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The most embarrassing thing about my dad is that he is banned from almost every video store in Metro Detroit.

He had a problem remembering to return his rentals. That’s a lie. He definitely remembered—it just required a level of motivation that was perpetually out of his reach. When he did get around to it, the last late fee he incurred was just enough for him to never visit that video store again. His little game impacted my life because we happen to share the same name.

Whenever I tried to rent something from the local video store, the clerk would accuse me of my dad’s sins and demand payment for his late fees. As a very sensitive child, these situations were a lot to handle. Even after explaining that I was not the Dan Cairns in question, and that I was under my mom’s account, I carried the blame. In my mind, it was a way of protecting my dad. When I eventually shared this with my mom, she offered an effective solution—just use her name instead of my dad’s.

The possibility of someone thinking my name was Carleen scared me more than the the embarrassment I already knew.

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