Being Wes Clark
I own the domain name "wesclark.com," which I use as the heading for all my various websites. (Go here and see. Those sun designs I use as background, by the way, are icons from my early boyhood. They're Fornasetti coaster designs. A family friend of ours from when I was four or so used to own a set. The things go for $250 or so infrequently on e-Bay auctions.)
Anyway, as you might recall, General Wesley K. Clark - often known simply as "Wes Clark" - was a Democratic presidential candidate in the last general election. One of his staff in Little Rock, Arkansas, asked me again if I'd like to sell the domain name to them and how much did I want? Quick as a bunny I shot back, "$50K." He stated that their finances aren't good enough for this to be affordable to them - but this is the second time he's inquired. If their man runs again (and he becomes eligible for all sorts of donation income) I might put the name up for grabs on e-Bay to the highest bidder - Democrat or Republican.
Run, Wes, run!
Seriously, however, having the same name as a man running for president is kind of a pain. People look up various Internet registries and think that my name, associated with a "uspto.gov" domain (I work for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office), must of course be General Clark's e-mail address. So while he was running I used to frequently get e-mails from people asking for big signs that they can erect in their front yards, etc. (As if a former general and a presidential candidate is going to be trading e-mails with the ordinary man - yeah, right.) I once got a call from the British Embassy, asking me for my FAX number so the British ambassador could invite me to a party. At first I supposed it had something to do with rugby, but later figured out it was simply because my name is Wes Clark. I considered going, and when introduced to the ambassador who would inevitably ask, "Who are you?" respond, "Wes Clark. You invited me." But, being an honest man I pointed out the staffer's mistake.
I could cause all sorts of mischief. Let's say I get an e-mail from a Wes Clark for President supporter, who, as they always seem to do, describe their hatred for George Bush. I could write back and describe my traditional firm support for Hezbollah, racist organizations, NAMBLA (the North American Man-Boy Love Association), etc. I could also put up a whopper of a web site along these lines on wesclark.com.
But... I wouldn't do that. After all, I'm Brigham, former Scoutmaster, true blue, honest and in love with America and Mom's (well, my wife's) apple pie, etc. So what I did instead was put a link on my website stating, "I'm not the Wes Clark running for president. If you want him, go here," which went to his presidential campaign site. I once got an e-mail from a supporter of his thanking me for this...
And once, when I was doing a Revolutionary War activity with the First Virginia (my Revy War reenactment club) at Mount Vernon, my wife showed up to watch us fire flintlocks and stated to the guard at the gate that Wes Clark, her husband, was taking part. The guard (a Basil Fawlty type) treated her suspiciously well, until she realized that he assumed she was married to General Wes Clark. She corrected him. And I used to get phone calls from other generals, and would have to correct them. (I guess General Clark once lived in the area.)
Anyway, I was considering writing an article about my experiences I'd call, "Being Wes Clark."
What's annoying about all of this is that General Clark's biological father's family name is Kanne, not Clark. Clark was the surname of his mother's second husband, which he took. So, you see, I'm really "Wes Clark!"