Saturday, January 18, 2014

Beating People to the Personhood Punch

Wearing a nametag everyday has its advantages.

I’m easy to find in a crowd, strangers are friendlier to me on the subway, I get better service at restaurants and airports, people never forget my name at parties, and I’m statistically less likely to commit violent crimes.

That last one is a fact. Sociologically, there’s a direct correlation between anonymity and accountability. You don’t stab someone when everybody can see your name. That’s just good science.

But the best part about wearing a nametag is, I get to label myself first.

Think about the implications of that for a minute.

Are you making a name for yourself, or is someone making one for you? Are you living other people’s ideas about who you are? How often do you find yourself apologizing for who you are? And, how will you remind yourself who you were before the world told you who you were supposed to be?

Wearing a nametag gives me ownership over my identity. It beats people to the personhood punch. And it refuses to give the world a chance to tell me who I am.

I come pre-labeled, literally and figuratively.

And in a world where people are constantly trying to tell you who you are, who you’re allowed to be, and who you need to be, that seems like a smart move to me.