What’s in a name … uh, signature?

No matter who you are, you want to be someone else.

C’mon, tell the truth … don’t you secretly want to be a cowboy? Or a dolphin trainer? Or George Clooney? Or maybe just thinner, or heavier or better at starting a conversation?

I (not so secretly) always wanted to be a professional musician. I picture myself up there playing guitar alongside Eric Clapton or Stevie Ray Vaughn. Knockin’ ’em dead with my solos. Climbing the speaker towers to the amazement of my screaming fans. Of course, it would help if I could, first, make a G chord.

What’s with us, anyway? The phrase, “Snap out of it” comes to mind. But it doesn’t have to.

I retired about two years ago and moved up here to Adirondack Park — far away from anyone who knows me. And I remember thinking, “Now you can be anyone you want to be.” Of course, I was wrong for the most part. But I have become someone that I wasn’t — friendlier, more open to new adventures, eager to meet new people. Hell, I’ve even begun showing interest in cooking of all things — unfathomable! But I’m basically the same … just not always.

Before you start thinking that I’m bi-polar or schizophrenic, hear me out.

I went into Kinney Drugs in Tupper Lake a while ago to pick up a few things. (If you don’t mind, let me take a minute to acknowledge one of the friendliest, most helpful staffs I’ve ever come across in a retail establishment — especially Daryl, the pharmacist.) If the grand total had come in under $100, I’d have paid with cash as I normally do. But since a few prescriptions were among the items on my list, the total was well over my cash limit, so I whipped out a credit card.

I don’t know about you, but I still don’t know when I have to sign my name when buying on credit and when it isn’t necessary. Further, I don’t know what the point of signing either on a paper receipt or an electronic screen is … you just need to scribble pretty much anything and you’re good to go. It’s not like the card company is looking at the accuracy of your signature anymore to make sure it was you. As I picked up the pen to sign, I thought to myself, “Hell, I could be George Clooney and just sign it that way if I wanted to.” Hey, wait a minute!

Remember how this needlessly long ramble started? With everyone wanting to be someone else? My opportunity just presented itself on Demars Boulevard. So, with my worst penmanship, I signed George Clooney. Of course, it looked nothing like Mr. Clooney’s signature … like all other signatures, it was just a scribble. What it DID do, however, was allow me to be someone I’m not, albeit in a brief, cheap, meaningless, borderline legal way. But here’s the fun part — after I signed, I felt and behaved like George Clooney.

Suddenly, I walked taller. I was dressed in a tuxedo. I smiled and waved at everyone as if I had just strolled off the red carpet. If I didn’t think I’d get slapped and berated I would have winked at the women I passed. When I got to my car, it was transformed into a Porsche, not the 2010 Toyota Prius with the missing bumper that I had driven into the Kinney parking lot. Yes, I had become George Clooney until I walked in the door and saw someone who actually knew me — my wife — who was NOT Amal, but was just as beautiful, smart and sexy! (My wife reads my column.) Ever since that fateful day, I look forward to being asked to sign my name for credit. Oh, I’ve been many, many different people…David Bowie, Walter White, Yosemite Sam, Olivia de Havilland (signing in drag is tricky, and especially challenging afterward when I’m trying to act like a woman). You should try it … it’s VERY liberating.

Who knows? If enough of us do it, maybe the credit card companies will do away with signing altogether. They’ll trust us to be who we truly are without a proper signature, like Prince.

Boy, now I have GOT to learn to make that G chord!


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