me yesterday. I am still not sure how you do this. Knowing that you are yourself is not the answer. It is who other people think you are that is the critical question in some circumstances.
The problem arose because my signature never looks quite the same twice running. There is not much, if anything, I can do about this. For all my adult life I have had an up-to-date passport to use as a form of ID when necessary.
Last week I had to sign some documents relating to my simple financial affairs. I have very little money. It is, I hope, invested wisely. Once in a while there is a review of my affairs. I sign forms and hear nothing more for another twelve months. Yesterday I had a 'phone call. It purported to come from the authority which deals with these things. Could they check some details?
No, I told them, they could not. Why? I had no idea who I was talking to. The person at the other end offered a telephone number for me to call back. No, not good enough - although, in retrospect, I could have checked the actual number in the reverse telephone directory. Nevertheless I was wary. I still did not know the person.
Well, how was I going to prove my identity? I asked why I had to prove my identity yet again. They had seen my "Proof of Age Card" - which is my daily form of photo-identity as I do not have a licence to drive - the thing used by most people..
It is actually quite difficult to get a "Proof of Age Card". You need to show several forms of ID in order to get one. My passport was one of the forms of ID I had to show - again because I did not have a licence to drive. The "Proof of Age Card" was actually just as difficult to get as my passport. It should do for any purpose within Australia. It has my photograph on it. Possession of it says I am an adult. It says I am old enough to vote.
No, not good enough I was told. They needed something which proved I was me. I pointed out they had a certified copy of my birth certificate and told them they should check what documentation I had needed to provide to get the "Proof of Age" card. No, still not good enough. They wanted me to come in personally. What good, I asked, would that do? It would not prove anything. Anyone could walk in and claim to be me. Well, not if you came in with the "Proof of Age Card" I was told. Oh.
I thought about this and then said,
"No. I am not going to come in with that because you have just informed me that the card is not sufficient."
"Well we cannot do anything for you..."
"Oh yes you can. I am going to get a copy of the relevant page in my passport. I am going to ask the secretary to the local MP, who just happens to be a Justice of the Peace, to certify that it is a photograph of the person she has known as "Cat" for the last twenty-four years" and I will post it to you. Will that do?"
Silence at the other end of the 'phone and then,
"Well, I suppose she knows who you are."