Having an Identity Crisis

By Jenna  Diana Pat Minnelli ’16

Fun fact of the day: I don’t like name tags. Yes, that is a bit sugarcoated. And saying that I thoroughly dislike name tags is a bit of an understatement as well. However, freely stating my opinion on those abominable pieces of identification may require the use of my restricted vocabulary, which may–in fact–be frowned upon. We won’t go there. At least not yet.

I am a self-proclaimed socially awkward human being. This being said, in a group setting, I would much rather remain anonymous than have friendly strangers contorting their mouths into devilish grins as they address me as ‘Jennifer’. Please. For the love of God. If you don’t know me, don’t pretend to be my best friend.

Wearing a name tag for a one time shindig is one thing. Wearing a name tag every single day is yet another. Especially in a setting of only five hundred people, where everyone pretty much knows everyone else anyway. And as an addition, I’d like to point out the fact that I can run into just about anyone from my school on the weekends and know who they are, without having to vigorously search for their badge of identification.

The only purpose my name tag seems to accomplish is to haunt me daily with the beady, possessed eyes of my sophomore year school picture. Maybe this was Mercy’s scheme all along. Perhaps this is all just supposed to serve as a constant reminder of my awkward underclassman years. Whatever the case, the emphasis placed on the importance of name tags needed to stop. So, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I carried out a social experiment.

Last week, my parents went to a dinner downtown, celebrating my dad as one of the honorary members of the Inventors Hall of Fame. I wasn’t invited to the dinner, but I did hear a story or two about the elegant desserts served. This in turn, made me a bit jealous (primarily due to the fact that sweets are the bane of my existence), but I was able to humor myself during the days after the dinner by pretending that I had actually attended. And pretending that I was a different person.

Case in point, my parents had to wear name tags to the event, and I thought it would be a great idea to model them at school. It started out as a harmless joke. In truth, I just wanted to wear the name tag for the car ride in. Just that. Nothing more.

When I walked into school without removing the name tag, I saw it as a perfect opportunity to measure the level of importance Mercy truly placed on name tags.

There were a few people here and there that gave me funny looks. Some people asked me why I was wearing the name tag and what the Inventor’s Hall of Fame was. But, for the most part, wearing a different name tag did–in no way–change my identity.

Having a clip with the name ‘Diana’ or ‘Pat’ printed on it did not cause my friends not to recognize me. Sadly, it didn’t put me incognito either. Which was unfortunate, because I was hoping that it would get me out of taking my AP exams. (“Who is this Pat Minnelli? I’m sorry, young man, but you are not registered to take the AP Bio test. In fact, you aren’t even enrolled in this school. You should just go home.”)

My little experiment got a few laughs out of the general public, but not one person told me to take the name tag off. This is disregarding the fact that the Inventor’s Hall of Fame name tags look absolutely nothing like Mercy name tags. And yet, no one told me that I shouldn’t be wearing it. No one was even concerned for my mental well-being either. Could it have been quite possible that I was going through a phase of soul searching and that I truly didn’t know who I was? Come to think of it, what if I legally changed my name? Would it be wrong of me to lead people into denial by continually wearing my Mercy name tag?

But if you still don’t see my point, I will be the first to tell you that I went down to see the Dean of Discipline while wearing my ‘Pat’ name tag. I did it for the social experiment, of course, and all I did was ask one simple, unrelated question to divert her from my illegal name tag. She happily answered the question, while she completely glossed over the name tag. I did see her eye it briefly, but again, not a word was spoken between us on the matter. She didn’t even hint that she knew I was wearing it.

So, as for the time being, I believe we can set the scoreboard to Jenna/Diana/Pat-1, Name tags-0. Until we are able to get more use out of the name tags (other than helping strangers to make you feel uncomfortable), I believe we can all attempt to avoid any stress which may be associated with them.

Oh, and if you were dying to know, the Seniors won the flag football game. 48-18 🙂

 

 

 

 

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