Friday, July 2, 2010

Will (The Real) Darrell James Please Stand Up

Whenever asked to stand at a public gathering to identify myself, my usual flippant response is “I’m already standing.”

Okay, it’s a clich├ęd old joke. But, in those instances, I can afford a little levity because I arrive with a basic egocentric attitude, an intrinsic confidence, that I will be the only Darrell James in the room rising from the chair. And why not? I have, after all, never actually met another “me” in real life.

My concept of self is rather limited. I am a former sales engineer; now a mystery writer; a husband, father, and grandfather; a friend to those who know me; and an all around nice guy to the world at large.

At least that’s what I choose to think. So, to verify and affirm my identify, I turned to the keeper of all great knowledge—the Internet. Imagine my dismay when a Google search of myself revealed that I am NOT the only me.

For one thing, I am Darrell James Inmate Looking For Love.

It had never occurred to me that I was both loveless and an inmate. Although, there are days when I feel strapped to my laptop and not feeling any love at all .

I also discovered that I have my own country western band in Chicago. This struck me as though I’m really not taking complete advantage of my celebrity. Where are all the cute cowgirl CW groupies, throwing themselves on my stage?

I am also a New York actor with a number of film roles to my credit (again, the groupies). I’m a photographer specializing in action sports photos. And, I am quite the business man, it seems. Among my financial successes are my travel agency in Winter Haven, Florida, my maintenance business in North Carolina, and my sixty story office building in Sydney, Australia, appropriately and justifiably bearing my name—The Darrell James Building.

(I really need to stop by there sometime and check out my penthouse office digs.)

All these “me”s. All these successes. Where do I get the energy? And how can I be in so many places at the same time?

The answer has to be… Imposters!

I’ve decided there are a lot of people running around out there impersonating me. And in some cases (sadly) doing a better job of it than, well… me!

As authors, we all work to make our name well known. We post it, we blog it , we Facebook it, and U-Tube it. But, alas, a name is just a name. And, as you can see, we don’t actually own the exclusive rights to ourselves.

It’s depressing. But, I take heart in the fact that at least a few of me are upholding some fairly good standards. And, to all us Darrell James’s of the world, I promise to do my part to represent us as best I can.

Tell me: Who’s impersonating you? Google yourself, then come back with what you’ve learned.

And, if any of “us” are listening, stop by and say hello.


Lisa Bork said...

Darrell, too funny!

Let's see, I know there's a nurse, a lawyer, a hospitality person, and an electronics "me". With my maiden name, there's a vet, a dressage competitor and a staffing person, which I was, too.

The most tragic story about "me" was a car accident that killed "my son and me," who actually had the same name as my son, although a much younger child.

Cafe Noir said...

Hi Darrell,

It does give one an identity crisis. Just when you thought you knew who you were you're someone else altogether, like in a parallel universe. And the freakiest part is to see all the dead Paul Markses out there...and realize that one day someone else with my name will be looking up his name and see another dead PM -- me!

Alan Orloff said...

Nice post! (But how do we know the "real" Darrell James wrote it?)

Not too many of me out there (thank goodness!). There's a well-respected horn player in New York, but that's about it.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Very fun post, Darrell.

I seem to be the one and only. Guess it really pays to have an ethic last name. Although once I met a "Susan Jaffarian." It was eons ago. She was quite a bit older than me and married to a very very very distant cousin.

Gary Phillips said...

Some years ago before cell phones a friend of mine worked for a big time political fundraiser named Gary Phillips. So I'd call her and ask to speak to her and naturally the person on the other end would ask who was calling and I'd tell them my name and there was always that pause like, "Hmmm, he doesn't sound like Gary Phillips."

Tyler Dilts said...

I was surprised to find out there is another Tyler Dilts who is an eighteen-year-old girl in the Midwest. We've friended each other on Facebook and every now and again I'll see a status that seems very surprising until registers that it's hers and not mine.

Lori Wolf said...

Funny post, Darrell!

Unbeknownst to me until now, I teach at Adelphi University, help clients with estate planning, am invovled with the Humane Society (true), have a girlfriend named Carol, and of course, write novels. There are 122 Lori Wolfs on FB. I really wish my parents would have given me an unusual name.

Deborah Sharp said...

Hi, Darrell. what a great post. There are soooooo many deborah sharps, you wouldn't believe. An Australian psychologist; a non-fiction author who writes about dysfunctional families and addiction issues (that started a dysfunction in my OWN family, when they thought it was me, writing about us); and even a Deborah Sharp I went to school with (same middle initial and year of birth) who turned out to be a deadbeat, and whose creditor calls I still get.
Lovely job today!

Helen Bingaman said...

Dar, I was actually aware of the successful "you" in Sydney. But, he will never have a place in my heart as you do. Having researched the forebears of all of us for many years, I am aware that there are several of "me" mostly in Pennsylvania. My husband's surname, which is Pennsylvania Dutch, is relatively rare. But there were several of "him." Like you--I am happy to stand up for "me." However, I was quite alarmed as a child to find that "I" was a murder victim in a comic book! Love the article.

Beth Groundwater said...

Like Sue Ann, I have an uncommon last name, and with shortening my first name from Elizabeth to Beth, I've found that if you search for "Beth Groundwater" on the Internet, all you get are references to me. Also, I'm the only "Beth Groundwater" on Facebook so far, though the "Beth Groundwater" fan page (vs person entry) is not mine--someone else made it from my Wikipedia entry. I prefer to friend folks on Facebook rather than collect fans.

Kathleen Ernst said...

Many years ago, long before computerized anything, I did freelance work for a variety of magazines. I submitted an article to one and was astonished to have another article ms returned to me by mistake. It had been written by another Kathleen Ernst. I had never occurred to me before that day that there could be another.

There is a famous piano player named Mary Kathleen Ernst who often pops up on my searches. Our geographies overlapped for a while, and once someone came to one of my signings thinking the musician they loved had written a novel!

Diana said...

Mine is also a very common name, hundreds of Diana James' on FB. There's a novelist, a PhD who actively lectures, a mortuary and an actress. In fact, my acting credits and hers have been so horribly interchanged on imdb that I eventually gave up trying to correct it.

Darrell James said...

Lisa, sorry about your tragic end. And Helen with your "comic" tragedy.

Gary- did you try endorsing the checks?

Tyler- I hope your "teenage you" lives long and prospers.

As for all of you with exclusive names, at least you don't have Deb's creditors calling you.

Thanks everyone for your feedback--it's been fun.

Keith Raffel said...

When I was in college, my name was left out of the freshman phone directory. (This was BCP; before cellphones.) However, there was another Raffel in my class and my friends figured I was using my middle name or something. So they'd call his number and ask for Keith. Funny thing. He had a roommate named Keith.

Alice Loweecey said...

I'm fortunate in marrying into a family with an unusual last name. I Google myself every month or so, and I get a delightful few pages of al my interviews and reviews.

Where Google kills me is in looking up character names. I went through a dozen comibinations for one character before I finally got one with only two hits.

T.S. Richardson said...

There are several of "mes" out there, yet the biggest one so far is a pro fisherman. It gives this Travis Richardson a reason to work hard and get published.