When I was in high school I picked up a prescription from a local pharmacy and noticed the note that read “Allergies: Penicillin.”
“I’m not allergic to penicillin,” I thought to myself. I glanced at the address and discovered the pharmacy had goofed — it had given me the right prescription, but processed it under the wrong Gordon Cameron.
I guess it’s the burden of having a somewhat common and very Canadian name. I’m sure it’s not as bad as being named John Smith, but I’ve had my fair share of humorous and frustrating mix-ups.
I had to throw out my first set of Hamilton Community News business cards because the e-mail address they figured I would receive was already taken by another Gordon Cameron within the company.
While I was at university in Halifax I used to get a few calls a year, including one from Russia, looking for “Gordie Cameron from Antigonish”. I never had the chance to meet Gordie, but it sounded like he had a mix of interesting friends and poor staying-in-touch skills in the pre-pre-Facebook age.
Recently, I had to endure four straight nights of collections calls — the kind where after you pick up the phone they transfer you to an operator who is never there and whose voice mailbox is always full. I finally called the company directly to sort this out. It seemed strange to me to be receiving a call like this, as the only outstanding debt I have is with my father who I’m fairly certain wouldn’t send a collections agency after me. (My father has a completely different situation with his name. He is one of about a dozen people in the entire world who if you put his name into Google, all the results come back referring to him.)
I ended up speaking to a nice woman who told me that the call was about a 407 charge and, upon checking her computer, informed me that they were looking for a Gordon Cameron who had a different middle name than me.
My all time favourite story involves a message I received on my answering machine during my last month of university. The woman identified herself as working for an executive search firm and asked me to call her back. I called her back right away and left a message.
My mind started racing with the exciting possibilities the call could hold. Someone out there must have heard about my genius and limitless potential and could see that, even at a young age, I had just the right mix of skills to lead their organization into the future. I had visions of riches, exotic travel, making important decisions and lording over a phalanx of adoring underlings. Things were going to happen for me now just as soon as I got the phone call.
My heart thumped when it finally came.
“Are you Gordon Cameron,” the woman on the other end of the line asked.
“Yes,” I said.
“Gordon Cameron from Halifax?”
“YES,” I practically yelled with excitement.
“Gordon Cameron the sprinkler installer?”
— This Gordon Cameron is Group Managing Editor of Hamilton Community News.