This column first ran on July 19, 2016 B.T. (Before Trump):
Imagine this. You go to some bureaucratic office to get some official form. You’re told you’ll need three forms of identification. You calmly smile and say, “My ass.”
It would be my dream come true. I’m talking about the future, of course, when we’ll all be able to get a chip holding all our information implanted somewhere under the skin — let’s say the fatty area near the hip — and would never have to fumble for our credit cards, or drivers’ licenses, or search high and low for proof of birth, marriage, divorce, insurance, etc.
All of our senior discounts and credit card “points” could be simplified. You could walk into an el station, a movie theater, or any other place that gives a discount or wants you to carry a fistful of coupons. After a quick scan, the money — minus the discount and plus any confusing points — would come out of the appropriate account. Whoosh.
For instance, every time I go to the doctor, they give me a printout of all my meds. It’s embarrassingly long, but the nurses always remind me that I should carry it everywhere. Really? I try very hard to stay away from heavy handbags. I like to carry only my wallet, keys, phone, pills, inhaler, and Kleenex — no gun — in as small a handbag as possible. I would love to have all the info in my chip hip.
I hate cash. I use my debit card for everything, so the money is gone from my checking account before I get home. I don’t have to dig around when I’m paying for something and I can keep track of where my money goes. Plus I usually don’t have to figure out where to keep those odious paper receipts.
A lot of my friends prefer to pay all their bills and actually balance their checkbooks at the end of the month. Then they complain about the paperwork or about gathering records at the end of the year to do their taxes. I do my taxes online and love it. The best step, of course, would be to have the government somehow access my records through my chip, do the math, deduct their money, and leave me the hell out of it. Yes, I’m one of those people who trusts the government. Why? Every time I think they’ve made a mistake, I’ve been wrong, so why bother?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not in love with technology. I choke back hot, salty tears whenever I have to upgrade my phone or computer or change a password, and I actually did cry when Comcast sent me a new box. Most of the time I don’t do the recommended upgrades, trying to avoid anything new and puzzling, and wind up suffering the consequences. Often someone will generously say, “Let me show you how to do this,” or “It’s easy, all you have to do is …” and I want to say, again, “My ass.” (Promise, that phrase will not become a staple of this column.)
I don’t expect to live long enough to see the chip in my hip. But if I can order a book online and have it appear on my Kindle in less than a minute, I’m pretty sure it will happen.