Tag Archives: insurance

Identity crisis

“All of me…
Why not take all of me?
Can’t you see?
I’m no good without you.
Take my lips…
I want to lose them!
Take my arms
I’ll never use them!”

I’ve always loved this song.  Best of all when Lily Tomlin sings it in the movie.  I like it as much as when Tony Bennett croons “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”  I guess I’ve always enjoyed the idea of parts of me being lost to passion.

But somehow the passion of greed doesn’t enter into that fantasy.  Like, say, losing my identity to the lowest kind of white collar criminal.

My husband and I are enrolled in the local Citizen’s Police Academy, which has been quite fascinating.  Especially when you get to wander around the evidence room and peek in the prisoner toilet (don’t worry, no one was making use of it at the time.)

Our lecturer yesterday evening was in charge of the Investigations Department, and during his talk he highly recommended that everyone have identity theft insurance.  This got my drawers in a twist, but I managed to shrug it off and focus on his presentation which covered the number of violent crimes committed in our community last year and how one might go about solving them.  

FYI- if you need to bludgeon someone to death but are unable to procure yourself some gloves, use a bumpy rock as the police will be unable to lift your fingerprints off of it.

On the way home though, the thing that sprang to my mind was not the crime scene photo of a decaying corpse but my irritation at the suggestion of identity insurance.  I still cannot precisely articulate my emotional position (my intellectual position is something along the lines of: “Sigh.  What else.”) but I realize that I am getting closer to complete awareness of where I stand on this important issue.

It goes something like, “You have to be f&%#ing kidding.  I’M going to pay YOU so that I get to maintain control over the ONLY g-d thing in this world that TRULY belongs to me, during my life and beyond the grave?  I’m going to hand over wads of cash so that I get to continue being me instead of some lowlife immoral F#$% being me?”

Only I’m a lot angrier about it in private.

The idea that I would have to fight to re-establish the fact that I am me and that I have only done the things that I have really done, only bought the things I’ve bought… this conflict strikes me as fundamentally absurd.  I’m not denying that it happens, or that the threat is real.  I am sickened by the fact that we all carry on every day even though it happens, that many of us choose to submit to insurance sharks, that an authority figure in the police station would recommend that we pay to protect ourselves, INSTEAD OF TURNING THE SYSTEM UPSIDE DOWN SO THAT THERE IS JUSTICE.

Sorry, didn’t mean to yell.

I don’t have a whole lot in this world.  I have my kids, and they are the greatest thing I will ever have, but I don’t truly possess them because ultimately they are their own individual selves who will grow up to steer their own destinies.  Someday when they are big something will “steal” them from me, whether it is a spouse or a career or their own kids, and that’s how it should be.

I own some cool toys, like a computer and a van and a few shelves full of books, but I recognize that all the physical stuff is ephemeral and I have to enjoy it while I can because it could disappear at any moment, and anyway, I can’t bring it along.

All I really have is my reputation, my integrity, my identity.  How have we evolved a system in which it is possible for this basic unit of selfhood to be stolen?  And how is it that we allow it to be so inhumanly difficult for someone who has done nothing wrong to prove that they are actually the victim?  

And how can we allow people to PROFIT off of this absurd situation?

“Your goodbye left me with eyes that cry.
How can I go on, dear, without you?
You took the part that once was my heart,
So why not take all of me?”

But leave my ID alone, thanks all the same.

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Insuring against reality

Ads for insurance assail us ceaselessly.  We discuss and debate the best companies, rates, deductibles.  We maneuver the labyrinth of policies and hope to emerge in a perfectly safe place where our lives are protected from any conceivable disaster.

But it’s the nature of insurance that gets me.  Doesn’t an insurance policy essentially reflect that the individual carrier has no community on which to depend in an emergency?  Doesn’t it mean that all I have is my house, and if it burns down then there is nothing else in this world for me?  No one will take me in or help me rebuild or otherwise shelter me from the elements.

Supposedly having insurance demonstrates individual responsibility.  I send all this money to people I don’t even know so as not to be a burden to those I love if I ever have needs.  But what if you were to give all those various insurance premiums to someone whose house had burnt down?  By that altruistic act, wouldn’t you be insuring that there would be folks who would help you out in turn, should you ever need it?

Do we not trust each other?

We like the idea that we are protected by our policies so that we aren’t at the mercy of family, friends and community, so we send our protection money to… strangers?  We hope that these unknown persons in the guise of insurance agents will deign to show up at the scene of our emergency, ask us a bunch of personal and accusatory questions, and then decide whether or not they will give us the help for which we have been faithfully sending them all that money.  This makes us sleep better at night?

When did we decide to progress to a stage in civilization where a contract is a closer, more dependable bond than blood and camaraderie (I invoke here the 19th century definition of camaraderie as “a feeling of close friendship and trust among a group of people”)? 

We feel better that strangers decide who gets what help?  That they get the interest on the money sitting in wait of a disaster to relieve?  

I don’t claim to have the answer to this dilemma, nor do I necessarily believe it is possible for us in our modern world to take care of each other’s crises in the manner to which we have grown accustomed.  

I am just bothered by the whole idea, and saddened that there does not appear to be a less corporate, more community-oriented way to feel safer in our reality.

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Filed under society