I Am My Birthdate

I stopped in the drugstore today to pick up a prescription. After I told the clerk my name, she asked for my birthdate. The doctor always does the same thing. I wonder why we don’t skip right to the thing that’s so important to them and just let me introduce myself as my birthdate. Heaven forbid that someone actually want to know my name.

I’m old enough that I remember when you went to the bank and people called you by your name. Now it’s “what’s your account number”, or “do you have your debit card with you”?

I am a number. Sometimes the number is different, but for many people I interact with, I’m just a number.

I’ve been a school teacher. The children and other teachers called me by my name. Sometimes when I’d be in someone else’s classroom, I’d see a different number on each child’s desk. That would be their number in that classroom. When they put their name on their papers, they’d also put that number. Teach ’em young now, I guess.

I don’t like being a number. But that’s ok. I go by two names. If you’re a person I know well, or who is important in my life, I tell you one name. If you’re someone who calls me by a number, or I really don’t know you, I tell you the other one.

Same way with my phone. I have one phone that if it rings, I ignore it. It’s even in the cat’s room. Sometimes when she gets tired of it ringing, she knocks it in the floor and then it doesn’t ring until I pick it back up. If I want to talk to you, I give you my main number.

Play with me and I’ll play back. Call me a number, I’ll tell you what name you may use with that number and what number you can use to reach me by phone.

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