I got a frightening piece of news last week.
The coffee chain that employs me has made the decision to implement name tags.
Holy hell, someone get me a fainting couch.
It was through Twitter that I learned of this new development, when a friend posted a picture of her brightly-colored tag and thanked the Powers That Be for chalk markers.
Initially, I was angry. After all, I did my time in a fast food joint as a teenager and wore my name pinned to my chest like a moron. Eventually, after becoming sufficiently creeped out by strangers addressing me by name, I changed my tag so it read “Crispy Chicken”.
Wise move, I’d say.
I thought after all these years, I’d risen above the need for public identification. In spite of my obvious need for attention, I treasure the comfort of anonymity and quite frankly enjoy the public ignorance I receive daily. I enjoy attention, but only on my terms and only in small doses. Forcing me to identify myself in the workplace robs me of that comfort.
I don’t want the aggressive homeless folks with which I grapple to be able to yell my name on the street. The idea simply makes me feel uncomfortable.
Also, there was no warning from the company ahead of time. What, with all those multiple millions of dollars you couldn’t find the budget to send out a memo to your employees to let them know you’d soon be tagging them like cattle?
I posted my aversion to abiding by such a rule on Twitter and what ensued was a hilarious conversation between myself and two friends also employed by the same company.
By the end of everything, I found myself actually looking forward to the freedom I could find in writing on my own name tag. After all, who says I have to write my actual name down?
I can be ANYBODY.
A silent film star from the 1920s.
A male action star from the 2000s.
A literary genius of my choosing.
I could even be Leonard Cohen.
With this veritable cornucopia of choices laid out before me, I am no longer dreading venturing in to work and finding a blank name tag waiting for me. Rather, I will embrace my company’s need to define its employees and take this opportunity to live out all my wildest fantasies. No, I’m not Jen, the legendary Toronto coffee wench. I’m Aristotle! I’m Alexander the Great! I’m Marilyn Monroe!
And damn it, you know for a fact I’m Doctor Who.