I drove to my credit union to put some jingle in my jeans. I gave the teller my name. A new hire, she seemed confused and asked for my account number. “I’m Mr. 12345!”
She punched it into her keyboard. She gave me a hard look. “Please verify with the last four digits of your Social Security number.” She checked her screen and counted out my cash.
Driving home, I was ticked. After four decades of membership, they robbed me of my name. I had to prove who I was with numbers.
To be fair, the teller simply did her job. It was a hot day. I had shuffled in with my cane, unshaven, dressed in faded Tee shirt and saggy pants. If I’d learn to use an ATM, their brick and mortar operation could be in Antarctica and the issue of my name would be irrelevant.
As I punched the numbers of this transaction into my home computer, I got curious. So what does an average American look like?
I fired up a search engine. A billion Americans live on the two continents of North and South America. When you crunch the numbers, this is the picture you get of an average American.
This average American is twenty-five years old with a brown skin. This average American is bilingual in the primary American languages of Spanish, French, English or Portuguese. They might also speak one of the original American languages like Inuit, Cherokee, Navaho, Mayan or Gullah. This average American lives in one of eighty cities with several million people, like Sao Paulo, Rio, Lima, Mexico City, Chicago, Port au Prince or Montreal. This average American uses a handheld digital device to communicate with family and friends as well as take care of necessary business.
My driver’s license picture looks nothing like an average American. The other card I carry gives me creditable identity as a US’er - a USA-American. Good thing I have a fourteen digit credit card with an additional three digit security verification number on the back!
It’s a big wide wonderful world we live in!