“When you besmirch your own name, you besmirch the names of all who share’t.”
— A guy who was also named Judas, circa 33 A.D.
If you’ve ever Googled yourself, you probably know some details about your name-esis. I keep pretty close tabs on mine. She’s the frontwoman of a cool band in Austin. I bear a passing resemblance to her — enough that when I set a picture of her as my Facebook photo, most of my acquaintances thought it was me. (My heart hardened forever toward one woman who commented, “That’s such a great pic of you! Love it!”) This other Lauren Larson has bested me in many areas: She has a baby and fantastic bangs, she’s better at music, and she’s thinner than I am. If we’d gone to high school together, I imagine she would have been the kind of popular girl who is so nice you can’t even resent her for her popularity. She’s a good name-esis: I have spent the past decade trying to earn enough recognition to knock her down a peg in our Google search results. She has brought honor on us all, and I hope to do the same.
Dr. Jeffrey S. Epstein, a hair transplant specialist and facial plastic surgeon in Florida, was not so blessed. His name-esis has brought over a decade of shame on the other Jeffrey Epsteins, since June of 2008, when he was sentenced to 18 months in jail for soliciting prostitution from underage girls.
After Epstein was arrested for sex-trafficking charges in early July, Dr. Jeffrey S. Epstein had wartime flashbacks to 2008. He told his front office to hunker down against the inevitable calls and emails. He, too, shares some features with his name-esis: He has the silvery hair, the dark brows, and the taut Florida je ne sais quoi. It’s a glancing resemblance, but similar enough to invite accusatory phone calls from strangers. It’s not like they’re the sort of people willing to do more than glancing research before they pick up the phone, anyway.
“Even some of my prior patients got confused,” he says. “‘Doc, are you really a billionaire who lives in Palm Beach?’” He says that easily 50 people have made comments in recent months. When his 20-year-old daughter borrowed his…