A common name.
When I attended college at Brigham Young University (the first time), I occasionally received calls from other students asking, “Are you the Steve Smith that went to Portugal [or Germany, or Venezuela, or Omaha] on his mission?” More often than not, I’d end up saying something like, “No. I’m the other Steve Smith.”
After a few of these calls, I contacted the Information Desk. I asked just how many “Steve Smiths” attended BYU. Back in 1995, I was told there were 16 of us listed in the directory. Today, there’s less than a dozen. Four or five students, plus a couple of faculty/staff members, and a guy named Craig, who I suppose has a “Stephen” somewhere in his name.
Perhaps, the commonest.
Of course, I’ve always known it’s a common name. I’ve often joked about all the great things I should add to my résume: playing for the Carolina Panthers, drumming for Journey, creating and hosting The Red Green Show. I can boast lots and lots of film, article, and design credits, too. I even have my own prime-time cartoon character. Just the other day, I visited Smith and Edwards, a wholesale outlet and not-quite-junk yard that’s now a famous landmark near Ogden, Utah. It was founded by Bert Smith and now is partly managed by his grandson, Steve. I even heard him/me paged while browsing the store shelves.
Slowly, almost imperceptibly, we are dominating every major industry. It’s just a matter of time before we take over the world. According to HowManyofMe.com, if you count all the Steve Smiths (3,515), the Steven Smiths (11,174), and the “ph”-ers (7,745), there are now 22,434 of us living in the U.S. (But did they count Craig?) They surely counted my father, Steven J. Smith, Sr. But not my boys. I showed restraint when naming my two sons, probably because I had a daughter first. We named her Stephanie.
So, what’s a Steve Smith to do?
The practical upshot of all this Steve Smithing is that it’s incredibly hard for any one of us, who isn’t first in line, to register a personal domain name or an email address. I feel lucky to have nabbed StevenJSmith.com when I did (a few years ago, but pretty late in the game). I’ve always avoided searching for my name at any of the popular free email websites by just using steve@whereIwork.com.
But with this site, I wanted to separate myself from my business personas. So I felt I needed a similarly separated email address to go with me. Certainly I was not the first one to grab email@example.com (that guy probably works for Google). Nor was I clever enough to get thestevesmith, mailtosteve, thatstevesmith, or even (and I love this one) NOTstevesmith. Nope, after you’ve passed up all those Steve Smiths, including the ones who went to Portugal or Omaha on their LDS missions, you’ll find me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And, of course, right here.