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August 27, 2014

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Ice Ice Billy

Searching for Alonso Winkleman

Facebook is the refrigerator door of our times. We post our hand-traced drawings of turkeys for all of our friends to see there. Oddly enough, most of these friends would probably never be invited over to see our real refrigerator door, even if it guaranteed a thrilling avalanche of accolades over the macaroni art depiction of your house ravished by beams of bright yellow sunlight.

Social media has turned its users into their own publicists, artists and commentators on current events, politics and Ozzie Guillen.

But long before the social platform, however, many of us were discovering ourselves in narcissist, new ways. Ways that, if anyone knew what we were up to, would embarrass us - though in our shame we just knew everyone had to be doing it, too. After the spouse had faded to sleep in the other room, and the kids were hours into their dreams, we quietly clicked our computer mice in search of the self-centered thrill that is Googling one's own name.

Nearly 4.9 million males in the United States are named James, tops amongst all male names. Over 2.5 million own Smith as a surname, also number one. Jimmy Smiths everywhere have searched for themselves online, to find that the most notable James Smiths are more Internet famous than they. Not only did James Smith sign the Declaration of Independence, but he is also a real estate guru, attorney, cartoonist, and holds the nickname of "Bone Crusher" as part of a boxing career.

I know the pain. Sharing some form of my first name with nearly 4 million other American males, and possessing the second most common last name, I also claim a number of misallocated distinctions. Apparently I am a musician, race car driver, filmmaker and sculptor. When I played third base for the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals back when my grandfather was my age, the called me "Bull" and I compiled a .271 batting average with 61 home runs and 487 RBI.

I know this to be true, because a couple of years ago an unknown fan sent me a copy of my St. Louis baseball card to sign. I didn't have the heart to tell the autograph seeker I had died in 2006.

And of course, I was a football player in the NFL, and over the years I have been called "White Shoes" until I grew out of it. It is now shortened to "Shoes" which is fine by me. White Shoes was far too formal. I was known to invent the end zone dance dubbed the "Funky Chicken," which is appropriate, I suppose, as I was once wore a bird costume to pay for college.

There is something to be said for having the least common male name and surname in America, each of which show up as a tie with many, according to the 1990 United States Census. Because if you are indeed Alonso Winkleman and you Google yourself, chances are you are the result you find.

For that wonderful distinction, Alonso, I can offer this: If your driver's license proves you are indeed Alonso Winkleman, you get in free to the first game of the Las Vegas Wranglers' best-of-seven series against Idaho on Monday night – now known as "Alonso Winkleman Night."

And be sure to tell 'em Shoes sent you.

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