So, is that your real name?
On Donald Trump’s last day as president, the U. S. administration announced sanctions against a guy named Alessandro Bazzoni because he was trying to evade United States sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector.
And suddenly, Alessandro Bazzoni who owns the Dulce Gusto pizza shop in Verona, Italy, found his bank accounts blocked by the U. S. government. The U. S. Treasury Department has now straightened things out. But the problem obviously was mistaken identity. Folks in Washington didn’t think there could possibly be two guys named Alessandro Bazzoni.
I sympathize with Signor Bazzoni. I don’t know how many times somebody has asked me what is my real name. Most folks seem to think that Smart is an unusual last name.
But type “white pages” into your computer, and it tells you “we found 100+ records for James Smart in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and 43 other states.”
I was working for the old Girard Trust when it merged with Pittsburgh’s Mellon Bank years ago, and attended an early meeting of guys from the two banks. I was first in the room. A Pittsburgh guy arrived next. We shook hands.
“I’m Jim Smart,” I said. He looked puzzled.
“So am I,” he said. And he really was.
There was another Jim Smart, some years ago, who staged an annual picnic for Jim Smarts and their families. A highlight was a brief baseball game, to which he delighted in handing out a printed program.
For both teams, it listed “First base: Jim Smart,” “Second Base, Jim Smart,” “Shortstop…” -- well, you get the idea.
There are James Smarts everywhere. Crank up your computer and look up my name on Google, and it will offer you 400-plus James Smarts.
Spokeo, one of the major name search sites on the computer, claims to have found 1,173 people named James Smart in the United States. I was too cheap to sign on and pay to track down possible relatives.
Locally, I know of many folks named Smart who are not related to me. There’s a Philadelphia James Smart who is one of the top accountants in the country, and whose firm had.650 employees back in the 1980s. He has had assorted leadership positions through the years, and is a trustee of some local colleges and prep schools.
There was the late James J. Smart who was a Philadelphia firefighter and rescue squad paramedic for 35 years, who passed away last year at age 93.
Other James Smarts who are not me include a James J. in Philly, a James A. in Glenolden, James P. in Ridley Park, and a James H. in Langhorne (who is not me, though I once lived there),
Elsewhere in the world, there are some interesting Jim Smarts. In Africa, there is James Obuya Smart, a prominent journalist and television news anchor in Nairobi, Kenya.
If you’re ever in Argentina, check out James Smart’s big and fancy men’s clothing store in Buenos Aires. James sailed over from Scotland in 1889 with a ship-load of goods and founded the business.
And there’s more. Try checking your own name on Google sometime, whether it’s as common as Smart or as rare as Bazzoni.
Visit columnist Jim Smart’s web site at James Smart’s Philadelphia.com.
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