I had to prove my identity yesterday in a comprehensive, ‘No, really, are you actually a distinct individual named A K M Adam who has been alive since…, and currently resides…, and who has not committed any criminal offences…’ way. I brought along my RFIDed passport, by hyperbiometric Leave to Remain, an expired passport, my birth certificate and Social Security card, and several bank and utility notices, a pay check stub, and I was prepared to do the whole ‘Google for AKMA, and observe how far back in time you can see photos of me under that name’ deal. Luckily for me, my identity was affirmed; then again, I am a cisgendered straight White male whose English-language skills are only inflected by having lived in the USA for fifty years.
In the process, though, I noticed that my birth certificate (the original) and Social Security card show unmistakeable signs of having been prepared in the 1950s. Over and above the wear and tear on my certificate (really, I ought to get a fresh official copy) the typography and general design sensibility belong markedly to the pre-1960s world. Even more, the addresses (and telephone numbers, if there were phone numbers on them) reflect the more local world before nine- or even five-digit Zip codes. My name was typed on my Social Security card, which was then stapled onto a larger informational card that explained the idea of Social Security. The contrast with my Leave to Remain card couldn’t be much starker.
And the very capacity to observe that contrast in epochs marked me as having been alive for a long time.
Go, and also, my time Sunday morning was 10:17. No zip there, either.