In the middle of stripping beds and collecting a week’s worth of worn socks from the floor, I answered the phone, balancing a pile of crumpled dirty sheets on my hip. It was after I said hello that my brain synapses connected the first three digits on the screen.
I realized that I ran from the bedroom to the kitchen to answer a sales call. When the male voice on the line said he was with Go Daddy, I was apprehensive, then relieved.
Two days earlier, while scrolling through middle of the night emails, trying to wake myself up from my cozy spot in bed, I noticed I’d been charged for renewals of services for my website, services I’d never used in the first place. And then I forgot about it.
I assumed the call was a follow up sales tactic, but I was wrong.
Bernard was actually calling to fix it. I quickly warmed up to his serious business voice infused with humor and startling honesty. At the end of our conversation I told him that I really don’t want all the domains I own, I just want a web address that’s my name.
“Let me check on it, maybe it’s available now,” he said traveling down a new tributary in our rambling exchange.
A few minutes later he told me what I already knew with added details. Two people are squatting on versions of my name and one of them is named Cheryl with a C. Go figure.
It was the first time it ever occurred to me that someone would be shrewd enough to buy up common names in order to make a profit.
I laid the heap of sheets down on my kitchen table when Bernard started down a haunt of storytelling that made me laugh and forget this was supposed to be a sales call.
It turns out that a few years ago, a forward thinking businessman bought the domain, 21st Century Fox, and 20th Century Fox has been trying to obtain it ever since. The last response to an offer of $700,000 by the movie making operation for the domain was this: “It isn’t enough of a lifestyle change.”
While in a debate over money, the people at 20th Century Fox pointed out that acceptance of that kind of money would mean retirement on the beach.
The savvy businessman responded by holding up his phone to the sound of crashing waves and said, “I already live at the beach.”
Bernard joked, “I guess he’s holding on to that golden ticket for another 87 years.”
Yesterday while H sat at the bar in the kitchen, I stirred a pot of curry simmering on the stove and we debated the pros and cons of new Twitter handles. We discovered that most of the ones we brilliantly came up with were also the ideas of someone else last week, or five years ago. Many of those feeds boasted five followers and a couple of tweets.
They were squatting on the names and not using them.
I thought about the interview I watched on television recently with Author, Marisha Pessl. My brain did a flip when I learned that she was offered $615,000 for her first novel, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, at age twenty-seven. I’m still reeling from the reality of that juxtaposition with authors I know who barely make a living on their marvelous, inspired books.
That amount of money was obviously life changing enough for her.
Somehow, that random sales call morphed into a modern day version of the parable of the talents. He gives platforms, domains, handles, status updates, pins, and images as an investment. When He asks what you did with them, how will you answer?
Because no one owns your name but God.
Linking with Kristen for Out of the Blue.