Joseph Cramer, M.D.: While we are our names, there is a lot more to us

Published: Monday, April 21 2014 6:15 p.m. MDT

When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a twin. By the time I was old enough to figure it out, it was too late. My mother agreed. Now, I've realized there are 7 million Google results for "Joe Cramer." In a way, I am a Gemini.

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When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a twin. By the time I was old enough to figure it out, it was too late. My mother agreed. Still, there were just two of us growing up. My brother is only 22 months older. So for the sweet time between February 19 and April 23, I was only one year younger. It did not qualify for twin status, but it was close.

The other factor driving my desire to be a twin — besides the fact that my sibling was smart and popular — was that even though I was younger, I was mostly taller than my "little" bro. We lived in Okinawa as children because of our dad’s military assignment. Once, a native came up and asked mom in simple English if we were “same-o same-o.”

Many decades later, I am still not a twin. Then I realized there are 7 million results on Google for "Joe Cramer." Maybe, in a way, I am a Gemini after all.

These are some of my Joe Cramer "twins":

One is a child actor, Joey Cramer, who was in 1986's "Flight of the Navigator." Unfortunately, that same J. Cramer was later arrested for fraud.

A distinguished-looking Joe Cramer is the executive director of the Michigan Bean Commission.

If you are in Portland, Ore., stop by Joe Cramer Photography.

Need financial help? Joe Cramer will be happy to assist you in Minnesota. The same is true for Heating and AC in Ohio.

Someone will sing to you if you look for the Joe Cramer Band.

Joe Cramer is a young attorney preparing for the bar in Arizona; he is also my nephew. Having two Uncle Joes confuses the younger nieces and nephews. It seems you can have too many Joe Cramers.

Who is your “twin?" Once you find your double, see what he or she looks like. Those people you find are also Susan Jones or Paul Johnson or Luis Gonzales or Craig McPhie, just like you. They answer when your name is called. They get letters addressed to you but a dimension apart. No, you cannot send them your bills. They will say, “Hello, this is Steve Anderson” exactly like all the other Steve Andersons in the world. It is as if there were a universe of twins living parallel lives. They remain separated and unknown unless you receive their email by mistake.

We know there is a Scott Cramer in Illinois because my Scott Cramer in Salt Lake has called and chatted with him. Their email addresses are too close for some to get them right.

What would you do if you met your other half with the same name? Imagine a gathering of Michael Berlins. Michael Berlin would introduce Michael Berlin to Michael Berlin. What would happen if two Steve Schwartzes met and had an argument? Would Steve Schwartz punch Steve Schwartz? Which Elizabeth Smith runs a company, and which one runs a home? They both run after their kids.

You look in their high school yearbooks, in which everyone is wishing you a great summer and hoping to see you soon.

How did your name influence who they are? Are they proud to be called you?

We are our names. They are our title, our history, our ticket to something better or a curse. Or maybe not.

Shakespeare's Juliet says with the lips of a Capulet,

What's in a name? that which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet ...

While we are our names, there is more to us. To Romeo, a Montague and a sworn familial foe, Juliet says,

" 'Tis but thy name that is my enemy; Thou art thyself ..."

Suppose that with all the worldwide twins, we turn it around and say, “ 'Tis thy name that is my friend.”

We have a common bond with those who share our name. We are them, and they are us.

After all these years, I am finally a twin.

Joseph Cramer, M.D., is a board-certified pediatrician, fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, practicing physician for 30 years and a hospitalist at Primary Children's Hospital and the University of Utah. Email: jgcramermd@yahoo.com

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