While Williams may not have many famous people in its student body, I recently realized that it has something far better: people who sound like they’re famous. Imagine saying, “I just got out of a class with Katie Holmes,” or, “I’m going to hang out with Casey Jones,” or even, “Man that Samuel Jackson sure is awesome at computer programming.” Here’s what it’s like to share a name with a celebrity.
Katie Holmes ’13 said people started commenting on her famous name in sixth grade when her celebrity counterpart was starring in Dawson’s Creek. Since then she has endured malevolent teasing from people who, presumably, never matured past the sixth grade. As she has grown older, Katie Holmes has realized that Katie Holmes is not as great an actress as Katie Holmes once thought Katie Holmes was. “Sometimes I go see her movies just to make sure I’m making good decisions,” our Holmes said. “It was a good thing they got rid of her for the second Batman movie.” When asked who would win in a fight, Eph Holmes modestly pointed out that Hollywood Holmes is taller and would therefore be victorious. But one must acknowledge that our Holmes has figured out the height discrepancy means she is more prepared for the hypothetical face-off than the unwitting starlet.
Casey Jones ’13 insisted that his parents are not Dead Heads, even though the iconic Grateful Dead song playing in my head throughout our interview begs to differ. In fact, he claimed that his parents hadn’t even heard the song when they named him, and neither had he until he turned 15. But his parents have heard of the Casey Jones that Jerry Garcia decided to immortalize – the railroad engineer who sacrificed his life to save his passengers from a deadly crash. “It’s pretty hard to live up to,” Jones said; personally, I imagine his name would serve as a useful rejoinder if someone asked, “Isn’t Casey a girl’s name?” Jones said that people sometimes put the song on when he’s around. If he had to have a theme song, he would go with the obvious choice, but that seems to be where the connection ends. Despite having lived all over the world, he claims to have never taken a train in his life, much less driven one under the influence of narcotics.
When I ask Samuel Jackson ’10 if people ever comment on his name, his answer was: “Oh God yes!” He has seen the same thought process work its slow way across peoples’ faces many times. Sometimes it is accompanied by verbal reasoning. “People often ask, ‘Sam Jackson … wait … does your middle name start with ‘L,’ by chance?’ Then they realize that I get that all the time,” Jackson said. He wryly commented that he has faced all manner of reactions to his famous name, from bank tellers saying, “But you look nothing like him,” to his freshman dorm mates Photoshopping him into a Snakes on a Plane poster for his door. To compound the annoyance factor, Jackson isn’t that big a fan of the actor’s work – outside of Pulp Fiction, that is – and thinks he subconsciously tries to distance himself from Samuel L. Despite the upside that people don’t forget his name, Jackson compares his experience to the Office Space quote, “Your name’s Michael Bolton? You must love his music!” As I leave, I avoid asking him who he thinks would win in a fight, as anyone would be hard pressed to defeat Mace Windu and Jules Winnfield all rolled into one snake-hating, catch-phrase-spouting Jedi hit-man.