Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Cindy S. St. Onge
Writer & Pilgrim

Do any of us know anything about ourselves that we weren't told by other people?

I made a fuss months ago when my boss printed business cards for me. I'm the receptionist, I told him, what do I need cards for? He couldn't understand, I mean really couldn't understand my hangup with wasting paper and ink for business cards for the receptionist. I told him that everyone's cards have my number on them. Do clients need my card to call me in order to make an appointment with me so that they can then schedule an appointment with a practitioner? How fucking roundabout is that?

Besides the redunancy and uselessness of my card--and what I didn't tell him, was that business cards are like little headstones, tiny gravemarkers we give away to strangers and new acquaintences in a gesture which says, "I want you to remember me this way." A thick stock retangle that sums our lives up to that moment. An embossed snapshot of accomplishment and accreditation.

I'm not a receptionist. It's what I do, not who I am.

Back in the day, when one had to hire out the design and printing of business cards, it was a big deal to have them. And believe you me, receptionists and their ilk didn't have them. Calling cards were proof of prestige, position, bearing the names, titles, and numbers of people with careers, not the peasantry who were just holding down jobs. Now, in this age of desktop publishing, calling cards have achieved a fecund ordinariness, like driver's licences and social security numbers.

But at the end of the day, they're still little tombstones, summing us up and declaring our own separate plots in this world.

Claiming the sweet spot under the giant oak,



Anonymous Travis Morgan said...

Excellent points. I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks this way. Though I even go further, and I ponder on our own names labeling us summing us up. Names, words, titles, labels...pointing to substance, ourselves, yet we are always changing every moment which must then change the definition of the names which label us... ect, ect...I could go on and on. Great post, I can appreciate and relate to the thought.

6:58 PM  

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