The year was 1995. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my short seventeen years of life. It was neater than any Nintendo game, more badass than the Beastie Boys, more bodacious than The Boz, and more precious than pizza delivered straight to your door. The first time I saw it, it spoke to me. It was like finding the Holy Grail. I felt as if it were a soup can attached to the wax string that ran directly to God’s bedroom.

I had lost my driver’s license and was in need of a replacement. As I rummaged through the drawer of my mom’s files at our home which contained important information such as birth certificates, social security cards, and old checks (which I used to trace my mom’s signature when I got bad notes home from school). I flipped past the various documents and that’s when I saw it. It was my brother’s birth certificate, right there paired alongside his social security number. The legal documents of someone who was legal to buy cold beer anywhere they sold it. This was big.

As a seventeen-year-old troublemaker with aspirations of leaving for college so that I could pursue a career of drunkenness and a better life through science and chemicals, there was nothing more precious than the legal information of a twenty-one-year-old, who just happened to be my brother.

I went to the DMV, got my replacement driver’s license, and immediately returned to the line to get a fake one. Just as bold, ignorant, and moronic as a teenage kid can possibly be, I went through the line twice, back-to-back, as if going back for seconds in a buffet that was serving food for deviant little bastards.

At that time, there was no electronic database containing pictures. No one had any real way of knowing what my brother looked like in comparison to myself. I simply gave the people at the DMV my information, they entered it into the computer, and all that was required was my signature.

A single signature was all that was required to be whomever I wanted to be in 1995. No one had any way of knowing who I really was. It is an odd thing when I look back at it. There was so little information. There was almost no way of really knowing someone’s true identity.

Oddly enough, with all of the technological advances and different ways to identify one another, true identities are even harder to nail down. Sure, it is easier to find out who someone is legally, but it is significantly harder to pinpoint who someone really is. We play a lot of different character behind the veil of the internet and are capable of assuming whatever personality we like as soon as the computer screen lights up.

Often I get so caught up in trying to play the role of someone else that I forget whose name is on my birth certificate. My identity is often as paper thin as the social security card that I used to replace my driver’s license. It is so easy to get caught up in trying to be someone else because I want their job, their car, or maybe I just want to buy some beer when I know I am not supposed to.

It is never a bad time to take a look in the mirror and remember who I am, where I came from, and where I am going. It is always the right time to assume my own identity and sharpen it. When the signature is required, I want to make sure that it is my own.

Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,