The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

An Army of Me

by Andrew Tibbetts

Everyonceinawhile I google myself. Just to see what spills out. Just to ensure nothing noxious erupts. I highly recommend it. Contrary to popular belief you won’t go blind.

Turns out, I’m not the only Andrew Tibbetts. There are others of me. I’m a web developer, a composer of music for handbell ringers, a Chicago area survivalist, several track and field athletes from the U.K. and the U.S.A. (or just one who gets around), a reporter of polytechnics, a young leukemia patient, a person with the record for Marilyn bagging (which sounds rude but has something to do with mountain climbing), and an indie-rock musician. It’s fun checking in with these other selves over the years through their expanding cyber-trails. It was heartwarming, for example, to find out that Andrew Tibbetts, 10 year old leukemia patient, has become Andrew Tibbetts, 11 year old graduate of leukemia treatment, now a fundraiser for the successful program.

I wonder if any of the other Andrew Tibbetts army regularly google themselves and what they might make of the sporadic hits outlining this soldier’s tiny literary career. Perhaps the track and field star wanting to check on the results of that last race will come across “My Gay Date with Attorney General Ashcroft” and wonder if it’s a true story. Perhaps the Scottish mountain climber checking to see if his record still stands will stumble across “201 Feet” and wonder if it’s true. When your cybertrail is partly fiction, you risk winding up on someone’s list of ‘others of me’ as a self-loathing gay republican or a self-deluded stalker. Note to self: no more first person narratives submitted to on-line journals.

If I won the lottery, I’d throw a big party for all the Andrew Tibbetts’s. (Tibbettses?) (Tibbetti?) (Tibbettum?) What fun it would be to mingle with myself! I suppose you John Smithses and you Mary Joneses can’t get too excited by this, but those of us with funny names, oft tormented in school (I got ‘Tidbits’ and ‘Timbits’; my sister got it worse with “Mrs. Fliptits,”)- we’d love to commiserate! Perhaps I’d bring Anne Chudobiak as my date to the Tibbettsfest and I’d insist that all the other Andrews bring an Anne Chudobiak as well. Good luck boys. Or maybe that’s a common name in Poland. Maybe if you wander downtown Warsaw calling out “Anne Chudobiak” hundreds of heads will turn your way.

As a totally irrelevant and inappropriate aside: one time, my friend and co-worker showed me a job application that was sitting in a pile on his desk. [This is highly unethical so I’m going to spell the name slightly differently to avoid criminal prosecution, plus I’ll claim I’m making this up (but I’m really not, shh), plus I’ll get my lawyer, Andrew Tibbetts, on it.] Anyway, the guy’s name was Ufuk Cochgeezer. I looked at the resume for a second and it didn’t register. Then I said it out loud in my head. And then my friend and I, two full grown men who should have known better, lost it. I have never laughed harder. It’s stupid, I know. I’m a juvenile idiot. But snot was pouring out my nose and my stomach hurt so much I was punching it to readjust the traumatic twists it was taking. I was gasping, too- I could hardly breath. I kept trying to say the name out loud and so did my friend, but we couldn’t. I tried to make a speech welcoming the new employee to our company, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I’d like to present our newest hire, Ufuk Cochgeezer!” But I couldn’t get past “La-,” “Lad-,” “Ladi-,”…. And my friend had mistakenly tried to calm himself by taking a sip of water which he soon sprayed the resume with. We both deserve to be punished. But I swear it was not intended. Luckily poor Ufuk was not qualified for the job and so it was easy to just shred the maligned resume as per company policy. Or we would have had to file our spittle with human resources.

Another tangential memory: I guess I’m a sucker for funny names popping up in odd places because I just remembered the other time I laughed so hard it hurt. Grade eleven morning announcements and the principal’s syrupy voice pours out of the P.A. system: Congratulations to Miss Jeffrey, our guidance teacher, who was married over the summer and whom we’ll now have to start calling Mrs. Bangs-Jeffrey. Oh, you 70’s feminists and your hyphenated names, bless you, bless you!

But I digress. My name is not Ufuk Cochgeezer nor Jocelyn Bangs-Jeffrey nor even Armand Hammer, Bonnie Anne Clyde, Buster Cherry, Craven Moorehead, Dan Druff, Dick Rasch, Ella Vader, Harry Balls, Ivana Mandic, Kerry Oki, P. Ness, Willie Stroker, or any of the funny names on Ethan Winer’s internet list. It’s just Andrew Tibbetts. One of many. Not too bad in the scheme of things. Right, fellow Andrew Tibbettses?


Blogger H.E.Eigler said...

Thanks for the giggles! What a fun post :)

Wed Aug 15, 10:58:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Anne C. said...

I once learned that there were two other Anne Chudobiaks who banked with the same bank as me. If they're still alive, I'm sure that they'd love to accompany the other ATs.

Wed Aug 15, 11:46:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger MelBell said...

Wonderful, fun post, Andrew. You had me LOLing all the way.

Wed Aug 15, 02:22:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

I've googled myself from time to time. Right now I seem to be the only Tricia Dower. For a while there was the "always fun-loving" one who'd posted reunion pictures, but she disappeared. No one would call me always fun loving.

Yeah, some people's names are so unfortunate. You wonder what their parents were thinking. I worked with a Ruby Rose and a Vera Berry at one time. Not nearly as funny as the name on your resume, however.

Wed Aug 15, 05:15:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...

I just googled myself. Apparently I'm currently going through bankruptcy hearings.

Yikes! Time to make sure no one has stolen my identity...

Thu Aug 16, 06:11:00 pm GMT-4  
Anonymous Chris said...

Dear Andrew,

I went to school with an Andrew Tibbetts. About four years ago, I got an email from another schoolfriend linking to a small newspaper article about Andrew Tibbetts winning the world bell ringing record (a continual peal for 17 hours!) This was indeed the Andrew Tibbetts I went to school with (who always had an interest in campanology). I searched for Andrew Tibbetts, and came across 100 posts about my sex life. (I think that's what it's called - I can't find it now, but assume you are the same Andrew Tibbetts)

Needless to say, for a short while, I considered that the Andrew Tibbetts I knew had written it, and began to see him in a whole new night.

Tue Dec 16, 03:49:00 pm GMT-5  

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