I’ve been asked why I find it necessary to use a middle initial to separate my given name from my family name since the day I started revealing my opinions in this newspaper.
My response usually is “To distinguish me from another Stanley Gershbein you may run into, especially one who may be a writer.”
For many years I have been receiving mail addressed to me from Adelphi University. I was never a student at Adelphi but my beautiful, intelligent wife was. She received her master’s degree from that institution, and I assumed that they got my name from the checks she used to pay her tuition.
One day last year, I received an invitation to an Adelphi alumni cocktail party. The price was right, and upon entering we were handed gifts and name tags. While we were enjoying the atmosphere, artistic displays and, of course, the hors d’oeuvres, I was approached by a man who, after looking at my name tag, gave me a great big greeting, a hug, and an apology for not contacting me.
“Excuse me but I’m sorry — I don’t know you,” I told him.
“It’s me — Eddie,” he replied.
“I’m sorry, Eddie, but I still don’t know you,” I said.
“Hey! Come on Stan. We took chemistry together. We studied together. We were great friends,” he said.
That’s when I broke the news to him that I never attended the school, and he gave me a breakdown on my “other” life.
“We enlisted in the navy together!” he said.
Of course, I was never in the navy.
I walked away, but I turned around and saw him standing there with his palms up shaking his head from side to side. That’s when I started thinking, “is it possible that there is another Stanley Gershbein?” Naah!
Fast forward to a month ago when I was having some periodontal work done.
According to Lynne, who works with Dr. K, a man walked into the office not five minutes after I left. He looked down at the desk, saw my file sitting there, and wanted to know why there was a file with his name on it. He was there to get some information and didn’t even have an appointment for that day. Besides, the name on the folder was his old name, which he changed some time ago.
When I arrived home there was a message on my answering machine to call Lynne. I did, and after she described the coincidence, she gave me Stanley Gershbein’s telephone number. I called him and we chatted for a while about the possibility of being relatives. What are the odds that we both would be using the same dental office? How about the odds that we would be living barely a mile from each other?
Before we hung up I asked him if he attended Adelphi.
“Yes, of course.”
“Did you have a friend named Eddie?”
“Yes! We were great friends. We took chemistry together and after graduation we both enlisted in the navy.”
“Stan, I think you should call him. He thinks you’re crazy.”
• • •
If two people with the same genitalia find enough love in their hearts to pronounce vows of nuptials to each other, who am I to interfere? On the other hand, if the CEO of a successful restaurant chain that employs many thousands of people expresses his religious beliefs on the matter, does he not have the right to do so? If the people mentioned above and their supporters are not thrilled with what the CEO of Chick-fil-A said, then don’t buy his products.
Each side has the right to speak, and our elected officials should stay far away from the matter. If the mayors of Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco could legally find a way to shut down those restaurants, how many thousands of Chick-fil-A employees would they force to head for the nearest unemployment lines? With such a weak job market, I would not want to encourage any legal business to stay away. I am StanGershbein@Bellsouth.net telling everyone I know to eat more chicken. It’s healthy.
Read Stan Gershbein's column every Monday on BrooklynDaily.com.