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What’s In A Name?

http://www.adiumxtras.com/images/thumbs/hal9000_3_7192_3034_thumb.jpgI am named after both of my Grandfathers – My father’s father David and Edwin, my mother’s father. I am very proud of my heritage. My father’s father, who actually went by his middle name Carl, owned Bowman Hardware in Marshall, North Carolina. I knew him as Papa Carl, and loved going to Marshall a few times a year to visit him. Though he is no longer around, the store is still there, and still bears his name. He was a proud man with a strong work ethic, and he was hands on as a business owner. My mother’s father, whom I don’t remember personally, was another great man. He died shortly after I was born. Daddy Ed, as he was known, worked as an editor for the Toledo Blade – a paper that is still considered to be exceptional. Anyway, as a result of these two great men, I was named David Edwin Bowman. So where am I going with this…

Well as fate would have it, Arthur C. Clarke, who recently passed, chose to name the main character in 2001 A Space Odyssey, David Bowman. Thus, should you choose to search for David Bowman, you will find Arthur C. Clarke first. Periodically, when I call into a customer service and give the person on the other end of the line my name, I get the reply of “Hello Dave” in the best HAL impression the sci-fi buff turned customer service agent can muster. I always play along, as I get a chuckle out of it.

Now, that is an interesting coincidence to be sure, but there is more. When I went to work as a sales representative for a small company in Cincinnati back in 2001, who was I introduced to on my first day? Dave Bowman, sales rep. This presented a problem, and for a short time I foolishly chose to use my middle name to alleviate the confusion. I never got used to that. I love my middle name, but it was meant to be in the middle. To this day there are people whom I met there that refer to me as Edwin. Fortunately, he left soon after I started, and I went back to my given first name.

Well, living in Dayton, I have tried to spend a good deal of my time networking and building the brand call “David Bowman” brand as Tom Peters might call it. It just so happens that there is a local newscaster named… you guessed it, Dave Bowman. I am convinced he used to spell it Bohman, but I can’t verify that. So, yet another of me.

There are David Bowman’s that are musicians (so am I) bloggers (so am I) and any number of other things. I can’t imagine being John Smith.

So when people wonder why the E. in the middle? The answer is mostly because I like the way it sounds, but has a little to do with differentiation too. Even that is not foolproof. I have my Google Alerts set up to let me know where David E. Bowman turns up on the web. It turns out someone who shares my first name and middle initial, was arrested in New Jersey last week. It is weird to see your name in print like that – but good to know it is somebody else.

So, what’s in a name? Arthur C. Clarke unknowingly altered my life, albeit just slightly, with his choice of names. I would guess that all the other David Bowman’s out there probably share this experience in some way too. So I suppose that names do matter – sometimes in ways that can’t even be measured. Is it any wonder that one of my favorite Dr. Seuss stories is too many Daves?

Seth’s Blog: What you can learn from Arthur C. Clarke