Jeff’s Past: Dopplegänger #5, NPR
July 27, 1998. I was walking up the subway escalator at Judiciary Square. After four months on my first 9-5 job ever I was getting commuting routine down pat. Begin to get my stuff together at the Union Station stop, right after the doors close, zip up my backpack and put it on. As the train starts to slow, stand up. Doors open, get out and have Metro card ready to exit (if I have a shirt pocket, place card in pocket; if not, remember to place back in wallet). About 25 feet from the escalator turn Walkman on, make sure it’s on the right National Public Radio station (88.5 in the morning, 90.9 in the afternoon). If I time it right, reception kicks in just as I start up the escalator.
I was right on schedule. But the first words I heard that day stopped me cold: “Jeff Gates is not communist or even a radical economist.” This was good to hear. Any hint of impropriety could get a new federal employee like me in deep trouble!
This Jeff Gates, it seems, was a lawyer. He’s also an investment banker who worked in the Reagan Administration and had written a book on employee ownership. This was the subject of this NPR interview.
Of course I had to investigate. When I called National Public Radio to find out more, I told my story to the woman in programming. “I’ve talked with him,” she said. “He lives in Atlanta.” Hmmm, I thought, could this be the same Jeff Gates from Atlanta I had seen on Crate and Barrel’s computerized Wedding Registry, when I did a Search to see what gifts had been bought for my wife-to-be and I back in 1993?
I know, I know. You must think I’m consumed with these other Jeff’s, these golems who walk the earth,shaping and reshaping my global identity. I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed. Maybe “atuned” would be a better word. After all, it’s been almost two years since I last added a chapter to this online guide! But I digress.
Two nights later, I was watching TV when the phone rang. It was latebut I answered it anyway. Are you Jeff Gates the writer, the one who worked for Reagan?” the voice said without further introduction.Another case of mistaken identity. “No, that Jeff Gates lives in Atlanta. I don’t know what he looks like, but he sounds much more conservative than me!”