Create a Secret Identity for Yourself
Erika Sauter

One of the first scandalous fantasies I can ever remember having, at around age eleven or so, was that I might find some corrupt doctor to fake a death certificate for me, so that “they” would stop keeping records about my life.

This was always one of my extreme eccentricities, and I offer no “what if everybody?” rationale for it: I despise the very notion of record-keeping about people’s lives, or at least mine. Nobody understood me when I was so deeply offended after the first time a teacher explained to the class that there was this thing called a “permanent record” which would follow each of us around regardless of where we ever went to school or whatever we ever did or didn’t do. What gives them the right?, was all I was thinking, and that predisposition has never left me.

In my idea of an alternate identity, I don’t have one. The man standing in front of you, is just a man, not a record of one. The patient in the doctor’s office, is just an organism, to be treated and helped according to what is found out about him, not in some “chart” or some “history.” The student in a class, is a human being, a living and breathing person, and not some “record” which instructs all the bureaucrats on what dangers he might pose to their careers.

I try and treat everyone in my own purview, as the person before me, not the reputation or the gossip or the remembered slights of others. And accordingly, what I do with receipts, is light fires in my woodstove with them, as this is all they are good for. I live by cash on hand, and I couldn’t tell you with anything like accuracy what I did with my cash on hand a year ago, or even a week ago. That was then, this is now.

My extreme departures from this so-called “western civilization” have always centered on this business of record-keeping. I decline to file or pay income taxes, not so much because I do indeed know that the funds thus stolen are to be squandered on stealing more from others, but because the information I am demanded to provide in the process, is nobody’s business but mine.

I always believed that the answers to civilization’s problems would only, ultimately, be found, when there is no more “data” about anything or anyone, and we each would be truly free to conduct our affairs among one another based only on what is happening at a given moment, and not on what the despicable practice of record-keeping on human lives instructs us to do.

And on that fine and dreadful day I know is coming, when the entire internet and its “cloud” simply don’t switch on any more and nobody has a god-damn clue to why or what to do about it, like it or not, we will be compelled to live and act and treat one another like human beings, and obey not our data but our senses, not our records but our consciences. And do the best we can.

Until that day, I just endure and try to coexist with this “civilization” thing. I don’t mean it any harm, it is what it is, but I never did actually approve of it.

Not since the day they told me I was being tracked, and always would be.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.