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House of Michael Warren

Designer, Musician, Sculptor

Searching for answers

Last Monday morning it was pouring rain. I wasn’t late for the train. I was on time. The train was late; I was on time. Just to be crystal clear. But I had a major issue: no parking spots. I circled around the lot multiple times just to be sure. The train station has 323 lots and I typically get to park in the 80-95 range every morning. So I was at a loss as to what was jamming up the parking lot.

I had three options. One, I could drive into work and be a good hour late. Two, I could park illegally and make the train. Finally option three sees me using a sick day. I chose option two: to park illegally. There was a strategy behind my decision. I didn’t just pick any random curb to drive up and park in the grass. You have to be very methodical with these sorts of things kids.

I parked in a church parking lot. Pulling into an open spot, I saw a sign clearly marked “Tow area—Parking for parishioners only.” But as I said above, there is always a plan. You see, I’m not religious. Like at all. Does it make me a bad person? No. I live my life with the intent to be nice to everyone. Just because I don’t believe a voice up in the sky told me to do it doesn’t mean you should think less of me. I digress.

With that belief, parking in a church with a signed clearly marked tow area, and not being a subscriber to Jesus, you would think that was a dumb move. Wrong. It was a genius move. Do you really think Jesus would let my car be towed? Probably not. If he did watch my car get towed, and if I’m wrong about religion, when my time is up I have ammunition to use against Peter at the gates. It’s like blackmail. Plus, I hate that car; I was hoping it would’ve been towed. It wasn’t. Jesus was onto my vice.

So, in my mad dash to find a parking spot and run back to the station to catch the train—in the pouring rain mind you—I forgot something in my car. No, not the keys. Nope, not the mobile phone. Yes, the wallet. And in this wallet was what little money I have, my train pass, my ID to get into my work building, and my driver’s license. I had no form of identification. If I got into a jam, I was stuck. But I still knew who I was.

Benjaman Kyle had no idea who he was.

It was 2004 and Benjaman was found naked next to a Burger King dumpster in Georgia. He had no idea who he was, he had visible head trauma, and he had no form of identification. He was totally naked, literally and metaphorically.

Authorities took him to the hospital where we was checked in as “Burger King Doe”. They then searched all missing persons reports and crimes in the area. Nothing was matching up. They ran his fingerprints against their database. Still nothing. They looked up the local hotel guest lists. Nope, nothing again. When Benjaman woke, he remembered his first name was Benjaman. It wasn’t but he didn’t know that.

After being discharged with dissociative amnesia, Benjaman spent his next years in a homeless shelter. Because he couldn't remember his social security number, he couldn't secure a job. He was stuck performing various jobs for a little cash.

At the homeless shelter, a nurse befriended him and made it her mission to help Benjaman find his identity. In the following years there were organized DNA tests, facial recognition tests, Reddit AMA sessions, and even an appearance on Dr. Phil. Still, no one could recognize or identity Benjaman. He had total anonymity.

Benjaman would eventually find his identity 8 years later. Using a sample of a pool of 23AndMe DNA, a super smart scientist was able to match his DNA to a potential bloodline. After further testing with this bloodline, a match was confirmed. William Powell was born in Ohio. Benjaman is William. William is Benjaman. He can now pay taxes like all of us bozos.

Now sure, my day without an ID was very different from the multi-year saga of William Powell. But I felt sort of free that day. Like the rules of life didn’t apply to me. As the day progressed, I didn’t feel so lost. Maybe it’s because we are all searching to find out who we are, even if you have your ID in your pocket. I think Benjaman felt the same way at times.

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