Anon Y. Mous
July 31, 2009 9:47 AM   Subscribe

Airport security grills him every time he flies ... Landlords and election inspectors view him quizzically, and prospective dates need more than a little assurance that he’s not hiding a dark past. -- MeFi's Own™ paladin has a name that incites skepticism when he introduces himself. Enough so that the New York Times paid notice.

I met paladin at college in 1987. Of course, I had the same reaction: "No, really, what's your name?"

He reports on his facebook feed that the story is gaining legs: WOR-AM 710 and the BBC have called him for interviews.
posted by not_on_display to MetaFilter-Related at 9:47 AM (66 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I knew he was a MeFite when I saw this story, but I couldn't figure out which MeFite he was since I couldn't remember his username. Turns out we have a few other users named John Doe (none of whom have any activity whatsoever... hmmmm)
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:58 AM on July 31, 2009


But are any of them this John Doe? Because that would be cool.
posted by rtha at 9:59 AM on July 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


WHO IS JOHN DOE?

Oh, it's that guy. Okay then.
posted by The Whelk at 10:20 AM on July 31, 2009


According to his blog, he was born during the first moon landing.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:25 AM on July 31, 2009


My favorite John Doe is the one from the 1200 Hobos. Followed by the one from X. So, uh, get in line, Doe.
posted by box at 10:37 AM on July 31, 2009


Doh.
posted by Askiba at 10:45 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


That's funny, because at about that same age, I changed my name by dropping an "e." I would not realize until years later that this, combined with my single-syllable last name, made it look like it belonged to an Asian person (the only other person with my name who shows up in a Google search was the first Korean man to graduate from an American college) instead of a white woman from the midwest. Now that I live in an area with many Asian people, new doctors sometimes do a double-take when they walk into the room, having glanced at the name on the chart, and don't see who they expect to see.
posted by not that girl at 10:59 AM on July 31, 2009


I'm going to name my first born "Great Job" so even when they get yelled at they get complimented.
posted by pwally at 11:02 AM on July 31, 2009 [21 favorites]


"According to his blog, he was born during the first moon landing."

"John Doe" was born during the first "moon landing".

Sounds like a Bulwer-Lytton award winner.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 11:17 AM on July 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have a friend named John Do. He goes by JT, though, for just this reason.
posted by lunit at 11:47 AM on July 31, 2009


I fully expected you to say "all we know is . . . he's called The Stig."
posted by The World Famous at 11:55 AM on July 31, 2009 [13 favorites]


According to his blog, he was born during the first moon landing.

Something something universal healthcare.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:56 AM on July 31, 2009


I'm disappointed that he's not really named "Paladin", because then people would always be asking him if he could tank and heal.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:09 PM on July 31, 2009 [19 favorites]


Not only that, the poor guy is always getting indicted for one thing or another.
posted by Floydd at 12:13 PM on July 31, 2009


My name is Jon Doane. I have to always make sure that I enunciate the 'N', and I usually wonder when I sign a reciept if the cashier thinks I'm writing Jon Doe
posted by jpdoane at 12:17 PM on July 31, 2009


At least he is aware of the reasons why his name would generate amusement. I once worked at a call center for an online store, and took an order from a guy who gave his name as "James Bond." I was wrapping up the order when I joked, "I guess you must get some interesting jokes about your name, right?"

"....No, why would I?" he asked, genuinely puzzled.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:17 PM on July 31, 2009


"'....No, why would I?' he asked, genuinely puzzled."

Smoketoomuch. Mister Smoketoomuch.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 12:23 PM on July 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


I went to graduate school wth John Hancock. Whenever he had to sign a credit card receipt at a restaurant or store one of his many friends would say out loud "Be sure to sign your John Hancock!" The store employees/severs would always look at the signature and often ask for a photo I.D.
posted by ericb at 12:26 PM on July 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


My last name is a long, hyphenated multi-word name that no one ever gets correct. My mail is a mess, and it actually breaks databases. I've been seriously thinking of changing it to "Thirteen" but maybe that would be a whole other kind of mess.

Or heck. Maybe I should just go with "Arkham".
posted by JoanArkham at 12:26 PM on July 31, 2009

You know what's amazing to me? You can name your kid anything you want. Isn't that incredible? There are no laws. There should be a couple of laws. None.

