We are all, without exception (yes, that means you) a notorious crime, whim of a Hollywood scriptwriter or famous doppelganger away from a life-changing moment.
Take John West, for example. Not the actual famous tinned fish magnate, but the poor ordinary John West from the council estate who was forever being teased by his older brother for sharing the same name as the tuna king.
Whenever John opened his mouth, his older brother could cut him down with comments like “That sounds a bit fishy” or “for Cod’s sake” or even “don’t worry, fins can only get better.” Each cutting comment followed by a cruel cackle.
He had his life until 1994, when the grisly murders of a dozen women came to light. Overnight, Fred West stopped teasing his little brother. Overnight,the older brother’s once nondescript name became an embarrassing burden.
To suddenly find yourself sharing the same name as an infamous sadistic murderer was a bind. And a particular nightmare when booking a table for a romantic night out or calling a builder to give an estimate on relaying the patio.
We can laugh, but we should watch out. Fate can be a cruel mistress.
I used to fret that Richard Ord the Sunderland footballer would become an England great. “No, I’m not that Richard Ord, just the ordinary one.”
It does have its advantages though. I don’t have a problem booking a table in Sunderland, and I’m convinced the vast majority of my twitter followers think I’m the former Black Cat.
I remember seeing on TV a man who was on the end of some mild ribbing for his surname for years, but how Walt Disney turned that mild ribbing into a living nightmare.
The man’s name was Donald Duck. In the programme, Donald poured his heart out. He said: “I used to get the occasional quack noise in my direction, but nothing too bad. Kids were just having fun. But when the first Donald Duck cartoon appeared, it had a profound effect on my life. I found it very hard to be taken seriously.”
This was in the 1930s, but his name pretty much ruled out the option of running for President. Ironic really, given we currently have Mickey Mouse one in the White House!
But it’s not just our names, it’s our faces!
I had dodged the Richard Ord football success bullet, just, but soccer was to get me in the end.
Having grown a beard and bought a trendy pair of glasses I stepped out into the world hoping to carry off a mature Brad Pitt/George Clooney intellectual look.
Instead I was clobbered by the Klopp. Honestly, if I had a pound for every time someone stopped me in the street to say I looked like Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, I’d put those pounds in a sock and clatter the next one to open his trap!
What do you reckon?