I am (probably) not the Les Jenkins you’re looking for.

funny-quote-nice-person-meetI don’t know about you guys, but I tend to think of my name as being somewhat unique. The truth is that it really isn’t. Well, in its full form it’s somewhat unique, but I don’t tend to use that form much opting for the briefer “Les Jenkins” that you’ve all come to adore. On one level I know that it’s really not that unique, but I still tend to think it is because sometimes my brain is stupid.

So when I suddenly get emails like the following:

Good Morning,

Thank you for your offer on 309 Mignon Ave.  The seller has chosen to go with anther offer.

Thank you for your consideration.

A Random Person

It’s a little confusing. What offer? I don’t remember making an offer. I’m glad they went with a different offer because I’d hate to have bought something I don’t recall making an offer on. Just where the hell is 309 Mignon Ave anyway and what is there that I made an offer on? Did I try to buy a crackhouse in my sleep or something?

It’s at this point that I remind myself that, as much as I’d love it to be so, I’m not the only Les Jenkins in the world. So I send a reply saying something like: Dear Random Person. I don’t recall making an offer on anything. Are you sure you have the right Les Jenkins? Sincerely, A Les Jenkins. 

When I did that today I got a reply back letting me know it was for a house somewhere in Alabama that someone had submitted a bid for on my behalf and it included scans of the documents and of a check written for the sale. The documents revealed that this other Les Jenkins has an email address of LesJenkins32 and he happens to be a real estate agent down in Alabama. Yeah, that’s definitely not me. I’m not that young or attractive anymore. (As an aside, it’s very weird to stare into the face of someone else with your name.) I replied once more to let Random Person know that there’s no 32 in my email address. Because I’ve been on the Internet for a helluva long time and am often an early adopter of new services, I managed to net plain old les.jenkins as my gmail account name.

Needless to say, this isn’t the first time I’ve gotten email meant for some other Les Jenkins. A couple months back, I’m not sure if it was the same email address or not, but I suddenly found myself in the middle of a conversation about someone’s funeral arrangements. Someone was trying to contact that Les Jenkins, whoever he/she was, to let them know about a family member’s death. That’s an awkward thing to be accidentally included on. Considering the importance of the situation I replied as respectfully as I could that I wasn’t the Les Jenkins they had intended to contact.

There are a lot of us out there including a trombonist with the same name who was a part of Tommy Dorsey’s Orchestra, an affiliate marketing guy, a “Goal-Setting and Achievement Guru” out of Colorado (who, coincidentally, is originally from Detroit), and a seemingly infinite array of others including a surprising number of rednecks.

So, yeah, my name isn’t all that unique. Kind of a bummer, but I’m sure I’ll forget that fact in a short while. At least until the next email for one of those other imposters shows up in my inbox.

Sister Mary Schmuck not happy to learn her name is an euphemism.

Pic of nun flipping the bird.

Not Sister Schmuck. But close.

There are a few names that can be rough to grow up with. At one of my former places of employment there was a Steve Wiener who sat not far from, I shit you not, Dick Carver. Usually you survive the inevitable childhood tormenting and as an adult you get used to the occasional wisecrack from random assholes such as myself.

That’s why it’s so amazing that someone with the last name Schmuck somehow managed to get through most of her life without being teased relentlessly over it:

Sister Schmuck Takes a Stand – Magazine – The Atlantic

It was not until Sister Mary Schmuck left her home state of Kentucky for the Sisters of Mercy convent in Brooklyn, N.Y., a borough that operates under the influence of Yiddish, that she was confronted full force with the knowledge that a person with her family name faces certain regrettable challenges. “People would do double takes on the phone,” she said. “They were deciding whether to laugh or say something or not.” Many New Yorkers were forthright in asking whether she was playing them for fools. “I went to the terminal at LaGuardia one day, and there was a nice-looking ticket agent named Carlos-something—not a Jewish person—and he took my ID and said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’” She said she told Carlos, “Young man, schmuck is German for ‘jewel.’ It is fine that you grew up in a Jewish neighborhood. I live in one, too, near Williamsburg. Please give me my boarding pass.”

Sister Mary acknowledges, obviously, that schmuck, in Yiddish, a language derived from German and Hebrew, refers to what she calls “the dirty male part.” And she recognizes that schmuck serves as a broad-spectrum insult as well, corresponding, more or less, to “idiot” or worse. Not as much, however, in Kentucky. It was idyllic, growing up a Schmuck in Kentucky, Sister Mary said. “It is my understanding that Grandfather Schmuck came from a Lutheran family, but there had been some sort of move to or from the Catholic Church.” She does not know if the Schmucks among her German ancestors were jewelers, though it’s possible, and she’s proud that the cathedral in Cologne is home to the Schmuck Madonna, which many believers have adorned with jewels in gratitude for answered prayers.

