‘What’s your date of birth’ seems to have become the way ultra-modern society - Brit society, as least – checks identity these days.
|Forget birthdays ... Who needs passports or even remembering details about your ID? Get a tattoo. When officials ask for personal details, just slip an arm under their noses. Photo by Dave Goudreau on Unsplash and many thanks to Dave and model and Unsplash.|
Turn up at a hospital, ask your GP’s office to do something, ask anywhere official for help, and that’s the chant we hear.
What’s your date of birth?
I stood for what seemed ages in a long, long NHS queue at a prominent hospital.
A grumpy nurse demanded - no please or thank you - the birthdates of person after person.
After a long, long wait hearing a succession of birthdates, scores and scores of them, it was my turn for the brief interrogation. I had a question or two for her.
Why book everyone at the same time? Why not staggered times?
Her withering look somehow encouraged a prompt from my long-deceased grandmother, a stickler for good manners. ‘Only a common person would ask a question like that. One should not encourage such misbehaviour.‘
‘What about my email address?’ I suggested. ‘Or postal code, the appointment number in the NHS invitation?
Her expression suggested it was fortunate that a scalpel wasn’t within reach.
‘Don’t deal with peasants,’ the voice from the past advised, and in spite of the very long wait at the quite distant hospital, I followed the advice from childhood, and walked away.
Out in the fresh air with pride satisfied, I realised that it might have been better to recall a wise pointer from a few year’s later in Vietnam War training. ‘First think through any individual manoeuvre you’re planning.’
Did I want to score a point for a grandmother’s memory or might I have preferred the medical check that I’d set out for about three hours earlier …
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