Identity Crisis

All of me…
Why not take all of me?
Can’t you see?
I’m no good without you.
Take my lips…
I want to lose them!
Take my arms
I’ll never use them!

I’ve always loved this song.  Best of all when Lily Tomlin sings it in the movie by the same name.  I like it as much as when Tony Bennett croons “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”  I guess I’ve always enjoyed the idea of parts of me being lost to passion.

But somehow the passion of greed doesn’t enter into that fantasy.  Like, say, losing my identity to the lowest kind of white collar criminal.

My husband and I went through the local program called Citizen’s Police Academy, which was quite fascinating.  Especially when you get to wander around the evidence room at the police station and peek at the prisoner toilet (don’t worry, no one was making use of it at the time.)

Our lecturer one evening was in charge of the Investigations Department, and during his talk he highly recommended that everyone have identity theft insurance.  This got my drawers in a twist, but I managed to shrug it off and focus on his presentation, which covered the number of violent crimes committed in our community last year and how one might go about solving them.

FYI- if you need to bludgeon someone to death but are unable to procure yourself some gloves, use a bumpy rock as the police will be unable to lift your fingerprints off of it.

On the way home though, the thing that sprang to my mind was not the crime scene photo of a decaying corpse but my irritation at the suggestion of identity insurance.  I still cannot precisely articulate my emotional position (my intellectual position is something along the lines of: “Sigh.  What else.”) but I realize that I am getting closer to complete awareness of where I stand on this important issue.

In my brain it goes something like, “You have to be freakin’ kidding.  I’M going to pay YOU so that I get to maintain control over the ONLY G.D. thing in this world that TRULY belongs to me, during my life and beyond the grave?  I’m going to hand over wads of cash so that I get to continue being me instead of some lowlife immoral a$$ being me?”

Only I’m a lot angrier about it in private.

The idea that I would have to fight to re-establish the fact that I am me and that I’ve only done the things that I’ve actually done, only bought the things I’ve truly bought… this conflict strikes me as fundamentally absurd.  I’m not denying that it happens; I know that the threat is real.  I am sickened by the fact that we all carry on every day even though it happens, that many of us choose to submit to insurance sharks, that an authority figure in the police station would recommend that we pay to protect ourselves, INSTEAD OF TURNING THE SYSTEM UPSIDE DOWN SO THAT THERE IS JUSTICE.

Sorry, didn’t mean to yell.

I don’t have a whole lot in this world.  I have my kids, and they are the greatest thing I will ever have, but I don’t truly possess them because ultimately they are their own individual selves who will grow up to steer their own destinies.  Someday when they are big something will “steal” them from me, whether it is a spouse or a career or their own kids, and that’s how it should be.

I own a few cool toys, like a computer and a van and a few shelves full of books, but I recognize that all the physical stuff is ephemeral and I have to enjoy it while I can because it could disappear at any moment, and anyway, I can’t bring it along.

All I really have is my reputation, my integrity, my identity.  How have we evolved a system in which it is possible for this basic unit of selfhood to be stolen?  And how is it that we allow it to be so inhumanly difficult for someone who has done nothing wrong to prove that they are actually the victim?

And how can we allow people to PROFIT off of this absurd situation?

Your goodbye left me with eyes that cry.
How can I go on, dear, without you?
You took the part that once was my heart,
So why not take all of me?

But leave my ID alone, thanks all the same.

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4 responses to “Identity Crisis

  1. I know exactly how you feel. A husband of a friend of mine, lost his wallet, and everything in it. His credit card was used without his knowledge, resulting in a great debt and marks against his credit history. When it came for them to get a mortgage it was almost impossible, due to this identity theft! – Thankfully, they did manage to clear it up in the end.
    I am particularly wary of how Facebook decides to share private personal information as default.
    Is that you in the top most photo? Very cute!

    • Yes, all pics are me! Thanks!

      It does seem to be such an artificial injustice: the whole system with its numbers and credit scores and such are set up so that to participate in society you essentially HAVE to play their game, and then if you fall victim to people preying on the system it is up to YOU to fix it! I don’t think I would be as mad if there was a way to opt out.

      • If a good credit score is what they’re after they want no part of me! You would think in this cyber age we live in they would have better safeguards in place or at the very least, an easier way of correcting it once you’ve been victimized. It’s sad that people can have their entire reputation called into question because of someone’s criminal activity. 😦

        • No doubt! I guess the companies have no incentive to develop safeguards for the consumers… unless they get to charge us for them. Which is part of what makes my blood boil! I just want to shout,”It’s your stupid system, YOU fix it, and on YOUR dime!”

          Thanks for commenting.

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