You can literally name your kid anything. You can name your kid a name with no vowels if you want, like Pnsndltndpff... tssfffffff, just forty F's, that's his name. "Ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff... go clean your room."

Some people name their kids a word, like Sunshine or Battery or whatever. I'd like to name my kid a whole phrase, you know, something like Ladies And Gentlemen. That would be a cool name for a kid.

"This is my son, Ladies And Gentlemen." Then when he gets out of hand I get to go, "Ladies And Gentlemen, please!"
--Louis C.K.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:33 PM on July 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


Hello folks. Did a radio show this morning where I said "Uh" a lot, and the BBC is going to get me in their New York studio sometime next week or so. I was saying to a friend, "You know what this is like? When Bart Simpson got famous for saying 'I didn't do it,'" and he said, "Exactly."
posted by paladin at 1:14 PM on July 31, 2009 [12 favorites]


My last name is a long, hyphenated multi-word name that no one ever gets correct. My mail is a mess, and it actually breaks databases. I've been seriously thinking of changing it to "Thirteen" but maybe that would be a whole other kind of mess.

Yeah, well, my last name is two letters.

Do you have any idea how many things require you to type in the first three letters of your last name?
posted by Comrade_robot at 1:18 PM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Gen an agent, paladin. This is your ticket to the BIG TIME.

where BIG TIME means D-list celebritiy
posted by GuyZero at 1:30 PM on July 31, 2009


I get the same thing, but, then, my actual name is Nothatsnot Myrealname.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:50 PM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


D-list? I think paladin/John could make the C-list easy.
posted by wendell at 1:52 PM on July 31, 2009


Gen an agent, paladin. This is your ticket to the BIG TIME.

I didn't know you could generate an agent. So that's why they're like that...
posted by paladin at 1:53 PM on July 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


My keyboard has N and T right next to each other. Also, I have several space keys and a huge "R" bar across the bottom. Plus I have the manual dexterity of The Thing times the Hulk.

But seriously. Road Rules. "Get me Off This Island..." The Apprentice. All these could be yours...
posted by GuyZero at 2:19 PM on July 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


You should fly around the world and witness important documents for people, for a fee.
posted by ODiV at 2:28 PM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Funny things from people who are not me, yet come up in conversation every now and again:
Anyway I met his woman, her name was ah, Amy, you know, so I go Oh," A-M-Y?"
She goes no," A-Y-M-I-E".

"OoOoOoaahh! I have to take a nap"
"I'm Brian, B-R-I-V-O-L-B-N, the number 7,the letter Q,--"Brennemenahgah!!!","Look at my name tag,it's,it's big.
- Brian Regan
Noony: So young boy. Please tell us about yourself.

Jeff: Uh, well. My name is Jeff.

Nuni: Geyf. Gearf. Guearf. Guarf.

Jeff: No no no it’s Jeff.

Noony: Je Guar. Jay Hay. Jerganz.

Nunni: Motha Dadu, you are embarrasing me. Its Jerff. Jeh-Ear-Earre-Effe! Juearf!

Noony: Oh. Like the racecar competitor Juaref Gueardon.

Nuni: Oh, like the wonderful actor Juef Goaldblaum.

Nunni: Precisely! Juearf!

Nuni: Wonderful! We’re in agreement.
- SNL with Natalie Portman: 03/04/06
posted by filthy light thief at 2:32 PM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


One of my relatives is Saddam Hussein (not that one).

Even posting him international letters or parcels is difficult. Even since they executed his namesake. Possibly the authorities are worried about the Iraqi dictator returning in zombie form. And receiving mail.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:49 PM on July 31, 2009 [6 favorites]


At least he is aware of the reasons why his name would generate amusement. I once worked at a call center for an online store, and took an order from a guy who gave his name as "James Bond." I was wrapping up the order when I joked, "I guess you must get some interesting jokes about your name, right?"

"....No, why would I?" he asked, genuinely puzzled.


Twenty years ago I was selling consumer electronics and sold a Walkman to a thirtyish guy (i.e., someone born around 1960). He pulled out his Visa to pay and I saw his name was Paul McCartney.

I said, "You must have heard every joke possible about your name, so I won't even try."

