The Anonymity of a Common Name

One nice thing about having a VERY common name is that I’m harder to track down online. If you do a Google search for my name I’m fairly far down on the list. Throw in a couple of variables, such as kayak, photography, or music, and it might get you a bit closer, but you’re still going to have to know a good bit about me already in order to simply Google my name and find me.

I’ve come across another interesting twist, though. This dilemma can be summarized by the opening line from Harry Chapin’s “Corey’s Song”…

Old John Joseph was a man with two first names…

Here’s a link to the YouTube video, if you want to hear the song.

Regardless, apparently I also have two first names. This was brought home by an encounter with a young waitress the other day. She was rather chatty, and when I handed her my credit card she said, “My boyfriend’s name is Taylor. Our other waitress is also named Taylor.”

Well, isn’t that nice.

…but, a light bulb went on. Several times recently when I’ve given my name, I’ve had it repeated back to me as “Taylor Thomas” rather than “Thomas Taylor.” This happened when I gave my name for my hotel reservation last weekend, and they had a hard time finding my reservation. It’s happened when I’ve tried to pick up prescriptions, and when I’ve ordered pizza for delivery. The name “Taylor” has become more popular as a first name than “Thomas”, so I guess people of a certain generation assume that “Taylor” must be my first name.

Oh well. It’s funny how generation gap discrepancies hit you at the oddest times and most unusual ways. At least I don’t have an odd name like “Agnes” or “Hortense”, but the way things are going, one of those might become common again. At least “Thomas” is from a biblical source, and those names tend not to fall out of favor.

…except, maybe for Judas, Ebenezer, Boaz, Hanan, Ephai, Jorah, Asaiah, Zebedee, Laban, Banoni…etc., etc.

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Comment (1)

  1. Laura Richardson

    Love that there are other Chapin fans out there! He has been my favorite for years now. Curse of odd last name can be just as frustrating ;) You would be amazed of how many different ways you can mess up Tienken…trust me I heard them all!


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