An open letter to Debby Cox

>> Wednesday, February 20, 2013


From:   Debby Cox (
Sent:    Wed 2/20/13 8:52 AM

I am Debby Cox; I work with First Tracking Services, a consulting Firm in London, UK. We are conducting a standard investigation involving a client who shares the same name with you. The essence of this communication is to request that you provide us information on these issues: 1-Are you aware of any relative/relation having the same surname

Dear Debby,

Hi, I'm pleased to be able to help you with your standard investigation.  In answer to your question, most of my relatives and relations on my father's side of the family, along with many of their spouses, have the same surname I do.

I think at least one of these relations sharing my surname has done some genealogical work that I, to be honest, haven't paid a great deal of attention to.  What little attentiveness I did pay was piqued when I heard I have a colonial ancestor--if I have the story straight, a Mayflower ancestor--who was the first person hanged in the American colonies.  I like to imagine he didn't do anything in particular and was merely an obnoxious dick, and was hanged for insolence or not doffing his oatmeal-box hat or he flipped someone the bird during Thanksgiving dinner or something.  Slept in on a Sunday--that would be great.  In my imagination, he was asked for his last words, and while my forefather was midway through a polysyllabic obscenity the Governor shrugged and kicked the chair out from under my ancestor, or swatted the mule or whatever.

Whether this putative early American ancestor was also a VanNewkirk, I really couldn't tell you.  The women on my father's side of the family tend to be tough and dangerous, and it may well be that assholery resides on an X chromosome or in the mitochondrial DNA, where it doesn't determine a genetic trait (obviously) but  nevertheless helps the mitochondria power our cells by generating a kind of twisted dark energy, a connection to the Rat Bastard Side of The Force.  I never inquired, actually, whether this alleged colonial malefactor was in my late grandfather's lineage or in my grandmother's.

And of course, I'm also romanticizing, here.  For all I know, this ancestor of mine was actually hanged for buggering a horse.  In fact, that seems more likely, now that I think about it.

Anyway, I digress.  The point was I'm aware of many existing relations having the same surname and ancestors who probably did.  Unless we changed our family name at some point because of all the dickishness and horsebuggery.

I hope that helps you in your inquiries, Debby!  Good luck!

R. Eric VanNewkirk


John Healy Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 4:29:00 PM EST  

If you get a chance read 'Mayflower'. Thanksgiving may never be the same.

TimBo Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 11:39:00 PM EST  

I think it's time to change your family name, leave all that horse buggery behind (he he). Too many people will assume the worst - that you're Dutch. I've given it some thought over the last few minutes and come up with the answer for you.

At first I thought you should Americanize your existing name and be "FromNewChurch", but that has some religious overtones you may not appreciate. Then I realized that you might want to avoid being purged in the upcoming loyalty test and "TrueAmerican" might suit you better. But, heck, your patriotism will never be suspected.

Thinking of your profession and love of gaming I considered "DefenderOfTheDefenseless". This put me on a whole new trail, how about "IFindTheDefendantNotGuilty"? That way whenever the judge addresses you in court you'll have won the trial. Of course if you ever become a prosecutor you'll have to change your name again.

Eric Friday, February 22, 2013 at 10:15:00 AM EST  

Tim, dude. If I change my name, I'm going with Max Power. No discussion.

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