What’s In a Name?


My name is Greg Smith.

A fairly nice name, as names go.

One problem with it, though.

There are a lot of other Greg Smiths out there. 

Take, for instance, the Greg Smith who got my acceptance letter to medical school. I was a pretty smart guy, and I was confident of getting my letter for early admission. It didn’t come and didn’t come and didn’t come. I was a little miffed, then upset, then heartbroken.  When it finally did arrive at my house, I found out that it had been sitting on this other Greg Smith’s desk for a few weeks, then a month, as he didn’t open it. All ended well. After all, I do have an MD after my name now. A frantic call to a very understanding admissions office at the school set all to rights. 

And of course there’s the other Greg Smith who lives right here in River City with me. He just happens to be a Pulitzer Prize winner (no, I’m not-yet-if you had to ask or rub it in, thank you very much) Every time he goes on a talk show and speaks about brain tumors or the latest way to fight cancer or whatever, my voicemail gets full of calls from Indonesia and Spain asking that I review the case of someone’s great aunt twice removed to see if I can offer some expertise in the case. Sigh. The life of the rich and famous. Alas, I’m a working stiff doctor. 

Then there’s the other Greg Smith MD who works in a mental health center in another part of our fair state. He sees clinic patients who, surprise, surprise, end up in the emergency rooms a few hundred miles from me. Consults get written for Greg Smith MD (that would be me) to see patients that were just seen at the clinic by Greg Smith MD (that would be him) and were sent for commitment to the hospital. Reviewing those records is like peer reviewing your own charts. Possible, but very, very weird. Besides that, can you imagine how it feels to the patient, who thinks that I just saw him in the mental health center, sent him handcuffed with the police to the hospital, then raced ahead of them to the ED to see him again, just to be sure? 

This stuff messes with your head.

Sort of like having somebody else get your letter of acceptance to medical school.

Maybe there is something to that parallel universe thing after all.

Have a good day, all.



Greg Smith MD

(You figure out which one)

8 thoughts on “What’s In a Name?

  1. If it makes you feel any better, the comedic writer/actor, Albert Brooks’ real last name is Einstein. Yes, he grew up as Albert Einstein. Way worst than trying to live up to the Pulitzer Prize, Greg Smith.
    And by the way, is that really your writing from 1962? Were you some kind of handwriting prodigy or something? When you posted that before I figured that it was your dad’s writing.


  2. G,

    There is no way that can be your handwriting from 1962! We were like, what….five?

    There are a gazillion Greg Smiths…yes. Only one you!! Gregory Eschol Smith!



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