I have a Google alert on my name, because I fear being imitated and am also paranoid. Usually, when the alert pops up in my email inbox, it’s just a notice about something I’ve written here or at Amazin Avenue. Sometimes, the alert brings good news, like when I’m linked to and mentioned by name by a writer more prominent than myself. But nine times out of ten, it’s strictly neutral.
And yet, each time I see that email in my inbox, I freak out just a little bit. Maybe because I assume someone has written horrible, horrible things about me somewhere. As much as I like to pretend stuff like that doesn’t bug me, it kind of does, like thinking there’s some table in the lunchroom whispering about me and laughing. (I’m very insecure when I’m not being dangerously overconfident.)
So that was my fist thought yesterday, when I received a Google alert for a site I’d never heard of before, the Minot Daily News. I got a sick feeling at the pit of my stomach. Why won’t those kids who sit by the Coke machine leave me alone?!
As you might have already guessed, the article in question was not about me. It was about another Matthew Callan who has reportedly just committed to play football at Minot State University. MSU has just attained NCAA Division II status, and the article in question ran down some of their more notable signing day acquisitions. This Matthew Callan was included in a list of former junior college players who’d just transferred to MSU.
I always thought of myself as more of a tight end, but I’ll take it.
This is the closest my name has gotten to the limelight since Gil Bellows played a character named after me in the short-lived CBS spy show, The Agency.* I saw one episode of that show, couldn’t handle hearing my name thrown around so much (they really liked to say the full name for some reason), and never watched it again. I’ve always regretted not sticking with it, and since the show is not available on DVD, I can never catch up. Oh, regret.
* Of course, the biggest instance of my name being used in pop culture is another spy show called Callan. A British drama from the late 1960s/early 1970s, it starred Edward Woodward as a reluctant hitman. The banner at the top of this page contains the tagline from a cinematic adaptation.
So I vow this: I will follow Linebacker Matthew Callan’s collegiate career to the best of my ability for as long as I possibly can. As god as my witness, I will not pass up another opportunity to see my name weirdly decontextualized!