Why Are All Those People Using MY Name?



Airplane end titles

This is the conclusion of a two part series that began with What’s In a Name?

What are the odds that some random dude sitting next to you in a bus station will have the same name as you? And further that he will actually tell you his full name?

But that’s what happened to me in the Harrisburg station. And just to prove to each other that we had the same name, we pulled out our driver’s licenses. Yep, they each had James Troutman there in black and white, or whatever colors were on the licenses.

We chatted for awhile until my bus arrived. As I recall, he was adopted and had been in some trouble with the law but had turned his life around. Seemed like a nice enough chap, but other than our names, we really had nothing in common.

A few years later as I was watching the end titles of Airplane!, I noticed that the Sound Editor was a fellow named Jim Troutman. If you look him up on imdb, you’ll find all his other movie credits. But he’s not the only James Troutman who has an imdb listing. He’s James Troutman I. There’s also a James Troutman II. There’s also an entry for a III and a IV but III is blank and IV has only one credit.

Swim LessonIn the spring of 1958 when I was in third grade, a bunch of us Richland kids took a swimming class at the Lebanon YMCA on Saturdays.

As you can see in the newspaper article on the right in the yellow highlighted rectangle, among the kids who passed the swimming test were Richlanders Johnny Goodison, Billy Forry, Julian Weiant (they misspelled his last name), Bobby Walker, and Ronald Wike (the original “Twink”). I was one of the 33 who learned to swim (mostly) but didn’t pass the test.

But look at the bottom of the article and you’ll see that one of the assistants to the YMCA staff was a fellow named James Troutman. Yeah, I was in the same room with another James Troutman and I never knew it.

After some more searching through newspaper archives, I’ve decided that the James Troutman at the Y must have been a middle-aged man, but I also found another James Troutman in Lebanon County of roughly the same age as I was at the same time. So though I didn’t know it, there were two other James Troutmans living in Lebanon County in the 50s and 60s at the same time that I did.

Closer to the present day, about 15 years ago there was a rape and murder of a young girl committed in the suburbs of Philadelphia where the culprit turned out to be someone who shared my first and last names. My sister was surprised and a bit shocked when she saw on her television screen that James Troutman had been arrested near Philadelphia. And for several years thereafter, if you did a web search of “James Troutman Philadelphia” it was his information that popped up.

A few years ago I received a bill from a medical facility in New Jersey for a procedure that I had never had. Apparently there is another James Troutman somewhere around here who doesn’t pay his bills.

And there is yet another James Troutman, though perhaps it’s the same guy who doesn’t pay his bills, who goes to the same dentist that I do. Or that I used to. It just got a bit too creepy.

So while my name may not be Legion, we are many. — Mark 5:9

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