He said, "The biggest problem is that I absolutely cannot make dinner reservations. People assume it is a prank. So now I do them as Ringo Starr."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:21 PM on July 31, 2009 [11 favorites]


When I was abroad in Korea, I was sitting with some friends when a couple more people came, and they introduced this balding, middle-aged white guy as "Will Smith". Everyone but me thought he was kidding, because I, having learned a thing or two about that sort of thing, realized immediately that he was serious.
posted by paladin at 5:46 PM on July 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


This reminds me about how anytime my mom has to show her ID for anything someone points out "Oh wow! You were born on Christmas!"

Every time. As if she, personally, were not aware of this. Oh, I think she knows. Just a hunch.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:49 PM on July 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


see, even John Doe hangs out here
posted by infini at 6:42 PM on July 31, 2009


I would think one of the more problematic aspects is the number of times paladin has to bear phone calls checking on his status anytime there a murder of an unknown male reported in the newspapers...
posted by birdsquared at 7:40 PM on July 31, 2009


I'm disappointed that he's not really named "Paladin", because then people would always be asking him if he could tank and heal.

Or if he had a gun and could travel.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:16 PM on July 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


ObXKCD
posted by Dr Dracator at 11:19 PM on July 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've got an acquaintance who is one of the thousand or so who are all delayed because David Nelson is a name on the do not fly list. Not many things would tempt me to legally change my name, but airport security hassling me every time might do it. I wonder if going by Jonathan Doe would get less harassment?
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:51 AM on August 1, 2009


I've got one of Those Names. Oh, crap. It's a name that makes complete strangers feel entitled to make a joke I may hear no less than 30% of the time when I use it. It's even worse with my first name. Nothing has more destroyed my original faith that humanity could collectively learn, as a species, or extrapolate into past events, than realizing that many people never bothered to think that, hey, someone might have possibly already made that joke to me ... even today.

One of the few things I've ever thought about getting tattooed on my body would be the phrase "GEE, I NEVER HEARD THAT ONE BEFORE." Just below necklevel. When confronted with The Joke, I could simply pop my shirt open like Superman.

Lose a lot of buttons that way, though.
posted by adipocere at 9:18 AM on August 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


I've got one of Those Names.

A university buddy of mine, surnamed Hall, is now married with kids. When the first son was born, he sent out the usual birth announcement e-mail ("born at 8:40 AM, 7 lbs 2 oz., mother and baby are doing fine"). The kid's name was Carter. After I read that, I thought to myself, "Carter Hall, Carter Hall.... why do I know that name?" After a half hour it suddenly came to me. I phoned him up and said, "Dude, your son is Hawkman?"

He said, "Pretty cool huh? So, do you think I should tell my wife?" I suggested he should, and that saddling a kid with a superhero name was the kind of thing maybe parents might discuss and agree on ahead of time. He said, "It's not like he's Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:06 AM on August 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


Ricochet Biscuit: You say Hawkman, I say Tam Lin. (The poem is set in the Carterhaugh village of Scotland.)
posted by pxe2000 at 11:17 AM on August 1, 2009


Dude, your son is Hawkman?

I love that. Love. That. It's just obscure enough that it won't raise eyebrows yet just widely-known enough that when it's recognized it'll make his life full of little moments of awesome. I approve.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:35 AM on August 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


I love that. Love. That. It's just obscure enough that it won't raise eyebrows yet just widely-known enough that when it's recognized it'll make his life full of little moments of awesome. I approve.

Young Carter is about six or seven now and his dad showed me pictures of last Hallowe'en, when the kid was dressed as Superman. I suggested that maybe whoever chose the costume was Unclear On The Concept, and his dad said somewhat testily, "Okay, YOU find a Hawkman costume."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:26 PM on August 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


ricochet biscuit: "At least he is aware of the reasons why his name would generate amusement. I once worked at a call center for an online store, and took an order from a guy who gave his name as "James Bond." I was wrapping up the order when I joked, "I guess you must get some interesting jokes about your name, right?"

