Who Am I?

by Daniel McNeet on November 10, 2017

Who am I is a question for which I, nor anyone else I know, or have read on the subject, has an answer because there is no criterion for measurement.

The immigration officer looked at my passport and asked me, “Who are you?” I looked into his eyes and replied, “Daniel McNeet.” He stared back to verify in his opinion if I was providing him with accurate information. He smiled and stamped my passport. I reentered the United States as an American citizen. Did I answer the officer? I don’t think so. I never ask myself that question. Why not? Because I do not know the criterion? The question is not answerable with accuracy. If I knew the test would I be biased? Also, it doesn’t mean anything. It is a philosophical exercise in futility. Besides, no one cares nor do they want to know who I am, assuming the questioner knows the criterion, which I seriously doubt. When I riposte those who tread into this area with, “What do you mean ‘Who am I?’ ” I receive silence and blank stares because she or he has exercised her or his mouth without first engaging her or his brain. It is as if no one has ever asked them the riposte. The question Who am I is a usual and unimaginative opening salvo, not effectively disguised as an indirect method for interrogation to follow if one is dumb enough to fall for the ploy. The questioner knows people like to talk about themselves. The question is asked so the questioner can ingratiate herself or himself in the mind of the subject. The questioner believes the victim of this ploy will give up everything including the color of her or his underwear. How does one determine the genuineness of another? Evaluating the questioner’s eyes and carotid arteries if one has the skills. In the case of nixon or trump (lower case n & t intentional to show disrespect) if one of them is talking he is lying. The crux is: how does one accurately measure who one is?

What the immigration officer didn’t realize or wanted to know because of constraint of time or other was: I had been found at the age of two days in the first row of pews in the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood at 1760 N. Gower Street, Hollywood, California. Was I and am I a Presbyterian as part of who I am? Is this a part of the criterion? I don’t know. To this day decades later, I still do not know who my biological mother and father are. Nor have I looked for them. If they didn’t care, why should I? So, what are the rules to determine who I am?

The pastor of the church asked Robert and Catherine McNeet, husband and wife, to care for me. They did and later adopted me. They fed, clothed and loved me, and I loved them. They paid for my education. I worked in the fast food business to do my part at age sixteen with their permission. They loaned me money to buy my first car. I paid them back by working while going to high school. I worked during my undergraduate and graduate years at the university. Is this part of whom I am?

When I became eighteen, the McNeets, my mother, and father, informed me I was adopted. It was of no moment then, and it still is not today decades later. I never dwell on or think about things I cannot do anything about. It would interfere with good judgment if I did. My parents died in an automobile accident. A drunk driver drove over the double yellow line and hit their car head-on. I miss them every day. At night during the meditation period in the twilight time before sleep, the weight of my loss is the greatest. I loved and will always love them. When you love deep and complete your deceased loved ones are still alive. Is this part of whom I am?

When someone asks me, and they do, who are you? I answer, “I am Daniel McNeet.” If they ask the question again, and I care,I riposte, “What do you want to know?” I do not read minds. The person asking the question has an answer in mind. Let the questioner accelerate their every wish and desire. Is this part of whom I am?

Also, there is a philosophical answer I give myself. I know I am changing “As Time Goes By” my favorite song. This is called positive disintegration. But I am still a good human being, the highest compliment I can pay to another human being. A good human being has compassion, empathy, patience, respect and understanding of others’ circumstances. And the good human being engages in helping others who are less fortunate to the best of her or his ability. Is this part of whom I am?

Who are you? Are you a good human being?

If you wish to answer the questions, I would be interested in reading your answers and responding if you want at www.scribe@danielmcneet.com Thank you.



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