Life on a string


Published: Tuesday, January 24, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 23, 2006 at 10:16 p.m.
As far as I'm concerned, the hanging of an ID card around my neck is the equivalent of having a "Kick me!" sign taped to my back. Don't much care for either one.
Nor do I suffer "Hello, I'm an idiot" stickers being slapped onto my chest at meetings or class reunions. Trying to figure out who you're dancing with at the 50th anniversary of your graduation from high school is half the fun. Trying to picture him with hair is the other half.
"Hey! I know you. Weren't you Betty Boop?" Well, yes and as far as you and my parole officer know, I still am. Worse than that is when an official greeter asks where my "Hello" tag might be. She's always shocked at my answer.
Airline folks, of course, need to be identified because they're always going through airport doors marked "No Admittance." The reason for that is twofold: first the company wants to make sure bin Laden isn't trying to blow up the employee's restroom, and second, behind those private doors is where the crews are sleeping as they wait for a paycheck to clear or a busted airplane to be fixed.
Our tiny village high school has recently issued ID neckwear for all of its teachers in case no one recognizes them after lunchroom duty. We've had terrible problems with suicide bombers, lately. What a bother.
But some folks like all of this labeling - that way the herd is kept in check. Know what's next? Branding?
"Halt! Who goes there?" "It's me, Susie the science teacher." "Prove it." Susie drops her drawers to display the GHS on her backside - and is fired on the spot for cellulite.
Hanging junk around one's neck is not new. In the 17th century, the Duchess de La Valliere (who just happened to be the mistress of Louis XIV) took to wearing dangly things around her neck - hence the word: lavaliere. My Grandmother Parker left one of hers to me. It's gold filigree with a small pearl and an even smaller diamond. Pretty thing that I have worn over the years - even when it wasn't in style.
Recently, my colleagues at the college have taken to wearing things on long black ribbons around their necks. They're called "thumb drives" and if that's what Louie's handing out now instead of hanging rubies, and cascading pearls, times are really tough.
What's happening here, I guess, is that a secret organization has taken over the faculty lounge. No thumb drive - no dougnuts.
The other day I asked one of the teachers why he had that thing around his neck. "You can save a gazillion files on one of these babies," he answered proudly. "Everything I've ever done is on here." Imagine that.
Recently, I was on the phone with my son - he calls me from airports rather than spring a buck for a magazine - and I was laughing about such foolishness. Who'd want to wear her whole life around her neck? My son interrupted my cackles and asked me where mine was.
"My what?" "Your thumb drive?" "No way." "Oh, yes way. I helped you copy all of your stories onto one a while back." "That's a thumb drive? Does it still work if I'm not wearing it around my neck?"
There are sighs of exasperation from Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International when I confess the little bugger lives in my desk drawer and that I tried to use it once but couldn't find an appropriate computer hole in which to stick it.
No point into going into his response. An emerald on a chain is one thing - a hunk of plastic with my history embedded is another. And there are some things I will not do - even for a jelly doughnut. A thumb drive around my neck is one.
Imagine - life on a string. What a nonevent.
Elizabeth Schuett writes for Cox News Service.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Comments are currently unavailable on this article

▲ Return to Top