"....No, why would I?" he asked, genuinely puzzled.
"


Oh, come on, ornithologists aren't really that famous...
posted by PontifexPrimus at 12:30 PM on August 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


My name is Jeff Johnston. It's actually really annoying; people make jokes all the time—like I haven't heard them all before! And every single time I'm in the security line at the airport and I show the agent my ID, he says, “wow, you have the exact same name as about a billion other boring-named people in the world.”
posted by koeselitz at 2:35 PM on August 1, 2009


I have an unreasonable fondness for anyone who pronounces my last name correctly on the first try.

Seriously, it's not that hard. There is an A in it! it's not silent!

I don't have it as bad as a friend, he has a musty aristocratic french name. He lives in Texas. Even the minister at his father's funeral pronounced it wrong.
posted by The Whelk at 3:16 PM on August 1, 2009


One of my high school friends had the same first and last names. Say, Chelsea Chelsea. (Not actually her name to protect her privacy, but you get the idea. Her parents were professional clowns, which might explain why they decided to saddle her with the name they did.) It was mostly a touch of fun where we all giggled at the substitute teachers taking role and called her Chel Squared, which is pretty good as far as nicknames go.

Then Senior year rolled around and she signed up to go on the concert band's Europe trip. She had trouble getting a passport, the travel agency flat out canceled her arrangements multiple times, airlines wouldn't book tickets for her....it was bad. She ended up going to Europe and having a good time and all but I can't imagine how frustrated she must have been. Even now she has trouble buying alcohol.

So yeah. Sometimes names suck.
posted by internet!Hannah at 6:06 PM on August 1, 2009


Heh.
I have one of those common names like 'Smith'. I have a brother called John and his wife is called Jane. Jane hated being 'Jane Common-name-like-Smith' so she changed it to a totally made up name like 'Arrowocean'.

When my friend Jimmy Willing was thinking of names for his first daughter, he liked the name Verity. But then he thought hmmm, Verity Willing would get shortened to a name no father wants for his daughter: Very Willing.
posted by Kerasia at 7:04 PM on August 1, 2009


My real life name is the same as a semi-famous author. I occasionally get email for her and I have to break the news to people that she's been dead since 1984.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:16 PM on August 1, 2009


Lose a lot of buttons that way, though.

Western shirts, dude. Stylish *and* practical.
posted by stet at 8:17 PM on August 1, 2009


Hi paladin! When I saw that story I was reminded of the guy in NY State who wanted a particular vanity license plate. In the lines provided for a second and third choice, should his first not be available, he wrote "none." He got the second choice, thought the plate was funny, and kept it. Soon he was receiving tickets and summonses for every offense by a car with no license plate, since "none" was the usual designator in that case.

Supposedly it got real bad, almost ruined his life, but then they changed the official ticket language to "missing plate." (Don't get that one, either, I would guess.)
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:07 PM on August 1, 2009


EmpressCallipygos: "At least he is aware of the reasons why his name would generate amusement. I once worked at a call center for an online store, and took an order from a guy who gave his name as "James Bond." I was wrapping up the order when I joked, "I guess you must get some interesting jokes about your name, right?"

"....No, why would I?" he asked, genuinely puzzled.
"

I worked at a phone bank, and I got two:

1) Called "Gordon Lightfoot" -- I asked him if he were Gordon Lightfoot, the singer. He said no, he wasn't.

2) While calling for some Democratic political something-or-other, I got a "Colonel ___ Sanders." Asked him if he were the Colonel. He laughed and said, no, that that Col. Sanders is from the Republican branch of the family. And then he donated $50 to whatever campaign fund I was calling for.
posted by not_on_display at 11:10 PM on August 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I share a last name with that of Sherlock Holmes's partner-in-crimefighting. Strangely enough, no one made jokes all through school, but people these days assume I did and ask about it. I see the same disappointment in all of their faces when I tell them it never happened.
posted by Mikey-San at 1:10 AM on August 2, 2009


I was at the prompt care clinic yesterday.

The doctor poked her head in the door, said "I'm Dr. Samantha NotRealNa--", looked at me for a second, furrowed her brows, and said, "Oops. You're not Aubrey."

I grinned, "It's okay. You're not really a doctor."

We got on famously. She was a great banterist.

[For the record: I am named Aubrey. I'm used to the presumptions. And my mother's a physician. I was kidding.]
posted by Netzapper at 4:26 AM on August 2, 2009


More name fun:

My parents' names are Dick and Jane. They think it's cute. My father proudly introduces them as "Dick and Jane" rather than introducing themselves as "Richard and Jane [lastname]". Sometimes he tries to get really cute and introduces me with, "And this is our daughter Puff...."

