[Author's Note: When I
found out Social Security had issued me the same social security number as
another woman with the same name, birth date and father's name, I figured it
wouldn't be a cakewalk getting myself digitally separated from this numeric
soul twin. But for as easy it is to screw something so critical up, you'd think
Social Security would be bending over backwards to try to help me get a number
of my own. Not like this institution is going to be providing much in the way
padding in my later years, but the idea of fighting over crumbs upon retirement
with The Other did not ring pleasant upon my ears. Constantly facing loan and
credit card rejections for The Other's bad credit history was no carnival
either. The process of becoming a unique and separate entity with a clean
credit and employment history of my own may not leave you on the edge of your
seat. However, I hope it shocks you, upsets you and inspires you to name your
child something ridiculous enough not to be imitated. ]
Dateline, Nov. 1, 1970
Five days were up. We were still stuck
in the hospital, mom and I. Still, no name. Thinking...thinking... Heather?
Amber? Not swinging enough, too freaky. How about something more pop, something
eaassy on the ears, something nobody will make fun of. Something you can
reduce, alter, adjust according to mood, social standing and fashion of the
"Got it. !#IY$I#O !Q)(%). Bingo." "Got it. !#IY$I#O !Q)(%).
The echoes rang down the hall into the next delivery room.
Signed, stamped and swaddled, I left the hospital, unknown to my parents
that replication had occurred. Two identical names, birth dates and like
father's names were cranked into U.S. department of Social Security's data
storehouses. Whether manually chosen or churned out by a hand cranked machine,
out came one number for Baby x and Baby y. One number. Two entities. There we
were bound by numbers as we set off into a history of taxable income, car
purchases, mortgages and student loans, creating a matrix of interwoven
My digital Siamese Twin was not to be fully revealed for
three whole decades.