A Name

It’s recently been suggested to me that we should think of names as simply the worded unit tied to credit card transactions and credit ratings. When a name is born it has no credit, and as the name ages and hopefully matures, the name undertakes credit transactions and is given a credit rating. The name will then be evaluated throughout its life based on the decisions it makes each time it is a recipient of credit. After a name has died, the record of the name’s credit transactions in life will either be transferred to a name’s heirs or be expurgated.


The cases in which a name decides to change its name—for political, religious, or personal reasons or for reasons of vanity—are immensely troubling for all members of the public sphere, especially for credit operators. One has to be careful when one changes their name, and be conscientious of the disorder it may wreak. Something as simple as a one letter alteration in a name can result in machine error. The great convenience of the name, a relatively small piece of text which is constant throughout one’s life and throughout one’s credit transactions, is lost when one decides, wily-nily, to alter it.


Another source has explained to me the use of the name even more convincingly: we all require names to keep accurate records of the criminal suspects around us. Your name is what must be recalled by investigators if you’re a subject in the investigation of a crime. (We must remember that names were a technology achieved before modern advancements in closed circuit television.) If you did not have a name it would be impossible for investigators to identify you and your credit transactions after someone had accused you. If none of us had names, investigations would be traced primarily without the aid of informants and as a result most would rather quickly unravel into disarray.


(One example where a name is not needed in a criminal investigation is the lineup. The lineup is a real-world process of elimination where suspects are identified by their face. Though police officers retain the names of each of the suspects—which correspond to a numbered card that each suspect clutches—the witness only has the aid of her memory to identify the face of the correct individual. The lineup can be thought of as a kind of multiple choice question posed to the witness; curiously enough, a majority of lineups contain four suspects, in addition to the option of none of the above.)


On a similar note: a name is what unites one’s medical records. Issues may occur when a licensed professional has conflated one’s medical records with those of another individual. Individuals may be subjected to unnecessary surgeries, costing the mistaken patient bodily harm and costing the presiding surgeon much embarrassment. Other individuals, who are mentally ill and for their own safety have signed contracts requesting their own instructions not be followed by medical professionals no matter how much they protest, have gone on to lose limbs or internal organs by doctors who have mistaken their records with those of another individual. At the very least, before surgery, medical professionals should ask to see a driver’s license and a receipt of their last one hundred credit card transactions to confirm the identity of the subject that is in their care.

When greeting a new individual it is polite to ask for their name—the name which first was written on their birth certificate. This is not only to display curiosity about the person, but to retrieve important legal information in case they become your creditor (or you become theirs), they become a suspect in a public investigation, or a patient that will be in your care.


The name should be thought of as the world’s shortest legal contract. The name that one signs on a will or a deed of trust, though it will be the most thoughtless writing that one commits to paper, shall be the most impactful writing that one ever undertakes. It should be considered no surprise that even in these days of advanced technology, banking institutions still prefer if the name which is written on a will is signed with a large steelpoint pen because—as industry insiders say—no substance stains one’s name more distinctly than ink.

Normal, ILlinois