By Any Other Name

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Because I am vain I Googled my name followed by the city I live in only to learn that I had been arrested last month. I tried to remember spending time in police custody but my mind drew a blank.

I read more about this case. Not only does a criminal living in the same city as me share my name he also was born the  same year. He was a few inches taller and 50 pounds heavier, but I could imagine someone who had decided to snoop about my past confusing the two of us. His charge was battery which could have resulted in a bar fight or defending some helpless citizen from a bully, but at the same time could have involved beating up a woman or a one armed asthmatic.

I’m a little perturbed, not just that a web site is allowed to publicize people’s criminal records in the name of profit (where I discovered he had a past charge of disorderly conduct that was dropped as well as there being a third person with our name that was arrested in 1986 for selling coke), but I was angrier at my namesake.

I have never met anyone with the same name as ours, so I must assume it is a rare name. If a name is all I have then this guy is sullying it and it makes me wonder if I came in contact with him 14 years ago.

I had returned to Miami for the holidays. I came across a couple people who said they heard I was starting a band. I told them I hadn’t been in town for a year and had no intention of returning, so it must not be. Eventually someone brought me a flyer that was hanging up in a local record shop saying The David Rolland Band was looking for a drummer or a bassist or a guitarist or the player of some other instrument that was not a kazoo.

At first I found it funny, then odd, then I grew angry. I started imagining if my name was Dave Matthews how annoying it would be that any time I met someone they would make a joke about that awful band. We would forever be entangled. Now of course there was the possibility that this The David Rolland Band would create beautiful music, but as I thought upon it further there was no chance of that. Any one who looks no further than their birth certificate to name their band is probably not the most creative of souls.

Eventually I called the phone number on the flyer. It went straight to voice mail, and so I left a message. I can’t remember exactly what I said. I know I didn’t leave a return number and I did get a little ridiculous in reprimanding him for being so selfish and not thinking of others when coming up with a band name. I don’t think I threatened him with a law suit, but I might have. I definitely mentioned that I shared the same name as him and I believe I used the phrase “not wanting to be associated with whatever mess he was working on”. The call must have been a successful one. I never heard any more about this band which is good for my reputation, but apparently led him toward a life of crime.

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