When I was a kid, my parents were fairly active in the Peace Corps, which I didn’t really think was all that cool since they didn’t get guns, but it did have the family moving around all the time. I remember my paper route in Los Lunas, and my Schwinn Stingray with its torn banana seat and its orange pennant flying high behind me. I brought the Albuquerque Tribune (may it rest in peace) door to door. I was never much of an athlete, so I wasn’t comfortable tossing it on the go, and sometimes I’d get tips for carrying the papers all the way up the front walks (which, in rattlesnake country, can be pretty scary).
One afternoon, when I got to the top of a hill too steep to ride, I was suddenly blinded. That’s all I remember - just bright light, nothing else, except for what must have been every dog for a mile in each direction barking like crazy. Then silence. And darkness. Next thing you know, I’m home in bed.
At the time I assumed this kind of thing happened to everyone. Maybe that’s what the onset of puberty felt like. I didn’t know. But as I got older I’ve come to believe I was abducted by aliens, and that I’m not, in fact, Jay Murray. I mean, that’s my name now, and that’s been my name as long as I can remember, but what about before then. And this got me to thinking philosophically… what if each of us here at the restaurant was replaced by a namesake - a literary, rather than literal doppelganger. How would anybody know? In Lacanian theory, our names define who we are to a certain extent. Would we look the same? Only Google can tell us that. And so I took it upon myself to search. Above I present to you members of the Grill 23 management team, at least in name. I can hardly tell the difference.