For clarification, my last name (Seay) is pronounced See, Sea, or C, depending on your penchant for ocular studies, bodies of water, or linguistics. However, trying to impart the correct spelling of my name over the phone inevitably devolves into a cross between a bad knock-knock joke and a “Who’s on First?” routine.
“Your last name please.”
“C? C what?”
“No, just Seay.”
“Yes. It’s pronounced C, but it’s spelled S-e-a-y.”
“So that’s C-s-e-a-y.”
“No, there’s not actually a C in the name, it’s only pronounced C. It’s spelled S-e-a-y.”
“Yes, but it’s spelled S-e-a-y.”
“Shoot me now.”
“We’ll send someone right over.”
And if that wasn’t bad enough, in junior high school my name was a source of much embarrassment. Kids are amazingly talented at creating dirty nicknames out of even the most innocent of names. My last name, though, was a bit of an easier target. Seay. Men. Semen. John Semen. (Insert maniacal kid-laughter.) To make matter worse, this is a nickname I will unfortunately bequeath to my progeny. Some parents dread the "birds and the bees" conversation, I dread explaining to my teary-eyed kid why his classmates call him Semen (“Semen is what lives in Daddy’s balls, Timmy”).
Which is why it came as small comfort when I found out that I’m not alone.
I made this discovery one day last week while engaging in a particularly robust session of Google-bating. I freely admit that every once in awhile I enter my name into the Google search engine, press return, and see what pops up. Because I've been writing for various online magazines (including this very Blog) for years now, my name--specifically referring to me--pops up fairly regularly. It is with much chagrin, for example, that I recently discovered that a story I wrote in college about a guy getting a vengeful--and ultimately deadly--blowjob from a toaster is very clearly attributed to me, and specifically me, on the first page of hits (follow this link to read it for yourself).
However, last week I stumbled across some other John Seay, a musician from Baltimore, Maryland who appears to be in his fifties. I visited his quaint Myspace page, here. I didn't really think much of it at first. After all, though my name is unique, I had no delusions that I was the only one in the world to posses it. To be honest, I never really cared to seek out others, people who very likely are nothing like me at all, except for the fact that if someone said, "Hey, John Seay" in a room that contained us both, two heads would turn around.
That's what I kept saying to myself, anyway. Nevertheless, I decided to send the page to a couple of friends of mine as a joke, mostly because I noticed, in my cursory glance over his Myspace page, that he had penned a song called, "I Got Cats," which made me laugh. So, I sent the e-mail out, and then returned to the page a couple of minutes later out of sheer boredom (and I admit that, like a cat, I was curious).
That's when I listened to the song "The Other John Seay," also featured on the--from my perspective--other John Seay's Myspace page. It started off cutely, if unassumingly enough, with the lyric: "My name is John Seay, maybe yours is too / I doubt it though, it’s not like Jones or Johnson." Not exactly PEN/Faulkner material, but attention grabbing nonetheless, at least for me. He continued, "It came as a surprise to learn that there were many others...it’s kinda like discovering a band of long-lost brothers ever since I Googled my name." Okay, my face turned red a little bit at that, considering my own hair-on-palm-growing habit of Google-bating.
Next I heard this: "There’s a John Seay in Birmingham, Alabama plays guitar like me, or at least I think he did / Some kinda reporter guy, writes about local music I don’t know if he’s married or has kids."
The guy was talking about me. ME. This John Seay. It was so bizarre, to hear this song that I'd randomly discovered, written by some other guy across the country who shares my name and who--apparently--had done a little research into yours truly (I wonder if he read the toaster story, mentioned above). I immediately posted the song on my own Myspace page and considered writing the guy a message. I haven't done it yet, because I'm a little afraid to. What if this guy is some kind of future me in a weird Back to the Future-type way, such that meeting him would make my arm start to disappear or something like that? What if we meet and our resonant frequencies amplify and open up a wormhole. My friend Kyle McKinnon suggested we write a song in return, sort of like hip-hop artists are fond of doing.
This other John Seay concludes his song by singing, “When my baby accuses me of some random infraction I now have the perfect fits-all-purposes reaction / I just say, 'Babe you know that couldn’t have been me, must have been some other John Seay.’”
Sounds good to me. Maybe I’d get along with this guy after all. At the very least, I guess he'd know how to spell and pronounce my name.