March 4th, 2014 by Jan

Ken was watching some nature show on TV a while back and all of a sudden he recognized the guy talking on the show as his old college professor. The guy had been his archaeology teacher and now was on some nature show dealing with the subject.

Yesterday, I was listening to a podcast, and all at once, I thought I recognized the speaker. He was inspiring, encouraging and so wise. As he shared his experience, strength and hope, his story was familiar to me and I thought I knew him from the past. The problem is I can’t be sure, and there is no way for me to ever know.

The podcasts in my ear lately have been speakers from a national AA convention. I’ve only been to one of these “roundups” and was blown away by the fact that over 3,000 sober folks were attending. People were whooping it up much like a Shriners convention, only without the booze. It was fun.

Anyway, the guest speaker at this particular convention,  was named Don C. Don sobered up in Colorado Springs in 1984 – same as me! But, with anonymity as a “spiritual foundation” of these talks, I would not know if this was the same guy. Even if they had given his full name from the podium, and it was the same Don, his last name would have meant nothing to me. We don’t introduce ourselves that way. Hearing Don C. speak was moving, and I realized I would never be able to tell him.

This made me think of another guy I knew named Bob from those early meetings. Bob got pretty sick once and was in the hospital. Several of us went to visit him and when we got there, we stood dumbfounded as we asked to visit Bob. Yup – all we had was Bob, not even a last initial. We knew some of Bob’s deepest fears and darkest secrets, but we did not know his last name. We were turned away and could not visit him because of this fact.

I’ve lost touch with many people from my past. Some because it was the right thing to do, some just move on, and others because we didn’t think to get their full name before we parted ways. Also, some women, me for instances, change their last name when they married. Do a search for Jan Hudson – you won’t find me, but search for Jan Parker, I’m all over the web. Do a search for Don C., and you get the guy who dresses Kanye West. Not the Don I was hoping to find.

If you watched the film The Anonymous People in the link I posted the other day, you will see the danger of anonymity under some circumstances. I have long introduced myself as Jan Parker, some people think of it as one word —Janparker. I am more determined now that I will continue to do so where ever I go.

I’ve never been very anonymous anyway.

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