I had read the June 29, 2005, press release from the Missouri Department of Revenue. It said the department was “cracking down on identity theft” with its Show Me Proof program, “consistent with Gov. Matt Blunt’s charge to agency directors to make state government more accessible and responsive.”
I went to renew my driver’s license. I presented my legal documents.
The clerk explained:
I could no longer use my Social Security number on my license. She issued me a new system-generated number.
I could no longer use my post office box address. She typed my physical address.
I must give up the name I’d been using for the past 15 years. Her actual words: “Lots of women are having to give up their names.”
The clerk replaced my current middle name with the one on my birth certificate.
The name she’d just typed did not match the name on my Social Security card, my tax returns, my checking account, my credit cards, my voter card, my home business, or my published books.
The clerk firmly repeated that she was following procedures.
Then she took my picture without my glare-producing glasses. I haltingly signed my new, unfamiliar name.
I surrendered my old license and walked out, clutching my renewal. On it is the new identity I’ve been issued by the state.
Van Buren, Mo.