What's in a name?

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I’ve often wondered if people with the same name share similar characteristics or traits. Can quantum measurement predict the social actions of humans?

Some years ago when I ran an advertising agency in Chicago, I heard about another agency whose president had the same name as mine. So I called him one day curious to see what we had in common besides our names and our professions. I left a message with his secretary. He never returned my call.

Back in those days, as a single man always on the prowl, I would try to sit near attractive women in public places such as a local bar.

Soon after my unreturned phone call to my namesake, I stopped by a favorite bar on the way home. At one end of the bar I saw an older gentleman nursing his drink. Midway down the bar I saw a pretty, even attractive, woman with long dark hair. I didn’t want to make my interest too obvious so I sat two stools away from her.

As I sat down, she looked at me and smiled. I returned the smile. A few minutes later, we looked at each other again. I smiled and asked if she frequented this bar. I had never seen her here before.

We began a conversation: how we liked this bar; our appreciation for this part of town; where we worked; where we lived; the usual break-the-ice social dialogue. I asked her name. She said “Judith.”

Then she asked my name. I answered “James.” “James what,” she asked.

“James Walker. Call me Jim.”

She paused and had an incredulous look on her face. “You’re joking,” she said.

“No, that’s my name.”

She began to laugh. “What’s so funny?,” I asked.

“James Walker is the name of my ex-husband.”

“No, now you’re joking.”

I sat there dumbfounded. After more conversation, I realized that her ex-husband was the same Chicago advertising president who declined to return my call.

“What was he like?” I asked. I wanted to know if having the same name would have meant we had similar personalities.

She described her ex-husband as a bit smug, arrogant, and though attractive, not very giving. She even shared that she wasn’t sure why she married him. In my opinion he certainly didn’t sound anything like me.

We talked about our lives in Chicago and general social conversation. And with each lull in the conversation, we came back to the coincidence of two men in the same business with the same names.

We enjoyed each other’s company. As we finished our second round of drinks, I asked if we might get together again. There were only two possibilities: yes or no.

“Sure, I’d like that,” she replied.

We made plans to meet again on Thursday night, same bar, same time.

As she departed, we shook hands. I gave her a kiss on each cheek. She reacted with pleasure, not cringing as an uninterested or shy woman might.

We might have asked for each other’s contact information, phone number or email address. But social strictures tended to rule against that. We just made do with our promises to meet.

The next three days passed by very quickly. I looked forward to seeing her again. I felt like a teenager with a high school crush. How youthful. How wonderful. Fate had brought the two of us together.

I arrived at the bar early that Thursday evening. Full of expectation, I kept turning my head everytime the door opened and people entered. None of them Judith.

She was late. Time passed by. After two hours of nervous waiting, I reluctantly realized she would not come.

Having had such high expectations, I felt disappointed amd depressed and I ordered another drink. All of my fantasies dashed.

Of course I returned to the bar the next night at the same time and even on the same stool. But once again, no Judith.

I went back to the bar the next seven nights. Still no Judith.

I wonder why she did not show up to meet again. Perhaps she was married and just playing along for the social exercise fun of it all. Or perhaps one James Walker in her life proved sufficient.

I never did get her last name. I tried to find a Judith Walker on Google but to no avail.

I still go to that bar occasionally, always with a little bit of hope.

I wonder if women named Judith have the same characteristics. There are only two possibilities: yes or no.

About the Author: 
Jeffrey Weisman began his photography career at Cranbrook Photographic Studios in a suburb of Detroit. Subsequently, he pursued a career in advertising and marketing. His stories and articles appear in myriad publications. He displays his photography in art center exhibitions and galleries and serves on City art boards.