“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
― William Shakespeare,
Society now communicates electronically. There’s nothing wrong with that, but some occasions still call for a hand-written note. I think we can all agree that an emoji on someone’s Facebook page doesn’t quite cut it when they’ve had a death in the family. Phone books are getting pretty thin with everybody ditching their landlines, so how are you supposed to look up addresses to snail-mail? Online white pages.
For those even more techno-clueless than I am, this is like a print phone book except it’s online and covers the entire nation. I used it the other day to find an address and afterwards, just for giggles, looked myself up.
There were 139 possible matches for Peg Schulte.
My given name is Margaret. Most of us Peggys are Margarets; don’t ask me why, it’s one of life’s mysteries. The list of possible mes was heavy on Margarets, had fewer Peggys and Pegs, and a mere smattering of Marges, Margies and Maggies. There were also 9 Gretchens. Huh?
Towards the end of the list they abandoned Schulte altogether and got creative with the last name. They included such possible matches as:
Scheldt, Shulte, Shilt, Schultdt, Schildt, Schult, Scholte, Shult, and Schilt.
So, Mr. White Pages Computer Algorithm Programmer, you think “Gretchen Scheldt” is the same as “Peg Schulte?” Really?
The search program must factor in the likelihood that these people’s ancestors started life as “Schultes” (a name, I understand, as common as “Smith” in Germany,) before some overworked and/or clueless clerks processed them as part of the huddled masses at Ellis Island.
The most important point here is that out of the whole, wide universe of possible Peg Schultes, the search gods didn’t list me – the real me – until #66. This raises some disturbing questions:
- Why am I half the way down the list?
- Why aren’t I #1?
- What does Margaret Schulte of Manning, Iowa got that I ain’t got?
Maybe the 65 Not-Mes ahead of me on the list paid somebody to optimize their search engine SEO. I don’t know exactly what that means, but my spam folder is full of offers from computer types with bad English skills urging me to do that, so it must be a good thing.
Perhaps they are more famous than I am because they have more wonderful accomplishments. There’s a lowering thought.
Maybe they’re more infamous than famous because of bad behavior. I like that possibility.
Whatever the reason I’m in the middle of the Peg Pack, that fact has me a bit worried. This could have serious consequences:
- What if I finally win the Publisher’s Clearinghouse sweepstakes and they give my money to Pegg Schulte of Fallon, Missouri?
- What if Oprah comes to her senses and offers me a regular writing gig, and Margaret Schuldt of Tuckasegee, North Carolina winds up with the fame and fortune rightly belonging to me?
On the other hand, the plus side of being merely one of many is that I can lay bad stuff off onto the Not-Mes.
- The next life insurance sales pitch masquerading as an Important Document so I’ll open the envelope
- My weekly invitation to join AARP
- All the low, low, limited time offers for replacement windows, hearing aids or furnace tune ups…
I’m forwarding all of that junk mail to Gretchen Scheldt. She could probably use a furnace tune-up anyway – I’m sure it gets cold in Cleveland, Wisconsin.