‘Steven Brown’

Art by Tami Thirlwell
Flowers Courtesy Tami Thirlwell

It’s taken a while to break me down but I have to confess I’m not the person you think I am.  You know, I’ve never actually known who ‘Steven Brown’ is?  I’m serious.  Okay, not that serious.  But have you ever wondered who you are?  Of course not.  Okay, this post is over.

If you’re born with a name, and grow up with it, and it’s you, that’s different from being one person then becoming someone else, especially if you were already a bit confused as to who you might be.  I know.  Again.  So what?

My one question is does it move the dial?  Will it start the car?  I know.  That’s two questions.

I was stunned myself when I actually, finally, put everything aside and started to look into ‘Steven Brown’.  There’s a lot of this guy out there.  I knew that but was afraid to look because I’m, you know, unique.  I was dumbfounded, appalled, bewildered.  I nearly rolled over and went back to sleep.

The guy is everywhere.  Sometimes it’s ‘Steve’, sometimes, ‘Stephen’, occasionally ‘Stephan’ or ‘Stefan’, and always ‘Brown’.  Brown.  What’s that mean, anyway?  What’s ‘Steven Brown’ mean?  It’s worrisome.  It’s on every land mass, this thing, this ‘Steven Brown’.  And it seems to hold down a vast array of occupations.  Doctor.  Lawyer.  Musician.  Academic.  Top commenter.  That’s not an occupation.  Shut up.  Try it.

It’s just strange.  It’s unavoidable.  It’s banal.  And it’s not my fault.  ‘Steven’ is my christian name.  Are they still called that?  ‘Brown’ is my adoptive name.  I didn’t adopt it.  Somebody adopted it for me.  So it’s always in the back of your mind, right?  Are you sure?  Are you sure that’s you?  Who are you, actually?  And what happens when you find out?  Not that you ever will.

It’s like having the last name ‘Smith’.  I always thought, because I was told, it’s the commonest name, but I only ever knew one Smith and that was years and years ago.  You never meet a Smith.  Forget it.  If the name’s so common where are they all?  If you know a Smith let me know because I’m here to tell you Smith is not a common name.  Brown is a common name, much more common.  Unless it’s Wong.  It’s funny because Stephen Wong was a good guy, but where is he?  And as for ‘Steven Brown’ it’s off the dial.  The dial’s broken.

It’s just a solemn fact there’s a lot of us out there.  There’s not much I can do.  I could change my name.  But why bother?  It didn’t work the first time either (see above).

But even people with unusual names, they’re not alone.  You can have a strange name like Punxsutawney or Thirlwell and feel you’re in the clear but when you look into it discover you’re well back, you’re not first and not even tenth or maybe twentieth.  It’s frustrating.

I just remembered something.  I knew another Smith and it wasn’t that long ago.  Andrea.  Nice kid.  Worked with her, sort of.  I think she changed her name.

Olympic Mtn AlpenglowThat’s it.

Author: Steven Brown


4 thoughts on “‘Steven Brown’”

  1. It wasn’t until the invention of google that I realized other Thirlwells even roamed the planet that were not of my kin. Suddenly I wasn’t an oddity. But I have to say that I’ve always been envious of a last name, like Smith, or Brown or Jones. Do you know what it’s like going through your entire life having to constantly repeat and respond to, ” could you spell that, please?”
    Great post Mr. Brown!


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