Last night I got a note that someone on Orkut had added me to her friend’s list. Soon thereafter I got an email from the person in question asking me if I were the Thom Watson she’d known from Harvard, and also pointing out that we have some real-life friends in common.
It turns out that while the latter is true, and I did go to Harvard (class of 1984), I was not the specific Thom Watson (class of 1991) she knew.
As a kid I already was aware of professional golfer Tom Watson; the founder of IBM, Thomas J. Watson; and even Southern Populist leader, Tom Watson: Agrarian Rebel. I thought that my spelling of Thom with an h, however, would help my name stand out a little.
And in the small pre- and early-Internet world, it did. Between 1994 and 2000, sites owned by or related to me generally were the only ones returned for the search term “Thom Watson.” No more, though. My personal site is still the first result from Google, and other sites with which I’ve been affiliated speckle the results, but even the more unusual spelling now returns a plethora of results, many of which I’ve tied to specific individuals. At a minimum, there’s the:
- Psychic Healer and Reiki Practitioner, also known as “Grandfather RavenWolf”;
- Florida sports journalist;
- Maine politician (Representative, D-Bath);
- Producer and director at the Studio Theatre of Bath, Bath, Maine;
- Music licensing professional, stage actor and film coordinator. This one sometimes gets confused with me, because we’ve both done work over the years for PBS;
- Diocese of Coventry (U.K.) Board of Education member;
- Guitarist for New Zealand band “Head Like a Hole” and frontman for band “Cassette”;
- Former member of the Concord Arizona “Blue Devils” Drum and Bugle Corps;
- Keyboardist, vocalist and percussionist for “moth,” a “three-piece gothic soundscape ensemble”;
- Project manager at a Texas architecture firm and president of the Bulverde (TX) chapter of Optimists International;
- Dabbs Area Vocational Center (Birmingham, Alabama) welding test supervisor; and
- Everett (WA) Community College Maintenance Supervisor.
We’re nothing if not a diverse bunch, we Thom Watsons.