Monday, April 12, 2010

Mistaken identity: a life, observed.
LogoThere are
people with my name in the U.S.A.
How many have your name?

My name isn't terribly common but I have certainly received my share of emails meant for a different Bridget Palmer. I like to piece them together into a life, to form one coherent picture of Other Bridget Palmer.

Other Bridget began to take shape when I started getting eCards for "my" birthday every year. In the intervening months, I sometimes received eCards personalized with messages from a specific someone saying she missed me. I assumed it was "my" mom. After the first few cards, I sent an email to this woman to tell her I was not her daughter, mostly because I felt bad that her real daughter, wherever she was, was not receiving these lovely eCards. I never heard back. And I kept getting the cards.

In March of 2007, I got a few emails from a group of "my" friends with details on planning a bachelorette party. I was really excited that Other Bridget was getting married. I just knew her mom would be proud of her. I sent an email to the group of friends to tell them they had the wrong person. I never heard back.

In August 2009, I was informed by a baby advice website email that "I" had given birth to a baby girl. Six pounds, five ounces, and 19 inches long. I suppose she might have been my actual child except that the email also informed me that the baby's name was Madisyn. Spelled like so. Every week for a few months, I got an email update on "my" baby's growth and learning progress. Until I logged in to the website (with the username and password the emails had provided me) and unsubscribed.

Other Bridget's life took a turn for the unexpected last month when I was invited, via email, by a prison inmate to correspond with her on the prison's secure communications website. I was concerned that one of Other Bridget's friends had fallen into a life of crime and been incarcerated, but also touched that she still wanted to keep up our friendship. I logged on to the prison's website system and agreed to be one of the inmate's approved pen pals. Sadly, a few days later I got an email saying the inmate had denied me. She must have realized she sent the email to the wrong person. It's just as well since the only reason I went through with logging onto the system was to tell her so.

I actually received an email from Other Bridget herself, once. She told me she often came across my blog while Googling her name and she wished me well in my adventures. I wish her well in hers, too.

And I look forward to being kept up to date on them.


Amanda said...

This is funny. I don't get emails for Other Amanda Ball, but I do occasionally get mail for Other Amanda Calder via an old email address. She's Australian and did a study abroad trip to Costa Rica last year. That must have been fun.

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Mmmm, I expected thousands of people named Suzanne Walker, but on checking that website found only 416. I "know" several of them via mis-directed phone calls, emails and medical mixups, and even lived in the same ward as another S.W. years ago. Another one of "us" made the FBI rap sheet for the state of Oregon which prevented ME from getting a job w/ the fed.

It was reassuring to know, according to same website, that out of 224,030 people named Suzanne, over 99.9% are female. I would hope so. I was named after my wonderful Rusyn 'Baba'.

Using my first and maiden names the website tells me I am the only one, but that's not quite true as I have a distant cousin from Montana by the same name.

karina said...

There are "one or fewer" people in the United States with my married name. When I searched my maiden name it said there was one person (is that me or someone else?). I was so worried when getting married that I would lose my uncommon name...guess not!

Merkley Jiating said...

It said there are two people with my name. So that must be me and my sister-in-law. Funny. I wonder how close to accurate that is.

Liz Johnson said...

Hahahahaha! That's awesome. I often get emails from Capital One addressed to "Larry Johnson." I keep trying to reply to tell them that they have the wrong person, and that I'm sorry that his account is delinquent, but that they have the wrong person... sadly, it still hasn't been resolved. Poor Larry Johnson probably has no idea about this credit issue.

Liz Johnson said...

Also, there is apparently a "Christopher Johnson" on the terrorist watch list, because Chris can never check in at the airport without a call to Homeland Security. The desk attendant always looks at us nervously and then says that she just has to make a "quick phone call," and always keeps an eye on our hands to make sure we don't pull out a gun or something. It's always great fun to see them look at us as though we're potential terrorists... with our two screaming kids in tow.

Steven said...

There are 2,245 other people with my name. Steve Walker, 706. Stephen Walker, 1,556. I don't know any of them, though.

The Ensign's said...

This is hilarious! I did mine and I'm the only Janae Ensign. I guess that would explain why I haven't had this problem with getting any other Janae Ensign's emails, e-cards, inmate friendship requests, etc.

Jennifer said...

That's hilarious that you've had so much contact with the "other" Bridget.

There are 16 Jennifer Brinkerhoffs. Pretty good considering Jennifer is statistically the 21st most popular name. I'm guessing it's the last name that does it. :)

When I performed in the 2002 Paralympic Opening Ceremonies, there was another Jennifer Alder in the group. Neither of us had middle names. They had to keep us straight on paper by using our telephone numbers.

Liz, you married a terrorist?? :)

Karen said...

I checked mine: There are only 9 Karen Heisses. Funny story, though. A few years back (when Andrew was a freshman at BYU), I got an email from some ward clerk to Karen Heiss regarding YW camp expenses. I was working in Primary at the time, I think, so I knew this email was not intended for me. Intrigued that there was actually another Karen Heiss who was a Mormon, I replied to the ward clerk and asked about this other Karen Heiss. She lives in Atlanta; I've been in touch with their family, and we actually met the dad and a son when they came to Provo once. Small world!

Fromagette said...

With a first name AND last name as common as mine, you'd think I'd have run into another me somewhere. But I have yet to do that. I did get plenty of collection calls for just about every combination of "S_____ Jackson", but never for my actual name.

Lisa Lou said...

I've always wondered about the other people in the world that share my name. Sometimes I Google them. There's Lisa the porn star, Lisa the academic scholar, Lisa the voice-over for children's TV shows. Good luck to them all.

robin said...


i love that you have a "relationship" with all of yourselves.

sarah said...

heehee. how funny. there are 784,887 people with my name. does your maiden name come up with fewer bridgets?

Kathy Haynie said...

Good post. I love the idea of that alter-ego out there, living her own life. Sort of. Intriguing overlaps.

Susanne said...

Ha! Funny post.

I'm surprised Christopher Johnson is always viewed with suspicion at the airport. It's not like either of those names are uncommon.

Thanks for sharing about Other Bridget's life.


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