For years, I’ve had a standard response when asked my name. I’m known by my middle name. All my official documentation, however, starts with my first name followed by my middle initial. Why? My first name is the same as my father’s. There are many, many people in the world in the same situation.
No big deal.
My first and last names are the same as a famous, or so I thought, golfer. My response when asked why I’m known by my middle name is, “Well, there are too many Tom Watsons running around.” That is usually followed by a short pause and then a chuckle.
I started using this response some years, well, decades ago, when I bought some gasoline using my credit card. That card just contained my first and last names. When he looked at my card, the attendant started asking me questions about the Master’s Golf tournament. He thought I was the golfer ignoring the fact that we look nothing alike. I’m much bigger than Tom the Golfer.
No longer. Last week I started physical therapy to help relieve pain from tendinitis in my knee and shoulder. My PT is a thirty-something woman. She reads my chart and calls me, “Thomas.” I respond with my standard response.
**Blink, blink **
No reaction. We continue with the session. The next session we run through some exercises and she tells me she didn’t understand my name response the previous session until she mentioned it to her husband. She and her husband are outdoors people—hiking, sky-diving but apparently, no golfing.
We continue with the session until it’s time for some ultra-sound treatments. An early twenty-something woman arrives with the equipment, reads my chart and calls me, “Thomas.” I reply with my standard response.
“Who?” she asks.
“You know, Tom Watson…the golfer,” I reply.
“Never heard of him.”
Yup. I’m dated.