Yes, I admit it; sometimes I Google myself. This is not entirely a vain, narcissistic exercise. I make my living -- such as it is -- writing, and once a month or so, I check to see what a search engine coughs up when a potential client searches my name. The first time I did this a three or four years ago, I was quite impressed with myself. Not so much of a big deal these days.
When I type in my name without quotation marks, Google spews out about half a million results. Of course after about page 10, all sorts of "heaps" surface. Hit page 35 or so and you are mostly getting references to "heaps of one thing or another." Most of these aren't particularly flattering.
Typing my name within quotation marks brings up about 5,000 results. A majority of these do link to stories I have written or mentions of me, but not all.
One of the mentions of me that I find interesting was in a news story that appeared in the Forty Myers News-Press from January 2007. The story was about Gov. Charlie Crist wanting to rein in insurance companies. When he was elected in 2006, I fired off an e-mail to him challenging him to do what every other Florida politician had promised but failed to do and get a hold of runaway homeowners insurance premiums. Evidently the reporter, using the freedom of information act, culled Crist's e-mails and picked mine out of the thousands to quote.
I never expected the governor to read the thing, let alone a newspaper to pull a quote out of it. I didn't even realize the quote had been used until Googling myself a year or so later. The quote:
Every politician wanting a ticket to Tallahassee promises to address the insurance crisis in this state. Well, talk is cheap and that's all we've had to this point. It's your turn.
Not exactly Charge of the Light Brigade, but pithy and to the point, nonetheless.
It seems there is a professional football (rugby, I assume) player in England with whom I share my name. He must not be a key player because there aren't very many links to stories about him, but he shows up among my references.
Then there is the Heaps Reunion Photos link from 2006. Somehow this link has stayed among the links on the first three or four pages of my "results" as long as I've been searching myself. I have no clue who these people are.
For the most part they appear normal; although there is more than one scary face among them. Capable of frightening buzzards off a meat wagon pops to mind. A couple of the females, however, are quite fetching in a I-hope-you're-not-my-cousin way. The big excitement at this reunion seemed to have been a checker tournament and water-balloon toss. It is obvious that this is not my family; there isn't a beer to be seen in the forty or fifty photos.
Otherwise the results are a rag-tag collection of stories I've written for Web sites and publications over the past six or seven years. Every time I Google myself, it becomes more and more apparent that I've got to get cracking on my novel.