Monday, November 2, 2009

One year in ...

And what have I learned?

1. This will never let up. I mean, I knew that, but it still amazes me that it still amazes others that I have the SAME NAME AS THE PRESIDENT! Barak! Barack! It's been years now, and I am still having versions of the same conversation all the time. I guess I'll just have to meet every person on Earth and help them see how trivial a coincidence this is.

2. In the meantime, before I embark on the World Trivialization Tour (generously underwritten by Rosetta Stone), revealing my fatigue with this never-ending phenomenon is a mistake.

3. What a fantastic ice-breaker it is to share a freaky name with THE PRESIDENT! OMFG, I could not have PAID for a social advantage like this.

4. Running ads on this site was a waste of time and an aesthetic affront. So the ads are gone, replaced by the occasional contextually relevant branded-entertainment sponsor module.


"He was a delusional farm boy. She was an Italian supermodel. He knew he had just one chance to hogtie her and show her the poetry in his overalls. So he went online to order a length of sturdy rope and the Rosetta Stone 'Italiano! First Lesson Plan' CD set. "


So, how do we act on these new findings?

Well, I'm considering a high-energy, preemptive approach to the big reveal. Something like this:

Setting: cocktail party ...

NICE LADY: "Hi, I'm Jennifer."

ME: "Hi, I'm Barak. Yes, just like the president -- but with no "c". I can hear you just fine though! Ha ha ha!"

NICE LADY: "Oh. Um ... there's my ex-husband across the room, chatting with an Italian supermodel. He's struggling with his declensions, poor thing. I have to go help. Nice meeting you!"

Up in the lab, we're developing some more sophisticated tools.

And in closing, here's another interesting finding: Not one of these hundreds of name-driven conversations has turned political. That may be a function of the homogeneous company I keep, here in a city so blue it's barely considered America by dyed-in-the-wool red-staters. Or it may be ... well, what do you think?


Richard Ryan said...

The next step is obvious. Stop fighting fate, destiny, and mnemonics: change your legal name to Barack Zimmerman. You'll be able to say, "Yes, like the most powerful man on earth" and add, with a winsome half-smile, "My father was a Swahili scholar. He dated Lieutenant Uhura for several years."

Or if you're feeling all culturally committed, change it to "Baruch". But then you'll go around saying for the rest of your life, "Yes, like the college."

Alison Woo said...

This blog is fabulous! I want to know more. I want to hear all the different ways you deal with this daily. NO pressure or anything.

And I agree about the notion about writing for fun (and free) when you are a professional writer. I feel the same way. As a professional journalist, it seems almost self-indulgent to share my thoughts just because I want to and yet sometimes when I do, I get such tremendous feedback!

Love this blog, really. Keep going! As a friend of Trish Nelson, who sent me your link, I think you are on to something here! And I can't wait for your next post.