Friday, October 07, 2005

eponymous envy

My friend Lydia notified me yesterday about a feature article in the Los Angeles Times Magazine, something about people exploiting the Americans with Disabilities Act for financial gain. The article was titled "Rolling Thunder", but what really made it interesting was the name of the author: Matthew Heller.

I realize it is not an uncommon name - still, it's not that common either, and so it's a little shocking to see it in print. I was even more shocked to come across the art work shown here, a piece entitled "Deep Bass" by still another Matthew Heller. You can view his works at the website

As I told Lydia, it's always been one of my fears that somewhere there exists a better version of me - nicer, funnier, more successful and attractive, with a cooler website... I suppose growing up with a twin brother those fears are natural, and I've basically accepted that I may not always be the best expression of my genetic code. Having all these clever, well-spoken, talented Matthew Hellers floating around might be more than I can contend with, though.

It reminds me a little of a competition I had in preschool - there were two Matthews in our class, and for some reason neither of us wanted to be tagged with the awful name "Matt." So we had a competition to see who could spell "Matthew" correctly, and earn the rights to the name. I was very proud to win, and would let no one call me Matt until the 7th grade, when I realized that Matthew was the dorkiest name ever.

I don't know what sort of contest I could arrange with my fellow Matthew Hellers, and I have the dismaying sense that I would probably lose in any case. So for now I guess I'll have to resign myself to being the third-coolest Matthew Heller around. Oops, make that fourth-coolest: I forgot about television filmmaker Matt Heller. His credits include costume designer for a short film called "Doppelganger." If you know of others, please don't tell me - I would like to remain in the top five, at least in my own mind.


Joe Lewis said...

Just be glad you aren't named Joe Lewis.

Lydia Si-Ngaw Lui said...

Great post! I don't think you need to worry about having the rights to being the coolest Matt Heller. I can't imagine comparing your bass talent with that of the artist of "Deep Bass," or the author of an expose on a corrupt man in a wheelchair.

And I think that if you aren't the best expression of your genetic code, then probably 99% of the population is in deep, deep trouble...!