The Modern Man Dilemma

“Who are you?”
You’d think that’s one of the easy questions, one of those inquiries you’ll always have a default answer for; “I’m X and I do Y.”
You’d use a name to identify a soul, and a position to mark your usually unfulfilled ambition, and then you’d sit back and relax, for that’s a question, unlike many, you can respond to correctly.
But you’re wrong.
Your name doesn’t mean anything; it’s a combination of letters set together in a particular order your culture agreed is acceptable. If you’re lucky, your name would be one of those you can trace and find a significance for, although the significance is almost always irrelevant. Your name is a repeated pattern that, without a face, doesn’t even deserve the capitalization. Your name doesn’t tell me who you are. It doesn’t tell me what you stay up all night thinking of. It doesn’t tell me how your heart aches. It doesn’t tell me if you find the moon beautiful. Your name is empty.
Your job doesn’t tell me if you’re happy, it doesn’t tell me how you got where you are, it doesn’t narrate your story, it doesn’t talk of your struggles, it doesn’t admit your shame, your pride, your loneliness, your stupidity.
And then you’d expose, or hide, a number; thinking your 35 years of living mean anything significantly different than another’s 17. You’d think the quantity guarantees the quality. You’d think you’ve got all the answers.
But you’re wrong.
When I ask you who you are, please, pretty please, reply with your favorite flavor of ice cream, tell me about your ex, curse the universe for being so unfair, cry, make a statement, scream, kiss me, tell me to fuck off.
When I ask you who you are, please, pretty please, show me something you drew, spit on the floor, tell me you cannot sing, ask me for forgiveness, lie to my face and lie good.
When I ask you who you are, please, pretty please, tell me you’re scared of death, tell me your parents disappointed you, tell me the sunset is overrated, reveal a secret.
But please, pretty please, don’t tell me your name.


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