Who am I?
I travel in and out of the country several times a year on average. With three more years left on this passport I am about to need more pages for visa stamps. Getting through customs has become routine for me, and is generally the same boring process each time. Lately I have noticed that it takes me longer to get through immigration than it used to. The officers seem to look at the computer screen longer before they stamp my passport. I always figured it should take less time these days with all the post 9/11 improvements.
Three of the officers in different locations and at different times asked me if I was from Kentucky. I thought it was a trick question the first couple of times I heard them ask. Perhaps only someone who is actually from Kentucky will admit to being from there, I don't know. It could be that citizens from Kentucky have to pass some other challenge before getting into the county. If your address is Kentucky you are asked to spell "chrysanthemum" and if you spell it correctly you are not really from Kentucky. That is the way I would do it if I were the head of the agency. None the less I realized that there must be someone they are looking for with a similar name to mine.
Recently I went to Google to find a picture of me and Bob that I could not find any other place.
When you type in the find box on the google homepage it will auto finish with a phrase that has been searched on the net many times. For example if you write Paul with space and then the letter N, it will finish typing Paul Newman. You know what I am talking about. It is very helpful when you are looking for something that is relatively common.
I typed my name into the box and a list of Jay Johnson searches became choices. Jay Johnson ventriloquist came up at the top of the list. Directly below that phrase came another one that derailed my original search. One of my Google choices was the phrase, Jay Johnson ventriloquist gay killer...
When I clicked on that link an array of pictures came up on the screen. Some were of me alone and some with Bob and other characters. These familiar images were followed by a virtual police blotter of mug shots. There were several Jay Johnsons of every color and ethnic distinction that have not been very good citizens. The Jay Johnson crimes ranged from simple robbery to one who is accused of murdering a gay man. I looked very carefully to make sure none of the other Jay Johnsons were me. Although it did not give any body's address I am guessing that one of these namesakes is from Kentucky. I may have found the problem for my newly experienced delay in routine immigration checks. I suspect that mistaken identity is a real issue for a lot of people.
Just before I opened on Broadway a New Jersey newspaper reported the death of Jay Johnson. He was a business man from New Jersey who died in an automobile accident. The announcement concluded with the phrase, "Mr. Johnson was set to open his one man Show 'The Two and Only' at the Helen Hayes Theatre in September." Obviously it was a errant google search that led to the mis-identification. I thought it was a very funny and wanted to capitalize on the mistake for extra publicity. Mark Twain once responded to the report of his death with the statement, "The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated." I was talked out of it by the publicist.
So... in the interest of getting through immigration quicker next time... "The rumors of my premeditated hate crimes have been greatly exaggerated".
As you were,
Jay (the innocent one)