Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Web-Dancing with Yourself

Like most narcissistic Americans, I recently Googled my name on… Google. To my surprise, another woman with my name popped up. Pages and pages of her; almost nada of me. However, unlike me, she was an accomplished author and psychotherapist who has contributed to the betterment of society. Undaunted by the stark comparison, I decided to email her and find out what my doppelganger was all about.

My email explained my pointless quest to find out more about her since we shared the same first and last name. That, after all, almost made us related, didn’t it? She graciously replied and after several emails we stoked up enough curiosity to exchange phone numbers and have an historic conversation.

What I learned was that she was about the same age as me, our last names both came from our husbands, we were both Aquarians, studied journalism in college, lamented the atrophy of the Fourth Estate, were divorced with new partners and had daughters. She was a lot of fun to talk to and we promised we would get together for dinner sometime in the same way good friends who never get together promise that to each other. And along those lines, we occasionally exchange casual emails to make sure the other hasn’t expired.

Even more recently, I exercised another form of narcissism when I joined I was able to trace the Jewish side of the family to its emigration to America from Transylvanian Hungary back in 1906. But imagine my surprise when I was able to follow the family tree of my stalwart Christian ancestors back to William the Conqueror, his son, Henry I “Beauclerc” King of England, King Henry I Capet of France and several earlier kings of Sweden, Denmark and Uppsala. My favorite ancestor, because of her name, is Hilda of the Vandals. Very Heavy Metal. How credible is this genealogy? I have no idea. I found it on Who knows?

 One of my distant relatives, Henry I "Beauclerc" 
King of England, pictured in a bit of a mood.

It is strange how the Internet enables us to make immediate connections with people who, a decade ago, we never would have known about. These current and past ties will not result in any financial or social advantages nor will they lead to any epiphanies or reveal any long-lost secrets. But finding them was good, egocentric fun. And I guess, sometimes, that is enough.

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