Jack Brezina: Waiting for my windfall
|By Jack Brezina - Contributing Writer | August 17, 2017|
People have noticed I seem to be hanging around the post office a lot these days. They seem to suggest that my presence is getting a little creepy. Can I stop lurking and get back to a single visit a day?
What these people don’t realize is that I am staking out Minden’s Canada Post office because it is the agency that will be delivering my financial windfall. I expect it any day now and don’t want to miss its arrival by a nanosecond. No, I am not holding millions for a Nigerian Prince who is having trouble getting his money out of the country. That doesn’t happen until next year.
I have been alerted that the Ontario Teachers’ Pension plan will be sending me money and I want to be there when the armoured vehicle creaks into town carrying what is sure to be a Scrooge McDuck load of loot with my name attached to it.
Wait a minute, I hear the more alert among you say … ”Jack, you weren’t a teacher. You ran a newspaper.” Indeed. But in an earlier life, in Cochrane, I did fill an ugly void in the local high school system by bravely stepping into a classroom and riding herd over a bunch of teenagers.
The reason I haven’t spoken of this adjunct in my journalism career, is that, mostly I had forgotten about it … .but the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan hadn’t. The pension counsellor tracked me down. Informing me I have reached that stage in life where I need to cash out the spoils of my toils at the front of the classroom and they wanted to know if I still existed and was this my address, and what was my birth date, and do I have any scars or tattoos, etc. etc. Just the usual questions.
And, sure enough I am still alive … even more alive now that I am in line to receive one of their big payouts.
The reason my stint in the classroom was lost in the mists of time, was because it was only for one day … way back in June, 1975. Supply teachers were obviously in short supply. My friend (a real teacher) was desperate and so any warm body with a BA would do. I was catapulted to the head of the class for one day.
The pension counsellor, checking the records, relayed that I was paid the princely sum of $40.65 for my services and that $2.44 had been deducted to start my teachers’ pension nest egg.
I asked how much I might expect after that $2.44 has been growing in leaps and bounds (compounded annually) for more than 40 years. Coyly, she wouldn’t say. The platoon of actuaries at the pension office have to work it out I was told and the formula is very complicated.
Couldn’t they just push a button on a computer and the answer would come tumbling out? Well, no. It appears the contribution is so, how shall I say, teeny-weeny, the computer program was not designed for such menial tasks. “Don’t order a new car,” she advised, a giggle slipping across her voice.
Undeterred by her less than supportive attitude, I allowed dreams of new vehicles, a first-class vacation and rolling about in a mountain of cash to wander through my brain. And, so, I await my windfall from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund and will continue to be a looming spectre at the post office until my big payout finally arrives.
Jack Brezina is a contributing writer for The Highlander.