As Agent J whose identity was scratched out and re-booted in the 1997 Hollywood Blockbuster “Men in Black”, the men in this picture await for passengers whose identity, as far as they are concerned, is simply reduced to a name in a placard.


How will a driver actually know that the person they were supposed to pick up is the correct one? If all they have to go by is a name, what stops somebody else from coming along and simply saying “Hi I am Mr Clark”, for instance.


What is to keep someone with the exact same name being picked up by a driver and taken to a destination that is not their own?


I have to admit that I have had the temptation many times, had I had the needed time on my hands, to explore where such an adventure of taking on someone else's identity would lead me to.


The internet lends itself in a way to something akin to such an experience, with the added advantage that you can get out of this given adventure, at any moment you choose to. I for instance, never know if the person I am writing to in a chat or an email is who they say the are, or who I imagine them to be.


People tell me all the time about such dangers, being very aware of the ease to adopt a false identity in the internet, yet they acknowledge little of the fact that in real life we can easily be fooled as well, as it can be the case of the “Men in Black” in the picture above.


The funniest thing happened to me once. I was a the post office picking up certified mail when the man in charge asked me for a form of identification. In jest, I pulled out of my shirt pocket a passport picture I happened to be carrying around that day. The man took a look at the picture, glanced at my face, made sure I looked like the photograph, and then promptly handed me over the registered letter. He just asked me to a sign a form confirming I had received the piece mail. In a sense, a photograph of myself became prove of my identity.


I wonder how does any of this differ with the drivers picking unknown passengers at the airport?


Share with us your own stories of identity and photographs.


Pedro Meyer
Mexico City
February 2011



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