Identity in a box

I have realized when I go to fill out pretty much any application, be it for employment, a loan, school paperwork or surveys that it seems more and more there a boxes to be completed. The majority of the time my full name, nicknames, address, phone, birthday, age range, social security number, references, medications, surgeries, data about my life are all put into boxes.

Questions regarding my health, my abilities, legal statuses, likes and dislikes are all neatly put into boxes. Even if I am applying for a job I have to put my resume in a box. It’s like people feel they can know someone through these boxes. I have to check my marital status, gender, salary range, age and race. How can you really convey some of this into a box? Why do you need to know my salary range for anything other than a loan? Why is my race and gender needed for more things than a census survey? I am not filling an application out for the CIA but yet very personal questions are asked to be checked on applications. Often times I feel it is a violation of my human rights. I know my only options are to check the boxes or not get what I need that requires this information in the first place.

But seriously, when I am applying for a discount card at a grocery store or pharmacy, I opt out of the household income and race questions. Really, because I am “Caucasian” with a low income does that make me get a different coupon than my Hispanic neighbor who makes a bit more than me? Think about it. Also what about those of us with mixed heritage? I always want to add an “A bit of everything” box for my race. When there is a box marked “sex” instead of gender I always want to put either one of two things: “Not lately” or “Fabulous”. I figure they will get the idea.

People try to fit their lives in neat little boxes. They are organized. It looks nice.

Life isn’t always organized, nice or neat. Sometimes it’s messy, dirty and anything but nice.

So why all the boxes? I often wonder if we had to write more essay answers how we would fare. I understand that there are many who can’t read or write and that filling out applications can be nerve wracking. In that aspect it is understandable to have a basic form to be filled out. I also get you all forms and applications need your name, address and phone number – what I see as the basics.

The best application was for the boy’s school. It was a small book wherein I had to actually write out answers. The difference this was so they could get to know my child better than just me filling in the boxes. Of course I talk to them, but this way each teacher could pull his folder and read what I wrote and question me later. He really doesn’t eat bread? No, any help on that and I will bake you a cake. He loves broccoli? Yes but try and get him to eat a salad and he will not only act like you are trying to get him to eat poison, but if you actually do get him to “try” a bite be prepared for him to spit it straight out – I am working on that one!

I’ve filled out countless applications in my life thus far and they all have the box commonality.

Maybe some find it comforting. Maybe I am the weird one even thinking about this. Surely I can’t be the only one! I think it’s because I’ve never liked being put into a box. Literally or figuratively!

Strange, odd and off topics for you to ponder! Welcome to my mind!

Have a fabulous day and keep hope alive!


Does anyone else think about odd things like this?!


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