An Unauthorized Autobiography

Not that anyone asked…

Chapter 1

Unlike all of the kids I went to school with, I had no baby pictures or baby memorabilia or toys or early childhood artifacts. I had no birth certificate either. That document, so critical to identity, citizenship and employment is locked away somewhere in Marshfield, Wisconsin – wherever they keep those type of records. When you’re adopted, the state will issue to your adoptive parents or you (when you’re old enough) a fake birth certificate. I got a copy once and it had my birthplace correct, but it had my adoptive parents listed as my “birth” parents – who I don’t believe had ever stepped foot in Marshfield, much less given birth to me there. Also, of course, the name on there is not your birth name. So, in terms of it being a “record of your birth,” it’s completely phony as official documents go.

I sometimes fantasize about breaking into that Marshfield courthouse, or wherever and finding my “sealed” birth certificate and then using it to apply for credit, under a new identity. I mean, think about how valuable that piece of paper is in terms of forging a new consumer identity with. My real self would have a pristine credit history. My real self hasn’t been bitch slapped around by greedy, predatory banks or a medically related bankruptcy and isn’t saddled with suffocating student loans. My real self isn’t soiled with the indignity of paying a phone bill more than 30 days late or trying and failing at a small business. My real self is fresh and innocent. My real self could maybe even get a mortgage!

Then, all my real self would have to do is murder my adopted self. My financially soiled, struggling, paycheck-to-paycheck-living adopted self. An identity that shines and falls in seven year increments – at least according to the three major credit bureaus. Yes, my adopted self has *gasp* bounced checks in the past (making the bank a fortune in overdraft fees by the way) and has had disputes with creditors – many that resulted from THEIR errors, but they pin the blame on you anyway (because you’re just a person and they’re a giant, bureaucratic corporation* who always wins). Yes, my real self would choke the last breaths out of my failed, adopted self, then have him cremated and eulogized. It would not go unsaid that there lays a sad and exhausted consumer identity, whose dreams were crushed and spirit broken. He’s probably better off this way. My adopted identity would be put to rest, unforgiven by TransUnion, soaked with tears, but suffering no more. Real me would start life anew – unshackled, respected and with an 800+ credit rating. Nobody would ever know. Why? Because it’s ME! That’s why! Is it fraud if my new, fake identity is the real me with the real birth certificate? Well…is it???

*Still a person apparently. At least according to Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.


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