As someone with the same name as someone famous, I know a little of how it feels to be Gerry "With a 'G' " Sandusky, the fine sportscaster on channel 11 here. Just a little. After all, the people with the same name as I were a World War II General, a major league pitcher, and a member of the Black Panthers gunned down in his sleep by Chicago police. Gerry Sandusky has to deal with the homophonic Jerry Sandusky, that (allegedly) disgusting shtick dreck from Happy Valley PA.
By the way, did you know that several years ago when one of beloved, paternal coach JoePa's stars was caught driving drunk, the superannuated coach's response was, "He didn't hurt anybody, did he?" Clearly, a leader of men for our troubled times.
But I'm not writing today about what happened at a former agricultural college in the middle of nowhere that went crazy mad over a game. Today, it's about having the same name as someone famous. As Gerry With a G pointed out when the Baltimore SUN wrote about this confusion of names:
“What I have discovered is that there is this parallel universe of people who have the same name but no relationship to people who have committed or been alleged of committing heinous crimes. Somewhere there is a plumber named Bernie Madoff. Somewhere there is a salesman named Ken Lay. And somewhere there is a truck driver named Charles Manson. And they’ve had to live with this.
“The part that’s really irritating: My dad was a great man. He coached in the NFL for five decades. He was a great family guy who was a terrific father and a great husband. And when he died, I took great pride that he left me a good name. And every Sandusky I’m related to and every Sandusky that I know, they’re good people and we take pride in our name. And to see this happen is just beyond bizarre.”
Good guy Gerry
I remember a mailbox out by the road not far from us. It proudly bore the family name: "The Simpsons." Back before Bart and his family came to life on TV, no one thought twice about that name. There have to be people named Bart Simpson in this world who were born before the sitcartoon came along. They have to deal with this now.
It's not likely that there are many other people named Newt Gingrich parading around the nation. But if there are, they probably get asked all the time how it feels to have the same name as a known philanderer. And I wouldn't bet the bank on there being a lot of Barack H. Obamas, but how cool would that be. Imagine calling for a table at a restaurant! And imagine, you're sitting there when the hostess says, "Welcome to Carrabba's! Obama, party of five!"
I have always wanted to give the name "Donner" to a restaurant host, just to hear "Donner, Party of 2!"
Sometimes, a person is given a famous name at birth, and they live up to it as they live their life. Take my friend Don, who was born to a family that just loved the opera. He has grown to do the same, and actually owns his own tuxedo and top hat for opening night galas. You know him, for sure, by his whole name:
Don G. O'Vanni.