hot shot

Can You Identify This Man?

Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

In college I worked at a café inside of a bookstore. At one point it came down from top brass that all of the café employees had to start wearing name tags in addition to their café-branded T-shirts. This caused some unrest, as faceless demands from giant corporations tend to do. We did not particularly want people to know our names. What good could it bring? Named complaints from upset customers, dudes bothering you more directly. Plus it was another thing to remember, in addition to our key cards.

To feel like we had some sort of control, we kept a name tag in a drawer behind the counter. It said something like “Marissa.” That’s the name tag everyone wore during their shifts. (I’m forgetting what we did during two-person shifts.) We were all Marissa. It was a simple but radical solution for a bunch of people eager to find another small way to rebel at their part-time job, at which they already rebelled by taking home some of the leftover iced tea at night, which was not allowed — you were supposed to just dump it, which is a waste — same for the baked goods, which we also took.

Now, I’m not sure who this man wearing a “Brad Pitt” name tag is at the Oscars 2020 nominees luncheon. It could be someone named John; it could be someone named Steven. Frankly, it’s none of my business who it is. But I’m glad he, whoever he is, was able to exert this small amount of control. We all have to take our rebellion where we can get it.

Can You Identify This Man?