Thu 4 Nov 2010
I guess that I shouldn’t be surprised that I am not the only Jason Alberty in America. But the fact that there are at least three of us living in the Midwest … well, that’s a tad strange.
I mean come on, Alberty is not, at least I thought, an average name. And when I was born there were only two Jasons: Jason Robards and the Greek guy with the gold-colored sheep skin. I was born in 1969. However, according to namestatistics.com, 808,500 American boys are named Jason. So there are a few of us out there.
While researching this topic today, amazingly, I happened across an excerpt from a book entitled, One Drop of Blood: The American Misadventure of Race, by Scott L. Malcomson. Up until today, although I had asked several people and have researched a little myself, I had never come up with a satisfactory history of the name Alberty. I did know a couple of things. First, I knew it was Cherokee, not Italian, as most of my friends assumed. I’m guessing they assume that because I am not in the least swarthy and I have a preternatural love of spaghetti alla puttanesca (which I have recently and disturbingly discovered means “whore’s spaghetti” but that’s another posting).
Second, I know that my great-great father said “Screw the white man,” by not joining the Cherokee National Tribal Rolls, which, as I understand it, ended up screwing the red man, specifically him, as it made all his progeny unable to garner any government help and retribution funds. But whatever.
Third, for those of you who know me, no, I am not Cherokee. My grandfather Alberty adopted my dad when he married my grandmother. Although, oddly enough, I am part Choctaw on my mother’s side. Go figure.
Anyway, this book links the Cherokee Alberty family to, you may have guessed it, a horny and relatively procreative Italian named Frederico Alberti who worked for the Medicis, but killed someone and had to flee, ending up in America in the late 1700s. He had a taste for Cherokee women, eight in fact, and spawned himself quite a brood who were then chased out of Florida, ending up in the Oklahoma Territories and finding a spot in one Allen Lee Alberty, my grandfather.
Apparently the Alberty tribe was a multicultural, all-inclusive group as it spawned an abundance of white-white Alberties, red-red Alberties and brown-black Alberties. And, had I known this, I wouldn’t have been shocked to get friended on Facebook by an Omaha dude named Jason Alberty of Asian-American descent. I now get comments and updates from Jason Alberty whose profile photo is decidedly not, even remotely, my face.
He, my Asian Omaha Jason Alberty, just sent me some incredible video of a fireworks display that he videotaped while in Busan, South Korea. Surreal, it is.
I was first shocked into this sense of, I don’t know, non-uniqueness, when my wife and I first went to Las Vegas. I can’t remember what casino we were in, but I signed up for one of their special cards and they said, “Oh, Mr. Alberty, welcome back.”
I, of course, said, “Umm… I’ve never been here before.”
They responded with, “Aren’t you Jason Alberty from blah blah blah, Detroit, Michigan?”
I felt like I was suddenly thrust into some M. Night. Shyamalan movie.
So, there is a Jason Alberty in Omaha, Detroit and Cedar Rapids. But wait! I just found another in LaCrosse, Wisconsin who states that he is a Tea Party Member. Ah, what else? He also likes weight lifting and financial markets. A true Doppelganger.
What’s in a name, I must now ask myself. Would I be the same guy if I were named Jason Drees — my father’s biological father’s name (there are Jason Dreeses in San Francisco, Tucson and Ontario). Or Jason Lampley, my grandmother’s maiden name (San Diego, Sacramento, Mississippi, Texas, and of all places Guyana). What if I were named Mort Zuckerman?
I’m sure there would be some impact. After all, every little seemingly inconsequential moment impacts who we are.
But, here we are. I am me, and I guess no new name will make me too different.
Henceforth, I would like to be referred to as Mugwump Albert Tea. I don’t believe there another of that name.