Saturday, May 27, 2006

It's all about me, me, me

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As a Dan Medeiros, I share a strange bond. Within let’s say a 30-mile radius of my house, there are more Dan Medeiroses per square foot than anywhere in the world.

But from 30 miles to 50 miles, though, the Dan Medeiros count drops off significantly. This is the area of the world that can sometimes say “Medeiros” correctly on a good day. From 50 miles to 100 miles, there are much fewer Dan Medeiroses than that. “Medeiros” to people living in this area sounds something like “Madras” — like the plaid shorts. And within a 100- to 3,000-mile radius, finding a Dan Medeiros is a rare feat indeed. The word “Medeiros” is unknown to these poor, witless creatures, who pronounce it “Madernious” or “Macadamious” or (my favorite) “Merkuhhh” and a prolonged coughing noise.

People usually don’t believe me when I tell them how many damn Dans there are around here. I am not making this up! There are lots of Dan Medeiroses, I tell you! We Dan Medeiroses trip all over each other! All the time! Try heaving a clod of dirt in any direction and you’ll hit about six!

Example: The other day, a man called for me — or, I should say, called for Dan Medeiros.

“That’s me!” I said.

“I’m from [name withheld], a debt collection agency. You owe $2,238.57 to Southcoast Hospitals Group.”

I have a very strong burrowing instinct, so I squeezed myself under the couch. After my wife coaxed me back out, I spent the next 10 minutes explaining to the guy how he had the wrong Dan Medeiros. I didn’t owe anybody $2,238.57. I’ve never even been to that hospital, I said. In fact, I’ve never been to any hospital. I’m as healthy as a horse. Not that horse that just ran the Preakness and pulverized its leg. A different horse. A short, well-rested, flabby horse who likes nachos.

The whole experience wasn’t good for my paranoia. It left me wondering what sort of shenanigans other Dan Medeiroses are getting myself into. So I searched for my name online. That’s right — I gave myself a little Google! This way, if someone calls me up and tells me to get my goddam ostrich out of their yard, I’ll know they’re probably looking for the Dan Medeiros from www.DanMedeirosOstriches.com, not me.

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“Yo, wassup i’m Dan medeiros i'm in grade 7 and i love love love imports my future car (i hope) will be an mr2. And i hope u like the site. 'Peace'”

The Dan Medeiros from this Web site is obviously not me. I don’t even know what an mr2 is. He said “future car,” so I’m thinking an mr2 is a sort of spaceship. Also, I don’t think I’ve ever used “yo” except ironically.

At the top of the page, it reads, “Welcome To My Home Page this page is just the beggining of an amazing, so i hope u enjoy. And if you don’t like go to a different site!” It’s not that I didn’t like, but it’s just not my thing — so I went to a different site.

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Another Dan Medeiros author! He’s one of 13 people credited to the article “Comparative Genomics Tools Applied to Bioterrorism Defense.” Sounds like a high-tech Clancy-style thriller! Here’s an excerpt:

“Collaborations with comparative genomics algorithm developers have enabled our LLNL team to make major advances in pathogen detection, since many of the existing tools simply did not scale well enough to be of practical use for this application.”

Get all that? Wait, let Dan summarize it for you.

“For example, exploration in evolution and phylogenetics, annotating gene coding regions, predicting and understanding gene function and regulation, and untangling gene networks all rely on tools for aligning multiple sequences, detecting gene rearrangements and duplications, and visualizing genomic data.”

Ah! Much clearer now. Anyway, the thing to remember is that he’s part of the LLNL team, whatever that is, and I am not. I imagine it’s some kind of crimefighting unit. Like, whenever there’s a comparative genomic crisis, the LLNL Team assembles, arrives in the LLNL-Mobile and fixes the genomic ... uh ... thing. Dan’s super power? He “has a BS in computer science and built the second-generation DNA signature pipeline.”

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From a column in the Kentucky New Era of Hopkinsville, Ky. On Jan. 7, 2005, the paper published a story about people’s favorite and least favorite foods:

“Dan Medeiros, Fairview, despises Chinese food. ‘I don’t like it, the smell really bothers me,’ he said.”

OK, this one just pisses me off.

Listen, man: If boneless spareribs came in cologne form, I’d wear it. I’ve considered raising chickens just for their fingers. And if General Tso were in charge, I’d gladly invade Iraq — as long as he put me on KP.

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If you’re going by Google search results, then the best-known Dan Medeiros in the world is ... ready? Dan Medeiros!

This Dan Medeiros is from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada — which is eerie, because I have family around there, too. He plays the guitar. I play the guitar, too. He has dark hair and a goatee. I have dark hair and a beard. Here’s where the differences begin:

“I’m Dan, 20, 6’1.” And he’s in two rock bands.

I’m Dan, 29, 5-foot-6. I am in zero rock bands.

My cooler doppelganger has several pages on MySpace.com. Like most MySpace pages, they’re covered with multiple-exclamation-pointed greetings (“Crrrrazy!!!” “HEY GUYS!!!!”) and tiny pictures of girls trying to be bra models. A sampling of some of the comments:

“hey dan, remember that time you came to Ottawa and totally barfed all over my bathroom. good times, love, jen.” I have barfed in a bathroom — they’re generally the best place for it — but not at Jen’s, and not in Ottawa. I might go, though. Sounds fun.

“when the [bleep] are you guys going to throw another [bleeping] show. i want to throw my underwear up on the stage in your faces.” For the record, I’ve been writing this column for almost three years now and gotten some nice letters, but no fan has ever intentionally flung underwear at my face. Something seems wrong about that.

“DUDE! we have to get drunk and go grocery shopping! its like our destiny." I was wondering why Fate had nothing better to do than encourage plastered Canadians to restock their pantries when the story took an odd turn: "but now that i think about wat we were doing ... it was kinda dark ... so maybe we were drunk robbing a grocery store haha how lame. i just remember not being able to stand up properly and i was sitting in a shopping cart. and u were running down aisles HAHA. so much fun. too bad u werent REALLIE there.”

Um ... OK. So I think I’ve learned a valuable lesson about other Dan Medeiroses. From now on, I’ll just go their way and they’ll go mine. Wait — vice versa. Sorry. Confusing.

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