Monday, May 15, 2017


"I live to stamp, sir."

"Oh?" I wasn't sure what, if anything, I should object to - living versus existing, 'stamping' being a play on 'serving', or even the double-whammy of changing 'live' to 'love', which only raised the issue of a created being's ability to feel love.

"Would you please present your identification?" the machine stated, snapping me from my musings.

"I'm sorry, I've lost my identification - in fact, that's why I'm here. I need a new identification card."

"No entry without identification. Please present your identification."

"I would like to speak with a human."

"I'm capable of taking care of all duties at this desk, sir."

"Only if those duties involve stamping though, right?"

"I live to stamp, sir."

"Right," I sighed. "Where can I get a new identification?"

"Our fifth street office is equipped to serve all your needs."

"Are you implying that you can help me, or do you think you're in another office?"

For once, it seemed like I had stumped the mechanical man. I watched patiently as it seemed to process my question. Finally, it stirred.

"Please present your identification."

Every second of the past two days erupted from me at that request. I half jumped, half climbed over the counter and began to wrench the stamp arm of the machine from its socket. It protested with a feeble "Please remain calm," but I was long past listening to its requests.

Finally triumphant in dislodging its arm, I exhaled a growl of accomplishment. I looked around to see what scene I'd caused, but the other customers looked blankly ahead, not wanting to engage.

I returned to my side of the counter.

"I'd like a new identification card."

"Please present your identification."

"What do you want out of life?"

"I live to stamp, sir."

"Well, it seems we're both out of luck.

[written January 2017]

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