I am sure many of you will answer “yes” if I ask if you have ever googled your name and discovered that you may share it with someone else. In fact, there may be lots of people with your same first and last name. That’s not so unusual if your name is very common, but I was amazed at the response the first time I searched my name because I spell “Marc” with a “c” instead of the usual “k.” And let’s face it, Kuhn isn’t a name you run across every day.
Nevertheless, there are quite a few Marc Kuhns running around the planet, but the ones in Germany intrigue me the most because we could be related via some obscure ancestors. My father’s family comes from Germany. I’m told our name originally had an “umlaut” over the “ü”—those two little dots that mean you pronounce the letter as the word “you” and not “ah” or “uh.” Many of the German versions of my last name include the umlaut.
There is one particular Marc Kuhn that I try to keep up with. He is a German professor—a phD even! If you google our name he and I compete for the most listings, but he has a lot more pictures than I do…a lot. Sometimes my picture doesn’t even show up. It is easy to tell us apart, witness the pictures of us above. He wears high heels, I wear sneaker–no, just kidding–had a Taylor Swift moment there. Anyway, he is a lot younger than I am and has much more hair. Well, maybe not much more hair, but it is darker. He will eventually grow old like me and if he’s a true Kühn his hair will turn white and thin out. So if I am patient, we will look more similar as he gets older and I remain ageless. No problem.
I may have actually contacted him at one time–at least I think it was him. My faulty memory fails me again. But there was a Marc Kuhn in Germany whom I contacted a few years back. The experience was a rude awakening because there was one big difference between us: he was not very friendly. I sent him an advertisement of a printing factory our family co-owned in Germany many years ago and asked him if he could shed any light on it since I cannot read German. He offered little interpretation beyond what I was able to figure out on my own. But, what was surprising was that he showed absolutely no interest or curiosity about the family business or our sharing the same name and maybe even the same heritage. Perhaps I should have mentioned I had the German measles when I was a kid.
So it shows to go-yuh that just because someone else may have exactly the same name as you, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will both like Chunky Monkey. That’s about as profound a summation I can make out of this experience. The late author/poet, Gertrude Stein, said it much better: “a rose is a rose is a rose.” That’s sort of an older version of today’s “it is what it is.” I suppose likewise a name is a name is a name.