For the longest time, my pen name, Michelle Devon, which is my real first name and my son’s middle name as my last name, which is now a legal name for me, was distinct enough, I never ran into anyone else with this name. I got the name Devon from an episode of Dragnet. My son’s name originally was going to be Aleck Brent. Back on July 29th, 1994, I started to have contractions that morning. It was a Friday and I had a doctor’s appointment. He asked me how I was doing and I said, “I’d be fine if these contractions would just stop.”
The doctor laughed and said, “No, what we want to do is string them closer together…”
I said, “That might be what YOU want me to do, but I never said it was what *I* wanted to do.”
He laughed; I didn’t. Ha ha. But sure enough, even though it was early, I went ahead and went into labor that night, full-blown, and my son was born on the morning of the 30th. Remembering laying in the bed, cringing and in pain and unable to DO anything at the hospital when I was pregnant with my daughter, I decided to stay home for just as long as I could stand it. So around three in the morning, I was watching Nickelodeon, in between bathroom breaks and cringing and moaning on the couch. They were playing an old episode of Dragnet that night and I was just coming out of the bathroom when a little old couple, Mr. & Mrs. Devon, were being arrested as petty thieves. I loved the sound of their name, and it must have stuck in my head.
Later, when my son was born, the nurse said, “It’s a boy!”
I said, “I know…. I had an amnio.” I had known for months that he was going to be a boy, and having had a girl, I was happy to have a boy this time–one of each, as they say. I would have been pleased with any healthy child, you know (obligatory statement from a mother), but I truly was glad he was a boy.
The nurse said, “Since you knew, you must already have a name for him?”
I said, “Yup, Aleck Devon…”
I have no idea why it came out; it just did. I like it too. One of his teachers–bless her ever-loving-stinkin’ little heart (said in my best Texas affectation), once told me I had named him appropriately – Aleck, like Smart Aleck and Devon, close to “devil”. I should have sued her or something. Don’t people do things like that nowadays? What a horrible thing for a teacher to say about a child – to his mother, even!
But I will say, Aleck has more than lived up to his name of Smart Aleck.
Back on track…
So the point to this long story is that Michelle Devon is not my real name. It’s not the name I grew up with. It’s not the last name of anyone I know other than a fictional couple on Dragnet.
Because of that, it was easy to brand on the internet as a writer, without much competition from more normal or mainstream names. When you Googled “Michelle Devon” almost all the results somehow pertained to me. Occasionally, I’d get a basketball game score where someone was named Michelle and someone was named Devon, but they were usually both first names. Rarely, I’d get something for an educational something or another, again with the first name Michelle and first name Devon. One time, and it was only one time, I got a police blotter indicating a Michelle Devon had a warrant out for her arrest. I spent a good fifteen minutes trying to research why I would have a warrant out for my arrest and ensuring it wasn’t me, before I remembered, at that time, Michelle Devon wasn’t my legal name. Couldn’t be me! Ha!
But recently, there is a shyster in England named Michelle Devon… she apparently is about 10-15 years older than me, has blonde hair (though I swear from what I’ve seen, that’s not the natural hair color) and she works as a psychic medium. She does a letter mailing campaign for ‘blessings’ in exchange for money too. She also is apparently well known for stealing money from people with fake lottery or fake check scams. Then, when these people realize the scam, they go and search the internet to find her. Only because of all my ‘branding’, they instead find me.
It makes for some interesting email conversations and some interesting comments that are left on my blog and Facebook account (I don’t approve them to protect anonymity). The problem I have with this isn’t that these people got scammed. I understand that they are upset and hurt and disillusioned, but several of these people have seen this person or met with her in person, and clearly they can see my pictures, see where I’m from, see my age – I’m in the US, she’s in England. I’m a good 10-15 years younger and it shows, and I have red hair and has fake blonde hair. She’s much shorter than I am (though I admit that’s hard to tell on the pictures) and did I mention I’m very clearly in the US? Texas, to be exact, and it’s not like I haven’t been quite proud of that. Even have the Texas Lone Star flag on my company page!
The part that irritates me is when these people don’t believe me when I tell them I’m not this other woman and that I don’t owe them any money! I’m not a crazy scamming British psychic medium swindler! I’m just a writer… from Texas. A writer. A broke writer! Sheesh. If I had scammed you out of $24,000 bucks and scammed a few other people out of similar amounts, don’t you think I’d be living large somewhere and not quite so public on the internet… you know, like the ‘other’ Michelle Devon who is nearly impossible to find?
Still, I’m just me. And if you’re one of the people scammed by this other Michelle Devon, my hope is you will Google the name, find this post that has the name all through it, and see that I am clearly stating that I am NOT THAT Michelle Devon, and you’ll move along to find the person who scammed you. Best of luck to you and so sorry this happened – but it wasn’t me!
To everyone else, have a fantastic day!
Love and stuff,