As fate would have it, I have a very generic-sounding last name. I have always viewed this as a bit of an advantage. My name is rarely mispronounced. Most people can spell it with ease. Famous people are named after me!
However, my name has posed an interesting challenge with email. On occasion, I get other people's stuff. Typically, it's a one-off. For example, I know someone named Mary MyGenericLastName bought some nice Harry and David gift basket for her grandmother in Iowa. (I received her order confirmation.) Also, it does work the other way too. One time, my former boss accidentally sent my salary overview and goals for next year to Colleen MyGenericLastName. (He was ever-so-grateul I knew how to use the "Recall this Message" feature in Microsoft Outlook.)
It is through this miscommunication that I have been acquainted with a man named Tim. Tim too is a MyGenericLastName. Here's what I know: I know he smokes quite a bit and enjoys the outdoors. I can ascertain that he is a garrulous fellow and probably works in sales. Also, he, like me, is a bit of a homebody and enjoys quiet nights at home with his friends.
How do I know this?
At least once every three weeks, for close to two years, I have received a piece of his email. I have gotten party invitations, a pictorial of one of his friend's children winning a championship soccer game, friendly catch-up emails and the ever-so-frequent advertising ploys from Philip Morris. I don't mean to spy. Technically the emails were sent to *me*, right? Also, since the emails rarely begin with his name, I have to read to find out who each email is meant for.
Fearful that Tim MyGenericLastName was missing out on his correspondence, I would dutifully respond to every message. I would begin by saying that the person has the incorrect email address for Tim. Then, I would typically respond, in some small way, to the content -- "Wow! Suzie did great at that soccer game. You must be very proud." or "Bob, if I were Tim, I would love to come to your party. Happy New Year!" Some people would write back and thank me. Others didn't. I didn't mind either way. In the end, I was just happy that messages made their way to Tim.
Today, I got an incredible message in my inbox. It was from the infamous Tim.
In his short email, he thanked me. He said a number of his friends had commented to him about how kind I was when I answered their wrongly addressed messages.
I was absolutely tickled! In my eyes, I always saw him as some type of celebrity -- a mystery figure. I wrote back immediately. In my three-line response, I told him that it has been my pleasure to lend a hand and that it's always nice to meet another MyGenericLastName. Then, before signing off, I wished him the best in the New Year.
I can't wait to read what's in store for Tim in 2003!