With the controversy still raging over the TalkTalk cyber-attack still in the news, I remembered a short piece "False Identity" that Clare Stelling wrote for the group a while ago. It is highly relevant with the brouhaha about a person's identity and how can you prove this. I have included the extract below. It is probably based on an actual incident. This still goes on today.
Mrs. Mortimer,late fifties, writes at a table in the centre of the stage. Stage left, Sam, late twenties, enters, and sits in the unoccupied chair, stretching out his legs. Mrs. Mortimer gives him a strange look.
Sam: Is it possible to get a little privacy around here? We should be in an office.
Mrs. Mortimer: That would not be possible. The open space is more user-friendly and customers enjoy the music.
Sam: Vivaldi's Four Seasons.
Mrs Mortimer: You do surprise me.
Sam: People can still overhear what I am saying. Why has it taken more than twenty minutes to see you when all you have been doing is scribbling circles on your note pad?
Mrs Mortimer: You will have to speak more clearly and not mumble. What is this appointment about?
Sam: Well, the cashier at the counter referred me to you because she could not understand what I was speaking of. My father is unable to come to the bank today because he is unwell. I have a cheque here for £1,700, in his name because he has power of attorney for my uncle, and the money is payment for the care home in which my uncle is imprisoned.
Sam hands her a number of papers; Mrs Mortimer studies them.
Mrs Mortimer: These appear to be in order. Have you any identification, sir?
Sam: I brought my birth certificate.
Mrs. Mortimer: I am afraid a birth certificate is not an acceptable form of identification.
Mrs Mortimer: Our regulations clearly state, as your father should have told you, that a passport, identification card, are acceptable forms of identification to prove whom the customer claims he is.
Sam: Why isn't a birth certficate acceptable? It proves I was born in this bloody country. That's been good enough for me so far.
Mrs. Mortimer: Young man, you could have picked the birth certificate up in the street.
Sam: Are you a comedian? I found this birth certificate on the road and seem to know all the background detail of the person named. I can tell you where he lived, what schools he went to, then I make up a story about drawing money from his father's account, and hope that I am not arrested for fraud while I speak with you.
Mrs. Mortimer: I am just following company regulations, sir.
Sam: I fail to see your argument. I told you what I could name about my past. If I was not whom I said I was, how would I know this?
Mrs. Mortimer: You are wasting my time. I have other customers to see.
Sam: What if I gave you my tax returns from my employer?
Mrs. Mortimer: That still does not state who you are.
Sam: How the hell can you have an i.d. card if you have not got a birth certificate in the first place?
Mrs: Mortimer: Don't raise your voice to me. Have you got a bank account?
Sam: No. I do not intend to open one. I always pay in cash so I am not spied on. Do you wonder why people hate banks and building societies?
Mrs. Mortimer: That will be quite enough of that.
Sam: I have not finished, madam. I have no criminal record and I feel like a criminal here because your rules say that I have no identity. That's bullshit! (Stands up). Now, if I remember where I live, I will have to go home, get my father out of bed, and have our next door neighbour drive him here. If I were he, I would draw all my money out of this place.
Mrs. Mortimer: I have told you our position,sir.
Sam: What if I brought a friend in to prove who I am?
Mrs. Mortimer: That would still not suffice. There is a leaflet you can ask for at the counter about what is an acceptable form of identification. I do apologize.
Sam, infuriated, sighs.
Sam: Thanks for nothing, mam. Dad will have something to say about this.
Sam exits angrily, stage left, as Mrs. Mortimer, brushing an invisible strand of hair from her face, looks around to make sure no one has been listening as she picks up her pen as the lights come down.
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