Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (April 19, 1999)
Page 12 Monday, April 19,1999
add spice to lives
of average joes
unny world we live in when
Michael Jordan can’t get a pizza
Jordan, a 24-year-old fruit
warehouse manager, would stand
a better chance if he ordered a smart remark
with a side of cackling laughter.
“They’ll crack up because they think I’m
kidding,” he said. “I’ll call back an hour later
and they say: ‘We didn’t think you were seri
ous.’ And then they still ask me to pay for the
pizza after all of that.”
Like many other ordinary people with
famous names, Jordan more or less
embraces his inexplicable fate because it’s
all he can really do.
Jordan is a working-class Rodney
Dangerfield; a man introduced to others in a
luminous and ticklish shadow as if the real
MJ had never enjoyed a well-processed
apple or orange. No respect.
“When people meet me, usually the first
thing they say is: ‘You don’t look like you
play basketball,”’ he said.
A social scientist doesn’t have to tell you
that Jordan’s namesake is often feathered and
tarred with humorous jabs because of our
starry-eyed time of entertainment overdrive.
People just have more respect these days
for those who are in the business of basket
ball instead of watermelon and cantaloupe.
Even though Jordan makes a fraction of
his famous counterpart’s salary and ends up
screening phone calls, he could barely har
bor a complaint.
“Mostly it’s been interesting for the last
12 years,” he said. “Although getting woken
up at two or three in the morning and told
how I kicked butt that night did get old.”
Jordan is not alone in Lincoln, a city that
supports many others who have monikers to
grin and bear. ;
In fact, a 10-minute scan through the
local phone book creates a list that tires the
eyes on its own: Steve Martin, Bill Gates,
Bob Barker, Jesse Jackson, James Joyce,
Richard Simmons, Jerry Lewis and Jack
They’re all used to catching flak, and
their stories are filled with humorous, awk
ward and annoyingly redundant moments.
However, some are evidently more sensi
tive about their notorious names than others.
An attempt to contact Richard Simmons
by phone ended almost immediately with a
hang-up that followed a disgusted and gruff,
Obviously the man on the other end was
not paying homage to his well-known name
sake by wearing a red tank top and striped
However, not all in this inconspicuous
social group are as touchy and stonewalling
Steve Martin is a cardiologist for the
Nebraska Heart Institute, a husband and a
father of two. He said that during his college
days he enjoyed dressing up as the “wild and
crazy guy” on Halloween.
“Back in the 1970s, I could use it to my
advantage,” Martin said. “I had the white
suit, the hat, the banjo and the whole bit.”
Although he’s far from being upset,
Martin said a lot of the attention he gets now
for his name can be tedious.
“I can’t believe they think they are the
first ones to come up with some of that
stuff,” he said. “Sometimes it’s kind of hard
not to look at them like ‘Yeah, I’ve heard that
Bill Gates is a father of two teen-agers
and a conductor for Burlington Northern
Railroad. He said when people first learn his
name, he often beats them to the punch line.
Gates said he’ll notice when a smarty
pants is in the middle of an all-too-familiar
smirk; at that moment he’ll playfully cut off
the oncoming attempt at comedy with “I’m
not the rich one.”
His coworkers often tease him by putting
headline cut-outs referring to the software
mogul on the employee bulletin board.
“Then they’ll say: ‘Hey Gates, what are
you working here for when you’re the richest
man in the world,”’ he said.
At least Gates doesn’t catch an earful for
turning cheeks and noses dark pink.
Jack Frost isn’t as lucky. He said people
gave him more grief as the weather chills in
late fall than any other time of the year.
The brunt of the heckling has always
come from children, he said.
MICHAEL JORDAN is a
for Demma Fruit
Company. The self
Bulls fan said he gets a
lot of flak for his
“When I was younger and in grade
school,” he said, “all the kids would say to
me: ‘Little Jack Frost nipping our nose and
painting our windows. Little Jack Frost get
Some things don’t change. Frost said
school-age children in recent years have
made phone calls to his house when the
weather gets //_
generafiy I can’t believe they
tTy10 pick think they are the first
appearance! °neS t0 COme UP with
hard * To SOme °fthat StUff ”
why 8 they STEVE MAMIN
give him a Lincoln cardiologist
The 57-year-old assembly manager is
stunningly appropriate for his role with his
silver and gray mustache and rooftop-of
snow hair that is parted on the side with a
classic sense of 1950s style.
Frost, who could never be mean Old Man
Winter, smiled in appreciation when talking
about the young pranksters.
“It’s all for fun,” said Frost, who has 13
grandchildren. “Although it does get a little
old when people at work keep giving me a
hard time about the weather.”
The comments of Jordan, Gates, Martin,
Frost and possibly even the silence of
Simmons teaches us something: We all must
make the most of whatever awkward charac
teristics we are bom with.
Jordan said those who are often and
momentarily caught between their name and
reality have a decision to make.
“You either accept it or hate it,” he said.
“I just accept it and deal with it.
“Even if I am a short, white, poor guy
who can’t jump or play basketball, I guess
I’m a yin-yang to the real thing.”
Story by Christopher Heine
Photo by Lane Hickenbottom
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