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What’s in a name? Sometimes a surprise
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What’s in a name? Sometimes a surprise

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It’s an old question, to be sure, but one that hasn’t seemed to lose its relevance.

For people who find themselves, through sheer coincidence, sharing a name with a famous — or perhaps even infamous — individual, the answer is probably a bit more complicated.

Sure, it’s probably no big deal being Michael Jackson or Larry Bird or even Elizabeth Taylor, other than the occasional giggle when you buy a plane ticket or get pulled over for speeding.

Over the years I’ve met a Sally Field, a Bill Clinton and even a Michelle Pfeiffer. They have been unfailingly good natured about it, but I suspect it must get old from time to time.

Making things even stranger, sometimes a name that evoked one thing suddenly changes. I knew a woman once who shared a name with a famous television homemaker. My friend didn’t mind the constant mention of their shared moniker — until the TV star fell from grace and landed in the pokey for financial shenanigans. She never let on, but I’m pretty sure after that my acquaintance liked the link a bit less.

And then, of course, there are those whose name is suddenly imbued with a whole new kind of meaning, one they likely never saw coming.

Take, for example, my friend Brandon.

I’m not going to reveal his political leanings, but let’s just say that Brandon has been enjoying the heck out of his newfound “name notoriety.”

Everywhere he goes, whenever he says his name, at least one will not be able to stop themselves from saying it: “Let’s go Brandon!”

Friends have peppered his front yard with signs. At least one person has bought him a beer. For Christmas, I’m willing to bet he gets a few new t-shirts bearing a nod to his name’s sudden popularity.

Does he mind? He says not at all — he’s just enjoying it while he can.

Pretty soon the world will move on, and his neighborhood will have one less celebrity. But for right now, quite unexpectedly, he’s relishing his 15 minutes of fame.

What’s that you say? What strange times we live in?

I would certainly have to agree.

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