Do you have an alter ego?
What role does your alter ego play?
My alter ego and writing moniker is Sammy D., short for Sammy Detroit.
Ten years ago, Sammy Detroit emerged under unusual circumstances and quickly became my constant companion. She is my silly, whimsical, artistic, operating-without-underpants self. She gives me a voice and courage that I otherwise lack. I am forever grateful I discovered her.
In 2003, I retired early from my profession. Still needing health insurance, I began working halftime at a bank. My fellow tellers Jen, Sara, Nick, and Nancy were young enough to be my children. That didn’t deter us from forming the bonds that come from serving an often ungrateful, inexplicably bitchy customer base. It never ceased to amaze me how irate a customer (usually female!) might become when asked for her ID.
“I’ve been coming here for XX years. Why do you need to see my ID?”
“I apologize, ma’am, but I’m a new teller, and haven’t had the pleasure of meeting you. May I see your ID, please?”
“I’ve NEVER had to show my ID. Why do YOU have to see it?”
“I apologize for the inconvenience, but I need to confirm you are the account holder since you want to withdraw cash from an account.”
“Well THAT (pointing down the line) teller knows me. Go ask her.”
I walk six feet to my left to interrupt Sara who has a long line of customers. Sara glances at the woman and whispers she has no clue who that woman is.
“I’m sorry, ma’am, Sara does not recognize you. If I may please see your ID, I can give your money to you without further delay.”
“Why do you people keep getting new tellers? Every time I come in here, it’s a new teller. I’m sick of you asking for my ID when I’ve been coming here for XX years.”
“Ma’am, I apologize for the staff turnover. I’m trying to protect your account. I’m sure you don’t want me giving money from your account to someone else who refuses to show me her ID.”
“Of course not, but why do I have to show you my ID?”
(Sound of my forehead pounding repeatedly on counter)
Who doesn’t need a little comic relief after encounters like that?
Jen was our ringleader in the Silly Pants department. She was 20 years young, whipsmart, vivacious, pretty face, long blonde hair, skinny-with-boobs, and a couple of strategically placed tattoos. Older men ogled her and made fools of themselves; young men asked her out; women wanted to be her.
She was our very own sprightly, sexy Tinkerbelle sprinkling her la-di-da fairy dust whenever we got too bogged down by the daily grind. One afternoon lull, the time of day we wished we were anywhere but behind the counter, Jen piped up,
“Hey guys, you ever do your stage names?”
Blank stares …
“You know, your STAGE NAMES?”
Blank stares …
“Take the name of your first pet”
“Followed by the name of the first street you lived on”
“THAT’S YOUR STAGE NAME !!!”
The 5 of us were:
I swear, we could have performed that night in Guys & Dolls.
Between 2003 and 2014, Sammy Detroit has taken me to many corners of the world – places I never expected to see; people I never expected to meet. Some journeys have been richly imagined from the comforts of home, and some actually experienced with family and friends.
Sammy Detroit is my BFF.
She helps me imagine more fully, cope more easily, write more creatively, and dwell on the silly side of the street.