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Letter to McSweeney's

Susan Notes:

It's Good News when someone is clever. It is Good News when someone makes you laugh. This letter to McSweeney's is both--clever and funny.

Dear McSweeney’s,

I have a common name. According to some estimates, nearly 40 percent of men are named “Tom O’Donnell.” I once shared an airport limo with two other Tom O’Donnells. In the time it took me to write this sentence, chances are you named at least one of your children “Tom O’Donnell.”

This would all be fine if it were still Bible times, but today it’s a problem. Why? Because it’s basically impossible to Google myself. I’m tired of searching for “Tom O’Donnell” and coming up with Irish politicians. It’s like, “Okay, sure, you were a member of Parliament, representing West Kerry from 1900 to 1918, who fought for agrarian reform. We get it.”

At least the Irish politicians are famous. What really bugs me are the legions of anonymous Tom O’Donnells, with their “law firms” and their “medieval studies,” standing between me and the first page of search results. You could argue that I am not famous and haven’t done anything particularly notable with my life, either, but I would counter that that’s a really mean way of putting it.

Ultimately, my name’s popularity is hurting my overall brand. It’s served me well for more than thirty years, but I’ve decided to change it to something else. I’ve narrowed down my list of potential replacements to the following six:

Vladislav Fukuyama-Gomez: I love names that combine several different ethnicities, because they’re used in movies to tell you it’s the future.

Tom 0’Donne11: I’ve replaced some of the letters with numbers, but look closely—it still kind of spells “Tom O’Donnell.” Do you see it now?

Dennis Pulley: I can think of no better way to honor my great-grandfather’s memory than by taking the name of the man he killed.

Jimmy “The Hammer” Graziani: I like this name because it makes it sound like I own a hammer.

G’torthax of Saldur: This is my Dungeons & Dragons character’s name. In some ways, it would be an easy transition, because I already make everyone
I know call me this at all times.

QUIZNOS® Presents Todd DeMoss: Sure, it’s a mouthful—but so is the delicious Chipotle Prime Rib sandwich, only available at QUIZNOS®.

Please conduct some sort of poll or contest or tournament to determine which of these will be my new name, and then devote the next issue of your journal to presenting the results in the most dramatic way possible. In the event of a tie, I will rename myself “Dougie Delicious.”

Tom O’Donnell

— Tom O’Donnell
McSweeney's Issue 40



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