Sunday, April 11, 2010

This town's not big enough for the two of us

Writing about how my wife and I chose the name of our son got me to thinking about the unfortunate fact that I have one of the most common last names in the world. While "Logan Henry" isn't the most common name in the world, no doubt he will learn about at least a few others in his lifetime. (I was already just informed via Facebook of an eight-year-old out there named "Logan Henry". At least I don't know him personally.)

I've always been happy about the fact that my first name was both familiar and uncommon. I knew a few while growing up though. There was a Lance who shared a hospital room with me when I was little. I vaguely recall some other Lance who was several grades higher than me when I was in elementary school. I never had another Lance in any of my classes, until I took a Humanities class at DVC and there was not one but two other people with my first name in there. Still, for the most part, I felt pretty unique.

This feeling started to fizzle when I received a phone call years ago from a collection agency. Apparently, I had a huge balance on my American Express card, and they were coming after me. This seemed rather strange to me. I did have an American Express, but I had canceled it a few years before. Not only that, but I was pretty sure that the balance was zero when I closed the account. I was confused, but then when they asked if I was the "Lance Johnson" who was born in 1956, I realized that they had the wrong guy.

I figured that would be the end of that, but about two years later, I received yet another call, and this time I hadn't paid my Master Card. Was it that same Lance Johnson who was giving me a bad reputation? Nope. It was a Lance Johnson who was born in 1965! (I'll admit, I'm kind of making up these dates, as I can't remember numbers very well. I do remember well enough that it was two different dates.)

I hadn't received any more calls, but one day I got a letter in the mail. It turned out that I hadn't been paying my child support. No, it wasn't a letter from the future, where my wife wised up and left me, and I had to pay support payments for Logan. It was for a Lance H. Johnson - who lived just around the corner from my house! When I went to give it to the guy, I apologized for opening up his mail, as I didn't look at the address having figured that it must have been for me considering that my name was on it.

I haven't had anything like this, but whenever I go to the Homebrew shop, I have to specify not only that I'm the Lance Johnson who lives in Martinez, but that I'm also the one who lives on Brookside Drive.

I feel so insignificant.

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