The whole article is worth reading if only for the amazing accomplishment on the part of the author of not making any Schmuck jokes along the way. I mean, seriously, it’s full of lines like this:

“At one point, there were 400 Schmucks in America,” she told me. “I’ve done some genealogy research on this.” She does not know the number of Schmucks in America today, however. “Whenever I go to another city, I look in the White Pages for Schmucks, but I don’t run across any.”

It may be a sign of my immaturity, but I couldn’t help but laugh at that. But that’s not to say that I am unsympathetic to her cause, which is to reclaim the word Schmuck from its usage as a obscene reference to the male anatomy. I don’t think she’ll succeed, but I’m sympathetic because I can only imagine how hard it must be for the folks of that family tree.

Though, as the author points out, there’s plenty of Putzes in the world as well:

I noted to Sister Mary that hers is not the only challenging surname in America. June Putz, Thomas Putz, Cornelia Putz, Erik Putz, Wolfgang Putz—indeed, an apparently unending procession of people named Putz—are listed on Facebook, and seem emotionally whole (to the extent that one can assess such things online). “Schmuck seems to be a very popular insulting term, though,” Sister Mary noted, correctly.

I’ve used both even though I’m about as far from Jewish as you can get. There’s something about Yiddish insults that just feels good. They’re very solid words with a good weight to them that don’t tend to cause people to freak out as much as when you drop an f-bomb on them in public.

Yeah, sorry Sister Schmuck, but I’m going to continue to take your name in vain. Could be worse, though. You could be a Jenkins. Then you’d be guilty-by-association with me.

Let’s do a meme: Your “other” names.

Saw this on ***Dave’s blog and though it looked like fun:

1. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names):
Jay Bell

2. NASCAR NAME: (first name of your mother’s dad, father’s dad):
Clement… uh… it just occurred to me that I don’t know the names of either my paternal grandfather (he’s been dead for decades) or my step-dad’s father. How weird is that?

3. STAR WARS NAME: (the first 2 letters of your last name, first 4 letters of your first name):
Jelesl

4. DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal):
Blue Otter (I think this would make a better Super Hero name myself)

5. SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you live):
Troy Ann Arbor (that one doesn’t really work well at all)

6. SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd favorite color, favorite alcoholic drink, optionally add “THE” to the beginning):
Red Long Island Iced Tea

7. FLY NAME: (first 2 letters of 1st name, last 2 letters of your last name):
Lens

8. GANGSTA NAME: (favorite ice cream flavor, favorite cookie):
Cookie Dough Sugar

9. ROCK STAR NAME: (current pet’s name, current street name):
Melvin Chelsea Circle (that one doesn’t really work either)

10. PORN NAME: (1st pet, street you grew up on):
Tiger Meadowlawn

Captain Fantastic Faster Than Superman Spiderman Batman Wolverine Hulk And The Flash Combined

“Hey dad! I ‘d like you to meet my new boyfriend. His name is Captain Fantastic Faster Than Superman Spiderman Batman Wolverine Hulk And The Flash Combined.”

Words, unlike for that young man, fail me. Though if Captain Fantastic is happy then who am I to complain. Not that that stopped his grandmother.

The official name for Windows 7 will be: “Windows 7”

Considering all the gruff Microsoft took over the name “Windows Vista” (including some gruff from me) it’s probably a smart move on their part to just go with something simple for the next major release:

Windows Vista Team Blog : Introducing Windows 7

And, as you probably know, since we began development of the next version of the Windows client operating system we have been referring to it by a codename, “Windows 7.”  But now is a good time to announce that we’ve decided to officially call the next version of Windows, “Windows 7.”

While I know there have been a few cases at Microsoft when the codename of a product was used for the final release, I am pretty sure that this is a first for Windows. You might wonder about the decision.

The decision to use the name Windows 7 is about simplicity. Over the years, we have taken different approaches to naming Windows.  We’ve used version numbers like Windows 3.11, or dates like Windows 98, or “aspirational” monikers like Windows XP or Windows Vista.  And since we do not ship new versions of Windows every year, using a date did not make sense.  Likewise, coming up with an all-new “aspirational” name does not do justice to what we are trying to achieve, which is to stay firmly rooted in our aspirations for Windows Vista, while evolving and refining the substantial investments in platform technology in Windows Vista into the next generation of Windows.

Simply put, this is the seventh release of Windows, so therefore “Windows 7” just makes sense.

As you know if you’re an SEB regular, I actually like Vista despite my initial dislike of the name itself. Which I suppose makes me a kind of maverick. Which I suppose makes me like John McCain. No wonder everyone hates me.

Anyway, I find the name Windows 7 to be very agreeable. It’s simple and doesn’t try to evoke a vaguely defined “experience” that the product will supposedly provide me. It’s Windows and it’s the 7th version. Short, to the point, and not wishy washy.