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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Who I am and who I am not

As long as I have lived in the DFW area, I've been asked if I'm related to the Grubbs family that owns a number of car dealerships in town. Well, I'm not. My uncle traced the whole family tree and found out that we're not related to them. End of story, right? Well, it turns out the owner of Grubbs Nissan in Bedford is named Eric Grubbs. Just as a reminder, that's not me.

When I first moved to Fort Worth, I received a rather panicked phone call late one night. The conversation went a little something like this:

MAN: Mr. Grubbs? Eric Grubbs?
ME: Yes?
MAN: Are you related the Grubbs family dealerships?
ME: No, that's a different fam-
MAN: Well, we've got a situation going on out here where we have some people locked out on the lot. Can you come on down-
ME: I am not related to those Grubbs. That's a different
Grubbs.

MAN: Oh, sorry!

A few years later, KRLD ran a show on Saturdays called The Auto Show. It was sponsored by Grubbs Infinity and its co-host was George Grubbs III (who I believe was the owner). Well, guess who read the traffic reports every ten minutes during this show? Your's truly. Thankfully, nobody called and asked if we were all related.

In the last year or so, Grubbs Nissan has run spots on a few local radio stations and who's voice is on them? Its owner. Thankfully, we sound nothing alike, but I'm really tempted to try something: go to Grubbs Nissan and meet the man himself. I wonder if he's ever received phone calls looking for me.

I bring this all up because no matter how strange or unique we think our name is, chances are there is somebody else out there with the same name. It's amazing when you enter a name in a search engine like Google. For example, there's the Kev(in) McNerney I know from his blog but there is also a former microbrewer and a partner at Heidrick & Struggles with the same name. There is Jeff Giles I know from his blog but there is also a Senior Editor at Newsweek with the same name.

I'm glad there is not a cheesy balladeer that shares my name (like the Michael Bolton character in Office Space) or a serial killer that shares my name (like the Joel Rifkin that Elaine dates in an episode of Seinfeld), but what about people that have very common names? Ever had or heard of a weird encounter with that?

I gotta remember this: names are merely reference points. They give us identification but they don't define who we are.

5 comments:

Kev said...

I know about the no-I'm-not-the-auto-dealer syndrome myself, since my sister married a Sewell (who's no relation to the Cadillac Sewells either). I think the confusion lessened quite a bit once the last of his family moved out of Dallas.

And I really, really want to meet the microbrewer who shares my name. The next time I'm in Atlanta for any length of time (besides an airline layover, I guess), it's gonna happen.

Kev said...

Oh, and incidentally, I went to middle school with John Lennon, to high school with both Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood, and to college with Elizabeth Taylor and Miles Davis (the latter of whom was a jazz saxophonist, not a trumpeter like his famous counterpart, and who was on the receiving end of way too many jokes during his short time at UNT).

I currently know a Robert Duval, but he only has one L in his last name, unlike the actor who has two (and I wonder if he'll find this from Googling himself?).

Eric Grubbs said...

One of my roommates in college was named John Kennedy. Different middle name though . . .

Anonymous said...

I'm married to Steven King, not Stephen King.

Anonymous said...

weird. I went to school with that George Grubbs III