Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Cape Canaveral, Florida 28º24.51N | 80º37.655W

I stood in the Cape Canaveral Walgreen's in a cold sweat. It was clear to me that someone was trying to steal my identity.

Unfortunately it was me.

I was attempting to fill a prescription, but during our long absence from the country my insurance card had been mailed to my P.O. box in Delaware. I called Blue Cross Blue Shield to get my member number.

It took four minutes of arguing with the automated voice mail system to get through to a human.

"What is your member number," the human asked.

"Um, I don't have it. That's why I'm calling."

"Okay, no problem. Whose name is the policy under?"


It had been so long since we had used it, I couldn't remember if it was under me or Chip. I got it wrong the first time. Suspicion level yellow.

"Okay, can you verify the phone number on the account?"



That might be easy enough for people living normal lives, but for the twangled life of a wanderer it's a real problem. The correct answer could have been the wine shop we owned -- and worked from -- when we got the insurance policy. It could have been either of our now-defunct cell phones. I struggled through, trying to exude the confidence I lacked, and guessed right on the third try. Suspicion level orange.

I successfully retrieved the insurance card number only to be told by Walgreen's that they needed an additional number for prescriptions. Repeat previous paragraph straining to remember the correct answers.

Finally, with prescription number in hand, I returned to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription.

"Okay, to verify, we just need the address on the account."

AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!! This multiple choice question had even more possibilities: our old house, long since sold, the apartment we rented for four months, the house we rented for five months, the wine shop, the Delaware P.O. box.

"Is it a North Carolina address?" I asked, playing 20 questions.


Fortunately the phone rang just then, so I had several minutes to ramble through my jumbled brain searching for the correct answer. I was pretty sure it was our house, but what was the address?? It had been three addresses and two years since then. Think. Think. Suspicion and stress level RED.

Just as the clerk hung up the phone, I remembered the name of our street. (I always work better on a deadline.)

"Sir Chandler!" I practically shouted, channeling Rain Man.

She handed over the drugs, and I fled, my identity but not my nerves intact.

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