I didn’t know all that…

By Steve Estes

Strictly Drivel

Has anyone out there ever “Googled” their own name to see what their namesakes in other areas of the world are doing with their time?

It wasn’t an exercise I had ever tried until a few weeks ago when someone asked me the same question.

That piqued my interest, and once my interest is piqued, I, of course, must quench that thirst for knowledge.

So I pulled up Google and typed in my name.

There were more than 12 million entries on my name.

I never did find me. I guess I’m just not that interesting to a lot of people to bring me to the top of a search engine page on the internet.

But I was still amazed at the number of people who share my name.

I have always known there are people out there with my name. There are even people who share all three of my names with me. I ran into their names, by various means, before the internet allowed me to Google them.

When I was active duty military, a friend of mine in the communications office brought me a certified message from the Chief of Naval Personnel that congratulated me on being selected as a Senior Chief Petty Officer. Now, while I was Chief Petty Officer during my last years in the Navy, this promotion came at year three. I didn’t make the lower rank until year seven.

Turns out that a Sailor with the exact same name as me stationed in San Diego had achieved the rank and the message came to me by mistake. Too bad the paycheck didn’t come to me by mistake.

When I Googled myself, I found that I was a professor of history at Sonoma University, a vice-president of a health-care conglomerate, chief researcher for a bio-engineering company, and a noted singer-songwriter in the mid-Atlantic region of the country.

I had no idea I was such a well-rounded, educated, talented individual.

But the first time I ran into myself was way back in the 1980s. I had purchased my first home, a mobile home, using a government-backed loan. I kept it for four years or so and then sold it to buy a single-family residence in southwest Ohio.

A few years after being in the new place, I got a call from a gentleman who claimed to be from the federal Housing and Urban Development directorate.

He wanted to know when I planned to pay off my loan with them since I was a year behind in payments.

I had sold the place three years earlier. I hadn’t actually made a payment on that loan in three years, not one.

I would get a call from this guy every few days, and the amount I owed would, of course, continually change.

I had several long conversations with him, trying to figure out how I owed the government any money on something I no longer owned, and had sold three years earlier.

He didn’t believe me.

So he kept calling.

Finally, I was in a bad mood one day and tried to pin him down on the process whereby he had come to conclusion I owed the federal government nearly $14,000 dollars, which was more than I had paid for the place to start with. That must have started the question in his brain.

He said the reason it took them so long to try and collect was that they hadn’t been able to track me down when I left California.


Now I did live in California with my parents when I was vvveeerrryyyy young. We moved when I was six back to Ohio.

I don’t think I bought real estate at the tender age of three.

So I asked him where I had lived in California. He laughed. Then he realized I wasn’t joking.

He told me that I had lived just north of San Francisco. We lived in San Diego.

I asked him when I had bought the real estate. He said five years prior. That didn’t match my time frame, but could be chalked up to bad accounting.

Then I got smart—a truly rare occurrence.

I asked this pesky gentleman to give me the details on myself that he had in his file.

The names matched exactly. The birthdates matched exactly.

I asked him for my social security number on the loan.

There was a single digit difference.

I laughed and hung up the phone, never to hear from him again. I actually began to miss his calls.

But not enough to call him back.

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