I am having an identity crisis

Mrs. Spurrier, please sign here

When I married ten years ago, my written last name went from one with lots of loops and curves to it to another one with lots of loops and curves to it (with a dotted ‘i’ at the end). Like most brides-to-be, I practiced how I would sign my new name. In fact, my maiden name and my married last name have the exact same number of vowels and consonants, both with double-consonants in the middle. So, the transition from maiden-to-married name was fairly easy. Thus, the signature transition was fairly easy as well.

On the day my last name changed from one 8-letter name to the other 8-letter name, I had to sign it at least 10 times…  there was the DJ, the caterer, the check I wrote to the pastor, the license, the money we paid the photographer… and the list goes on. When the baby came, we had to sign our names on at least four documents. Then we bought a house.. I couldn’t sign my name fast enough that day because I honestly don’t remember a time in my life when I had to sign it so many times. By that time, I’d been married for nearly five years and was a pro at signing my married last name (though sometimes still slipped into signing it Emily (Insert Very Common in Arkansas Maiden Name Here)).

However, I don’t sign my name all pretty with a heart to work as the dot in my ‘i’. I tried that option and it was simply not fast enough for me. My last name has eight letters! Granted, it’s not as long as several that I’ve seen, but it’s not easy to write all pretty-like as one would be able to with “Smith” or “Sams” or something like that. Oh, no.. when it comes to signing my name, I want to get it done and over with.  And so, I sign my last name in a wide-E, a couple loops for my ‘l’ and ‘y’, a figure-8 looking thing for my S, another loop below that for my p and then a straight line for my ‘urrier’. Then there’s the dot. Don’t forget the dot.

I’ve been told it doesn’t look like a signature or that my signature looks like a doctor’s signature. I’m thinking ten years into the future when my daughter tries to sign progress reports on my behalf and turns them in to her teacher. I really wouldn’t put it past her. I mean, not that her mom’s ever tried doing that.. of course not! But, really, have you been reading my other blogs? Kathryn calls it my “squiggle”. “Mom? Can you please put your squiggle right here?” she’ll ask me, and I’ll gladly place my squiggle on her homework.

A few years back, when I worked for a top-ten company here in town, my manager had me sign some documents. She took them to her manager and they came back to me, asking that I sign my name more legibly. Seriously? You really want me to change my signature? And so, my manager took the signed papers back to her superior arguing that asking me to sign my name differently is ridiculous,  regardless of whether or not you could make out the “mily” or the “purrier” in my signature. And so, they then just asked if I could print my name under my signature. I complied. But, I’m never changing my signature.

Yesterday, Kathryn brought home some papers from school. One some of her homework, I have to sign off on it stating that indeed, I witnessed her read for so-many minutes or that ‘yes, my daughter practiced her spelling words online’. That’s no big deal. But one of the papers that came back had written in big orange letters “Have your parents sign, please”, right over where I signed off. I showed my husband the note, looking perplexed and Kathryn said “My teacher didn’t believe it was you that signed it at first, she thought that was MY squiggle there, not yours! She said you have to sign in pen from now on”. Really? What difference does it make whether I sign in pen, pencil or crayon? And so, I complied again… I signed my name on Kathryn’s homework last night… in pen. Below that I wrote “This really is my signature” with a smiley face tacked on.

I’m sorry Mrs. Spurrier, we can’t read your signature, can we have your fingerprints instead?

What worries me more than just signing my name is the other direction we’re going as far as identity goes. Every person has a unique identification on their hands, right? False. There are four family groups in the world who carry a gene that actually fails to create fingerprints. Now, though I don’t have this gene, I also don’t have fingerprints. It’s actually one of those drawbacks of my skin disorder from all the constant scarring and breaking down of the epidermis. You can see a faint trace of what were fingerprints on maybe two of my fingers, but they provide no print.

My daughter’s former daycare had a system where in order to unlock the door and pick her up from there, I had to provide my fingerprint. They had no backup plan should I have been one of those 100-or-so people in the world that don’t have a fingerprint, nor did I expect them to. Convincing them that I had no prints, however, was a challenge. “Well, another employee usually gets the machine to work. Let me grab her.. she’ll get your print to read.”. I no longer try to argue this point with people. I just let them try to scan my smudge until they look at my hand and give up.

When cashing checks, I chuckle when they ask for my finger print. I just give them my smudge, enjoy watching their faces and move on. One would think that living a life of crime would be easier with no fingerprints. Actually, it probably wouldn’t be… the cops would look for the woman with the smudge. I might as well raise my hand at that point and said “oh! me! Me! Me! Pick me!”

At my current job, we punch in and punch out on the time clock with our finger prints. When I was first hired on, Human Resources tried for a good half-hour to get a print out of me and, of course, failed. They even brought in  another person who “has never failed” at getting prints. I just let them try, mentioning I only have trace prints, that most likely it wouldn’t work. “Oh, we’ll get it to work,” is the answer I’m used to. “Well, why didn’t you say this during the job interview?” was another question I got about my lack of unique identity. I suppose it’s not something I never thought I’d have to say in an interview. “So you see, potential employer, I have these awesome skills you want, I can start immediately and… oh! I forgot to tell you.. I have no fingerprints. I hope this doesn’t disqualify me for the position!” I now use an automated dial-in system to punch in and out of work every day. No time clock for me.

I’m actually kind of proud of my smudge and squiggle. I suspect, eventually though, I’ll probably have to give DNA samples to prove my identity since the other standard means don’t always work.

I’m sorry Mrs. Spurrier, but your DNA seems to have a broken strand here in gene KRT5 and KRT14… Are you aware that this is rare?

Yeah, I know. Thanks.


About gespurr

Emily was born in Southwestern Louisiana and has moved over 20 times in her life through nine different states. Most of her life was spent in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, where she met her husband and had her only child. Both she and her husband are also only children. She graduated from Stillwater (MN) High School in 1992 and from the University of Wisconsin in 1997 with a BS in Journalism. Three years later, she met her husband, George, and they married in 2002. Their daughter, Kathryn, was born early in 2004. She relocated with her family back to Arkansas in 2005 after being away for 30 years. She currently works as a customer service representative for an insurance company and lives in North Little Rock. When not taking care of her daughter she is either cooking, working, cleaning house, sewing, gardening, knitting, crocheting hiking, traveling or spending time with her husband.

Posted on September 28, 2011, in Miscellaneous, Parenting. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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