Sunday, May 22, 2005

Exploding Sentences, Overachieving Doppelgangers

[Update, 25 July 2006: Some of the doppelganger links have become obsolete over the past year. That kind of thing happens with the internet. Damn shame.]

I love this kind of stuff. It's the Johnny America page of unlikely search engine queries that led visitors to their web site. The phrases themselves are usually funny and the commentary about them often even more so. January 2005 is probably the funniest month's worth on the page, particularly the last paragraph. I always enjoyed it when Marc used to do this on Farm Accident Digest, though I haven't seen it yet on his new blog. The Johnny America stuff's even better.

I could only get this sort of amusement vicariously until now, though. Last week, evidently, someone found this page searching on "bolivian cuisine clumsy." And perhaps it is, in whatever poetic way cuisine can be clumsy. That person came to the wrong site looking for insight on the matter, however. I've eaten PBJs the last three days and Arby's today. I'm the last person in a position to criticize the gracefulness of Bolivia's cuisine.

In a related if more prosaic search-results vein, last week also saw a spike in the number of people searching in Google or Yahoo for "Steve Ely." The first few times that happened back in March and April, I was excited to think that people were actually searching for me. Eventually, though, I looked at the actual page of Google results itself.

It turns out I'm not at all the only Steve Ely on the web. While it now seems, amusingly, that I'm number one in the search results on Google for that name, several of my namesakes are more prominent, successful, and likely to be sought out. I had always felt as if mine were a nearly unique name, and to learn of these Others out there now makes me feel as if there are alternate versions of myself running around, as if I traveled back in time and started over several different times and now have multiple versions of me living variations of my life on parallel tracks. I have to imagine this wouldn't be my reaction if I were named Jason Smith and had grown up all my life knowing my name wasn't uncommon, let alone unique.

As much as I already feel like (c'mon, let's be honest, am) an underachiever, it's only underlined by the achievements of these Other Instances of Steve Ely.

One, for instance, is the Senior Vice President for Product Development of Equifax, which is apparently a global services provider of value-added information solutions with over $1.3 billion in revenue and 4,400 employees in 12 countries. I am not that Steve Ely. I know nothing of "The Equifax Way." He has over 26 years experience in technology, marketing, software development, and operations. This would have required me to have gotten started at age 3. I wish I were such a wunderkind. I am not.

Holy Crud! blasphemous pun intended. But here's a picture of another Steve Ely, and he's not only better-looking than I, he's also in better standing with God. He's Rev. Steve Ely. Sheesh. He's apparently a youth pastor running quite an active ministry. Not I.

I also, unfortunately enough, own neither a construction company building custom homes nor an original Yankees Stadium seat, bearing the signatures of both Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra and valued at roughly $1500. Either of those would be pretty cool. Each of those seem to be a different Steve Ely from each other; each is certainly a different one from me.

I am neither the race operations manager at Watkins Glen nor the general manager for a fun park in California. Either seems like it'd be pretty nice work, though.

While I'm at it, I am also not a guitarist, shortstop, football coach, lightning survivor, or dentist.

Frankly, I feel kind of like Dave Gorman.

In addition to everything else, this demonstrates to me the futility of hoping to have a unique identity on the Web by using simply what I go by in real life, never running into others using it too. I'll bet Pejman Yousefzadeh never has this problem.


Anonymous Fatty Tits said...

As I sit here listening to the mid 90's classic "Don't Leave Me", by Blackstreet, and reading my old buddy, Stephen Albert Ely's, blog, I can't help but think that this is what he needs to do for a living. You come across a lot better on paper than in real life Ely! Good job though, seriously.

1:31 AM  
Blogger Steve Ely said...

Thanks, Branton. And it's actually with a v, not a ph. Just so we're clear.

3:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nope I'm not one of those. This is kind of depressing. I too felt somewhat unique with this name. At least at 44 I have laid claim to the name longer than some, but I'm not sure thats a good thing...
And at least I don't get online encouragement from some one with a screen name like "fatty tits". (jk)
Steven Brian Ely

5:21 PM  
Blogger Steve Ely said...

Yeah, that's a guy I knew from work. Sometimes he'd call another friend that to make fun of him, but I was pretty surprised to see he called himself that there.

2:24 AM  

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