Brian Watkins – An Exercise in Absurdity

Warning: Brian Watkins is going to write something cheeky and occasionally refer to himself in the third person. Because yes.

You can tell if you have a fairly unique name if both that name as a domain is readily available and doing a search for yourself (we’ve all done it) produces nothing viable. How common was Brian Watkins, I wondered at one point until city info showed 5 others with that name within 50 miles of me. It’s not like I expected it to be like having Leopold Straddengaddersung as a name, but that’s a lot of name clones. (Try saying that name.)

Law firms and old articles about people killed on a subway. Or near a subway. I don’t remember off hand, only the frustration that an article that old with very little likes or shares is somehow still seen as a relevant search result for the name. How many people that were in some way connected to that person could still be looking for that information? I mean, no disrespect to that Brian Watkins or anything, but haven’t the rest of us done anything worth mention since that point?

You’d think with so many Brian Watkins’s running around that eventually more of us would disappear in some noteworthy fashion to deserve an article. Statistically speaking. No, I’m not volunteering.

If you’re any kind of artist, be it an actor, musician, painter, or even a writer you probably struggle a little bit with outwardly being humble and balancing that with a glimmering internal self-absorption. That whole “I’m not a dick and don’t think I’m better than everyone but still want people to know who I am,” dichotomy that defines every sensitive soul.

We’re just trying to put ourselves out there and hopefully make more of an impact than an old news story. It didn’t seem like a lofty goal when we thought of it, but it’s one of those hills we laugh at until we climb. “This hill isn’t shit,” we boast to our friends as we brace ourselves for a running start. Then we get partway up and run out of breath and wonder why the hell we’re even climbing the hill to make a point and if we even have enough stamina to summit it without embarrassing ourselves now that it’s out there.

Maybe that analogy got away from me a bit.

It makes as much sense as believing you can succeed but being scared shitless to do it. We’re all complicated, and it seems that trying to be creative means being even more emotional and neurotic than others. I know that this Brian Watkins has felt that way at least.

It takes all kinds of Brian Watkins.

I wonder how many other of the Brian Watkins’s out there are similarly inclined. I mean are we talking the full spectrum of professions covered here or is there some cosmic connection stringing us all loosely together?

Are we trudging around separately, having never met, but leaving similar footsteps behind as we go? Maybe if you’re a Brian Watkins out there reading this because you searched for your name you’ll smirk at being a forensic accountant or something. Or maybe you’ll smack your forehead yelling “Get out of my head, Brian Watkins!” until you realize you sound really crazy. Hard to say, right?

But if some of the other Brian Watkins’s are professional hitmen we can be happy their careers hinge on anonymity so they’re disinclined to thin out the namey competition. Also, is saying professional hitman necessary? I don’t imagine an amateur assassin lasts very long, especially if he’s using low-tension fishing line in place of piano wire because he’s on a budget. But hey what would I know? Is that even a tool of the trade for the modern permanent problem solver?

So whether we’re lawyers or truck drivers, writers or former circus clowns that relive the glory days being hired for Saturday birthday parties or something, we can definitely attest that this tree has a lot of acorns.

As the world becomes more and more web-focused, it seems like folks with common names will have to fight harder for screen space and become crusaders of vanity. Will it cause an increase in name swaps at the social security office? Will the onus fall to parents to get a little more creative for the sake of future searchability? What is that magical balancing act of coming up with something unique, but not so unique that it becomes a reason to get beat up on the playground.

There are certainly enough of those from bullies who are only a fraction as insecure that day as they’ll be in 20 years when they’re masking their inferior manhood with large engines and a low 0-60 clock. Know what I’m saying?

It’s not to say that being a bully and a complete human being are at odds, but, well yeah they pretty much are. But that does at least lead to some sense of justice at high school reunions when those who were assholes have either changed their lives or gone nowhere. Occasionally you’ll see that successful-but-still-a-steaming-pile-of-donkey-doo guy laughing in that please punch me in the mouth fashion, but that would be telling.

And in the mean time the clock chirps like a gym teacher’s whistle when it’s finally time to stop running in a circle like we’re in some sort of social experiment. We try to check the time on it but it goes all digital and just says “not yet” with a smile. Because this clock can smile and he thinks he’s just told you something enlightening, Mr. Brian Watkins. Maybe you should listen.

Maybe.

Brian Watkins - writer and crazy web guy

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