinson’s inspiration.
Sam and Columbia made a nice iconic tag-team, rallying the country through World Wars I and II, and adorning untold numbers of government placards and tourist postcards.
It was not until after the Japanese surrender on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945 that friends and family began to notice the shift in Aunt Columbia’s personality. Subtle at first, her behavior was increasingly erratic and wild.
Aunt Columbia became obsessed with money – other people’s money. And she plotted and connived around the clock to invent fresh schemes to separate those who once saluted her from their savings.
“I’ll gladly care for you in the future, so kindly hand over your earnings today,” she exhorted them. Her words were gentle, but her tone was anything but.
Yet this was Columbia, symbol of the full faith and credit of America and its great financial wherewithal. So people complied with her entreaties and entrusted their retirement funds to her Social Security lockbox.
Those who knew Aunt Columbia the best attributed her twisted new priorities and personality to jealousy. After World War II the fickle public shifted its adoration from Aunt Columbia to that French wench, Lady Liberty, who hung out in the harbor and wooed so many fresh immigrants with her oratory charms.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” trilled Mademoiselle Liberty, a message that mesmerized like the siren songs of ancient Greece. All Aunt Columbia could counter with was the by-now quite clichéd, “I want yours.”
Well, it was no contest.
Perhaps, in truth, Lady Liberty did contribute some to Aunt Columbia’s money madness. After all, so many immigrants looked to her – not Columbia – as their American North Star.
But, dear reader, we know better, don’t we?
For in fact, Aunt Columbia’s derangement had it real roots back in 1935, more than a decade prior, when the well-intentioned President Franklin D. Roosevelt and members of Congress enacted the Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance program, best known as the Social Security Act.
It was back in that fragile time, with much of America still reeling from the aftershocks of the Great Depression, that Aunt Columbia enlisted in the unholy and corrupt order that we now know as SSH4TT, dedicated as it is to lust after money – our money.
And what, even in those fledgling days of SSH4TT could be a more appropriate financial grail than Social Security?
Millions and billions of dollars flooding annually into the U.S. government treasury with only the promise of returning the funds to their rightful owners decades down the road. Oh, how all that money cried out to Aunt Columbia and her fellow SSH4TT members. “Come and get me, caress me, spend me.”
And that they did.
While Aunt Columbia gingerly collected the monies of workers with each and every paycheck, promising – on the nation’s honor – to keep it safely in a lockbox, she and the other SSH4TT members knew the lockbox to be nothing but a dark void.
Yea, the day is nigh, when workers will discover the fraud that has been practiced upon them. That Aunt Columbia is no trusted fiduciary of their retirement funds. She is, rather, a sinister, sick-minded villain who preys mercilessly on the sick and elderly.
Live off your Social Security payments, will you?”
-cackles this brazen plunderer.
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Aunt Columbia, she is no more. Long ago, in the dank and fetid inner sanctums of SSH4TT she adopted her real, abiding persona – she is Aunt Bizarro. And no larger a financial menace has ever prowled the halls and corridors of our nation’s treasury.
Continue learning about Aunt Bizarro in Episode 2: Shattering of the Mirror of Erised.