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Right Name, Wrong Number

Dennis Rodman is sleeping with a truck driver.

It's true. Call him up and ask him yourself. He's in the white
pages. Dennis Rodman, Wentzville, Mo. He's a short
Italian-American housepainter, married to a lady trucker and
stuck with a very troublesome name. The other day it took him a
half hour to go through the drive-up lane at the bank because
the tellers wouldn't give him back his driver's license. They
were making photocopies.

At night he's usually home alone, answering calls. "Is your hair
purple?" kids will ask. Depends on how messy I've been, he'll
say. "Do you have women's clothes in your closet?" Plenty.

You can give Michael Jordan a buzz, too. I did. He'd just given
a guy a shot in the mouth and was getting thanked for it. He's
the dentist Michael Jordan--one of 13 Michael Jordans listed in
Chicago--and you wouldn't believe what he puts up with. The
other night he made reservations at a hot new restaurant
downtown. When he and his wife got there, the hostess had
scratched out his name. "Sorry," she said, "we thought you were
kidding." They had a long wait for a table.

One time he went to pick up a bike that Toys R Us had set aside
with his name on it. When he showed up, there was a small crowd
gathered around the bike, waiting with pens and basketballs.
They were a little shocked to see a six-foot white dentist
arrive, but they had him sign anyway. Best wishes, Michael
Jordan. Who's going to ask?

"Yeah, well," Dr. Michael Jordan says. "I could have been Dr.
Charles Manson, I guess."

It gets weird like that. The other day the director of a Little
League called Rusty Staub of New Paltz, N.Y., and asked him if
he'd mind putting on his old uniform and talking to the kids.
"Sorry, I'm not that Rusty Staub," said Rusty Staub, who is
owner of a computer store. There was a long pause, and the guy
on the other end said, "Could you come anyway? We're desperate."

This Rusty Staub once went to a business lunch with a banker
named Calvin Klein and another guy. When they approached the
maitre d', Rusty Staub said, "We have a reservation. It's either
under Rusty Staub or Calvin Klein." The maitre d' scratched his
haircut, looked at the third guy and said, "Who are you, Joe

Don't be silly. Joe DiMaggio lives in Syosset, N.Y., works for
TWA and sometimes wishes he'd been born Ralph Smith. He won't
even give his full name much anymore "because they look so
disappointed when I show up," says Joe DiMaggio. A guy could get
a complex.

Joe, you've got to go with it. Ask Larry Mize, a manager in the
AT&T office in Atlanta. Twice a month for a year he had to fly
to Kansas City, Mo., on business. He'd check in late at night at
the same hotel. The first two times the desk clerk got excited
and asked, "You're Larry Mize the golfer, right?" Larry Mize the
AT&T manager said no. Finally, on the third visit, the same
clerk said, "You're Larry Mize, the golfer, right?" Larry Mize
was too tired to fight it anymore. "Sure," he said.

"Great!" said the clerk. "I've upgraded you to a suite! No
charge!" Larry Mize got that suite the rest of the year.

There are people all over the U.S. whose lives have been altered
because of what some stranger can do with a ball or a sand wedge
or a pair of figure skates. According to one Internet source,
there are more than 200 Jerry Rices, 109 John Stocktons, 61
Willie Mayses and 11 Orville Moodys. There's a Herschel Walker
in Savannah, a Richard Petty in Valdosta, Ga., and a Bobby
Thomson in Wachtung, N.J. Oops, that's the Bobby Thomson. He's
actually in the book, as are Bobby Bowden, Mark Fidrych and
Byron Nelson.

For the average Joe (Montana), sharing a name with a celeb gives
him a dollop of power that he otherwise wouldn't taste. Take
George Steinbrenner. He runs a lawn and garden equipment company
in Stafford, N.Y., but he gets a lot of mail for a certain
famous despot. The other day he received a letter from a very
sincere woman who said her father's dying wish was to have his
ashes sprinkled in centerfield at Yankee Stadium. Could Mr.
Steinbrenner find it in his heart to grant her this small favor?

George Steinbrenner thought about it for a half minute, called
her up and told her, "All you do is wander out into the stadium
any off day, wait for a wind blowing toward home plate, take
your father's ashes, throw them up in the air and go, 'Adios,
Dad!'" The woman, half grateful, half stupefied, said thanks and
hung up.

Hey, George, think you can get us a new stadium?


Joe DiMaggio lives in Syosset, N.Y., and works for TWA.