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Jeff’s Past: Dopplegänger #7, Redux

Washington Post article on my eBay project

Think back to my 1998 subterranean dopplegänger, the author Jeff Gates. Now flash forward two years later. The year before I had completed by first online art piece, an eBay auction of my personal demographics. Marc Fisher, a writer at the Washington Post had heard about the auction and wanted to write a piece about it in the Post’s Sunday magazine. We met for coffee and I talked to him about the work. A few weeks later, the article was published. I was pretty excited and anxiously waited for the accolades to come rolling in.

Instead, I got an email from that other Jeff Gates’ business partner. He lambasted me for riding on the coattails of his partner’s success! Like I had a choice? My parents gave me that name too and as you now know, Jeff Gates is a common moniker (just try searching for me on Facebook). By this time, the other Jeff Gates and I had corresponded many times. First he ran for Senator in Georgia for the Green Party and now lived Southern California (masquerading as me, I wanted to tell his partner). Rather, than respond directly to said partner (you already know I can write with panache about my name), I decided the more prudent and mature thing to do was to forward the email rebuke to Jeff and have him set his friend straight. Laughing, he was happy to oblige.

Recently, things have calmed down a fair amount. Two or three times a year I get calls from various collection agencies trying to collect. I try to ignore those calls but you know how persistent collectors can be. So, eventually, I call them back and tell them “I’m not that Jeff Gates. I’ve called Nexus-Lexus, trying to fix this but, well, you know…

Finally, there is an ongoing opera happening with my email address. Apparently, there is one more famous Jeff Gates. Also, an author, he writes about how deception has led America astray in the Middle East. Even Noam Chomsky has commented on his book. I tend towards “live and let live,” but Jeff’s email address is very similar to mine so I often get his emails (even from his mother!). And some of them are quite interesting. Yes, I’ve contacted him about this mix-up and he sent me his book.

Depending on the state of Jeff Gates affairs throughout the world, I’m often the lead on a Google search of my name. But, I just checked and even The Jeff Gates Band is listed above me! I’d better get working on this!

Lost in Jeff’s Past? Here’s a road map.

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