When I was about twelve, my family was adopting a puppy, and we had a big family meeting to pick a name the night before we collected our puppy. Sure enough, my parents jokingly suggested "Spot." And my brother and I told them that if they actually DID name the dog Spot, we would run away.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:42 AM on August 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


My surname is English. ENGLISH, MOTHERFUCKERS. Stop trying to put an apostrophe in it. It is not O'-anything.

(This surely is not helped by having Irish first and middle names, but still...)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:49 AM on August 2, 2009


When I saw that story I was reminded of the guy in NY State who wanted a particular vanity license plate. In the lines provided for a second and third choice, should his first not be available, he wrote "none."

Fwiw, the Snopes version of that story places him in LA, and the plate being "NO PLATE".

(As for my own name, the only notable mixup is this really cute norwegian girl with the same last name that sends me photos of her and her cute friends from various vacation trips, whenever she's mailing out photos to family and friends. I sometimes reply and point out that I'm probably not the right person, but the photos keep coming. Hmm.)
posted by effbot at 12:05 PM on August 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


"No, my in-laws are redneck, not French. It's 'Collyer,' not "Col-ee-ay.'"

Every. Fucking. Time.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 8:34 PM on August 2, 2009


One time I was working at a library circulation desk and a patron called up to renew books. She spelled her last name out for me: B-O-O-G-E-R.

Of course, I misheard the first letter and had to ask her to re-spell it, and I got this really heavy sigh. I wanted to say, "No, really, I wasn't making fun!" but I couldn't figure out a way to do it tactfully.
posted by marginaliana at 6:36 AM on August 3, 2009


ricochet biscuit : He said, "Pretty cool huh? So, do you think I should tell my wife?" I suggested he should,

I have almost the opposite of this story; my friend just had a kid, when we got to the hospital to visit, I was introduced to his son Darien. I turned to him and said "You named your son after the Invisible Man? That's freakin' awesome!" to which he responded under his breath, "Don't tell my wife".

I'm so going to get him an Ouroboros onesie.
posted by quin at 8:15 AM on August 3, 2009


Someone else who has trouble catching a flight (or a Facebook account): Caterina Fake.

Chief Wiggum: Yeah, yeah. Save it for Dateline, Tuesday. What's your address, so I can come and arrest you.
Marge: Arrest me? My address! It's uum.... 1..2...3.... Fake Street!
Chief Wiggum: 123 Fake Street. Got it.

posted by mattbucher at 9:50 AM on August 3, 2009


ricochet biscuit, there used to be two, count 'em, people in the Chicago phonebook named Clark Kent. I called one of them and talked to him for a minute. (OK, I was seventeen, and he seemed resigned and even a little relieved that I wasn't pranking him.) I didn't even check for Bruce Wayne after that.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:09 AM on August 3, 2009


My actual first name is 'Geoffrey'. I have received mail and phone calls for Jeffrey, Geffrey, Godfrey, Goffroy, Gobby, Gregory and Grubor.

It does help me know what I can just toss in the trash and hang up on. If they can't get my name right, I don't want to talk to them.

We won't even get into my last name. It's a disaster in five letters.
posted by mephron at 10:15 AM on August 3, 2009


If they can't get my name right, I don't want to talk to them.

I should start taking messages for the Heinous Mispronunciation who gets a lot of calls. For some reason, customer service people can NOT say my name. At all. I've been interviewing for jobs and prospective employers have no problem, nor do my doctors offices have any issue. But credit card companies/Princes of Nigeria? No way. Can't do it.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:05 PM on August 3, 2009


When I saw that story I was reminded of the guy in NY State who wanted a particular vanity license plate. In the lines provided for a second and third choice, should his first not be available, he wrote "none."

A coworker of mine with an easy-to-pronounce but hard-to-spell name beast traffic tickets all the time because the cops rarely get the full name right (two words, but they include four capital letters and an apostrophe). I remarked that a vanity plate reading MNMMNNMN would make him unstoppable on the roads.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:07 PM on August 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


That is, beats traffic tickets.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:10 PM on August 3, 2009


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