Sometimes having a common name like Raymond Johnson has its advantages as well as disadvantages. Anyone with the last name Johnson, Jones, Smith or Miller can sympathize. Some of the common disadvantages include misdirected mail and a messed up credit report to name a few. One common advantage that comes to mind is that it is harder for that serial killer who you accidentally cut off in traffic to sort out one Ray Johnson in Chicago from another (of course that may backfire and could result in mass deaths of Ray Johnsons everywhere because lets face it a serial killer may not take the time to sort us all out!)
When I started researching and writing as a career I thought it would be fun to Google myself and see what came up and how many pages of Ray Johnsons I would have to sort through to find myself by only running "Raymond Johnson" It brought up some interesting stuff and some bad childhood memories. It also gave me an idea of how many Ray Johnsons in a Google search I would have to contend with if people tried looking up my books or looking me up specifically as an author. There were 7 Ray or Raymond Johnsons in the Illinois Department of Corrections alone!
One of the first names that came up was an early pop artist named Raymond "Ray" Edward Johnson (1927 - 1995) He was born in Detroit and was known as a collagist and correspondence artist according to his Wikipedia profile (Don't ask me I'm not an artist) One thing I did find interesting was that he committed suicide on January 13, 1995 and there were supposedly more than a few references to the number 13 having to to with his death that caused people to think that he killed himself as more or less a "last performance art" of some kind. He was seen backstroking off to sea from Sag Harbor, Long Island on January 13th, his age was 67 (6+7=13), his room number was 247 (2+4+7=13) and his pieces of art were carefully arranged in his room and he didn't leave a will.
The second thing that came up brought back terrible memories of Ray J. Johnson Jr. When this character played by Bill Saluga hit the Anheuser Busch Natural Lite beer commercials in the late 1970s I was in roughly 7th and 8th grade. If you are not familiar with "Mr. Johnson" I posted a video below (which I know I will regret)
When that commercial came out I couldn't go anywhere without hearing it everytime I had to say my name. "Oh your Ray Johnson!" "Well you can call me Ray and you can call me J...Oh please just kill me!)
This recently came back to haunt me at one of my Monday night poker games that I have with friends but luckily it didn't last long because let's face it ....IT'S ANNOYING.
Anyway this little Google yourself game probably wouldn't be much fun if your name was George Bush or John Kennedy, unless of course you put specific info in the search to narrow things down) but for the rest of us it could be fun or pretty darn scary. On second thought maybe you shouldn't.
Find Chicago History The Stranger Side on FACEBOOK
If you love Chicago History please consider subscribing to my posts. You will receive an email that alerts you when a new article is published. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.