Andy Kerr on Andy Kerrs
By Andy Kerr
Perhaps it's human nature, but one likes to think of himself or herself as unique. We think no less of our name. I've always thought that my name is somewhat between John Smith to Abu Kararoke. Not unique I was sure, but I didn't think I'd run into many others.
Such has not been the case.
Being notorious on conservation issues in the Pacific Northwest, I obtained some name recognition that caused some consternation to those co-named and co-located in Oregon. By the time I left Portland, I have have counted four other Andy Kerrs in Oregon. This wasn't altogether terrible as, at that point in my life, I was getting death threats for my stands in favor of keeping the last of the forest standing and I reasoned my odds of survival were directly proportional to the number of Andy Kerrs in directory information.
The first other Andy Kerr I crossed paths with was Andy Kerr the lawyer. I've been accused of being a lawyer, so the confusion was compounded. He practices law in downtown Portland and when I would be quoted in the newspaper, he'd get calls from screaming clients who had ties to timber and cattle interests. He'd also occasionally be served with legal papers aimed at me.
Andy Kerr the lawyer's problems were exacerbated in that he had a brother named Don Kerr who used to work for The Nature Conservancy and became best known for founding the Oregon High Desert Museum. Since my detractors who sought my demise had stereotypes about rich Portland environmentalists, that Andy Kerr the lawyer lived the old-rich Dunthorpe area, while I lived in the lefty ghetto of the Sunnyside Neighborhood might have helped my survival chances as well.
Andy Kerr the lawyer and I finally met for a drink at Jake's in Portland. We found we had little in common save our name. I was once was told by a southern Oregon innkeeper that an elderly couple, whom I surmise to be Andy Kerr the lawyer's aunt and uncle, stayed at his establishment and the conversation got around to Andy Kerr. The couple couldn't understand why their nephew was doing that environmental stuff. Some of his relatives knew him little better than some of his clients.
Andy Kerr the lawyer once got a call from the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York demanding that he pay his bill. He declined, since he hadn't been to the Waldorf. It turns out that another Andy Kerr from Portland apparently had run up quite a tab and hadn't gotten around to paying it. The Waldorf wanted Andy Kerr the lawyer to sue Andy Kerr the deadbeat for him, but Andy Kerr the lawyer declined. Neither Andy Kerr the environmentalist or Andy Kerr the lawyer are sure who Andy Kerr the deadbeat is or was.
It's possible, but we have no way of knowing, that it is Andy Kerr the wildlife rehabilitator who lives in Cannon Beach. During an offshore tanker spill Andy Kerr the wildlife rehabilitator was quoted in the Oregonian, leading to my receiving several comments as to how did I find time to save the forest and also to save the oil-soaked birds. Andy Kerr the wildlife rehabilitator and I once met and pose for a picture for the local paper.
I also briefly met Andy Kerr the Salem area hop farmer. He seemed like a nice chap and certainly had a nice name and made a fairly good beer.
I would occasionally have a package delivered that was for some other Andy Kerr. Thanks, whoever you are, but it wasn't my size.
My answering machine would get calls responding to social invitations I didn't make. We returned from a few days away to a fascinating string of messages from an old geezer who was making his way from Spokane to Portland to see Andy Kerr the something, but not me. He kept hinting at telling the entire story about the failure of a savings and loan and other shady dealings when he arrived in Portland, but alas the messages stopped without completion. I've always felt I should have turned the tape over to the FBI, but I was keeping some death threats on the other side of the tape (the voices would change, but one could always hear a bar background).
After I left Portland, I discoverd an Andy Kerr in Portland who has solar photovoltaic panels on his roof as do I in Ashland.
I've just discovered I am not the only Andy Kerr the environmentalist. The other one works on global climate change issues, but he has no Oregon connection that I know of.
In 1993, I participated in the President's Forest Conference in Portland. Conservationists had made such an issue out of the logging of the least of the ancient forest that the new president and half his cabinet had to come to town to try to solve it. It was live on C-SPAN and NPR and otherwise received wide coverage.
My then wife received a phone call from a gentleman from the East Coast who wanted to talk with me as he claimed that we'd had a brief affair at the Fire Island (NY) National Seashore. She told him he must be mistaken, as she was fairly positive I've never been to Fire Island and she was absolutely positive I wasn't gay. He was undeterred saying he'd seen me on television and I was definitely his Andy Kerr from Portland. He wasn't surprised that I'd not told her about my past. He called back several times and rather than changing the number, I finally did talk with him and finally did convince him it was a case of mistaken identity. I did have to invoke the existence of the other Andy Kerrs to get him off my back and on to new trails.
In an increasing global world, I find that there is an Andy Kerr who is a state senator in Colorado and an Andy Kerr who is a member of the Scottish Parliament.
From Andy Kerr the forest conservationist to Andy Kerr the lawyer and/or Andy Kerr the hop-grower and/or Andy Kerr the deadbeat and/or Andy Kerr the wildlife rehabilitation and/or Andy Kerr the gay and/or Andy Kerr the climate change environmentalist: if you have any sons, I hope you named them something either more unique or more common. There'll be less confusion.