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. When I lived in Utah, I visited Smith and Edwards, a wholesale outlet and not-quite-junk yard that’s now a famous landmark near Ogden. 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. I moved to Cincinnati a little less than a year ago. At church, I’ve already met two new Steve Smiths, a kind, elderly retiree and a bright, energetic 12-year-old. (I think we may have scared the poor kid by showing him the future.)
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 (3,541), the Steven Smiths (11,257), and the “ph”-ers (7,802), there are now 22,600 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 instead 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 that someone has this) NOTstevesmith@gmail.com. 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.