There was another Mintz family in the town where I grew up. It was, however, an unusual enough name that I was always asked if I was related to them. As I got older, I learned that the name was not all that uncommon. I discovered the Boston law firm, Mintz Levin, a furniture store in New Orleans, Hurwitz Mintz, and even a dairy-free, frozen treat, Mintz’s Blintzes. Even so, when I learned that there was a Judith Ann Mintz in trouble with the law, I immediately assumed that someone had stolen my identity.
The first inkling I had that something was amiss was a phone call from a collection agency that represented a hospital. I protested that I had never been to that hospital, much less not paid a bill there. They were unmoved and threats were issued. The second creditor that called raised my personal alert level to yellow, and when someone at work brought in an article from the Berkshire Eagle about a Judith Ann Mintz who had been passing bad checks, I saw red. I was sure the woman had co-opted my name. And if that was her name, how was I going to explain to creditors that I wasn’t her?
The article from the Berkshire Eagle quoted a state trooper from the barracks in Lee. I called him and explained who I was and why I was concerned. He put me on hold, searched the DMV records, and came back to report that the woman in question had not stolen my identity because she had her very own social security number. And that was when I had an Aha! moment: lots of people have the same name!
Today, when I google Judy Mintz, I get 950,000 hits, which, unfortunately, do not all point to my blog.
The larcenous activities of my namesake in western Mass took place many years ago. Since then, I have encountered several other Judy Mintzes. I no longer leap to the conclusion that they have stolen my identity, though others may find it a bit unnerving. A friend vacationing in upstate New Hampshire wrote that he had run into another Judy Mintz there. He questioned her at great length and reported to me that “…now I am satisfied that she is not you.”
Now, rather than expect foul play upon learning of another Judy Mintz, I congratulate myself for having had the foresight to buy the domain name, www.judymintz.com, before she did. Indeed, I embrace all my namesakes. The more there are, the higher the likelihood that one day, one of them will do something so outrageous, or courageous, that they’ll attract international attention and my blog readership will skyrocket. When they do, I hope the media will spell our name right.