About 20 years ago, I wrote the following entry for my commercial site and I always wanted to touch up the language a bit. The title Just Call Me Johnson, is a take-off on the comedy sketch Don't Call Me Johnson which is still funny. In reading this entry, remember in the 1970s, personal computers and mobile phones were still in our future. So here is, as it happened: Just Call Me Johnson!
* * * * *
In 1971, when I first moved to the Washington D. C. area, I lived in Greenbelt, Maryland. The Greenbelt area surrounds the major intersection of Kenilworth Avenue and Greenbelt Road. Looking north, if you imagine this intersection as creating four geographic areas, the town of Greenbelt would be located in the upper right hand area. Within the town was a small shopping center called Greenbelt Plaza. In the upper left area of the intersection, a larger shopping center called Beltway Plaza was located. Our story begins at Beltway Plaza.
One day, I took my car to the car dealer to have some maintenance done. In the afternoon, I realized that I didn't have any cash and I needed to cash a check to pay for the work. From past experience with the car dealer, I knew that they did not take the American Express card. So I walked from my apartment to Beltway Plaza where my bank was located. I arrived at the bank shortly after 2 PM. The lobby service had closed at 2 PM so I stood in line behind a car waiting to cash a check. When my turn came, the teller told me that I couldn't cash my check at her window because I was a pedestrian and I was in the car lane. I needed a car to cash my check.
Since I needed a car to cash the check, I walked over to a phone booth in Beltway Plaza and called a cab. I ordered a cab for Anthony at Greenbelt Plaza. After I hung up, I realized that I had ordered the cab for the wrong shopping center. So I called the same cab company and ordered a cab for Johnson at Beltway Plaza. That was simple enough. Give them a different name and no one would ever know the mistake that I had made. I was in no mood to admit my mistake to anyone.
Well, the cab arrived fairly quickly. It was too good to be true. I flagged the cab down. "Are you Anthony?" the driver asked. "No, I am Johnson." I told him. Immediately, he began questioning me about who I was. "Are you sure you are not Anthony?" He again asked. "No, I am Johnson." I told him again. "Well, I am here for both you guys." The cabbie said. "Did you receive a call from Anthony to meet you at Beltway Plaza?" I asked. "Yeah." The cabbie said.
This cabbie made the same stupid mistake that I did. I ordered a cab for Anthony at Greenbelt Plaza and this guy shows up looking for Anthony at Beltway Plaza. Well, he was here and I was not going to admit that I was Anthony. "Where to?" He said. "Over to that bank." I pointed. "Why do you need a cab to go to the bank?" He asked. So now I had to explain why I needed a cab. "The teller wouldn't cash my check without a car and I needed cash", I explained. As we were sitting waiting for the line to move, the driver turned around to me and asked again "Are you Anthony?" "No, I'm not Anthony." I shouted. "I'm Johnson." I told him. So we waited in line for my turn at the teller window.
It was my turn in line and I looked at the teller with satisfaction and said "I've got a car now. Here is my check." Then I tried to remember if bank tellers say thank you after they cash a check. Well they do. At least this one did. "Thank you, Mr. Anthony." She said. The cabbie immediately looked around at me and said "There, I told you that you were Anthony." "No, she said Johnson." I yelled. "I'm Johnson, not Anthony." I added to make my point. We finally pulled out of that parking lot and stopped at a red light on Greenbelt Road. The cabbie again turned around. This time he said "you sure do look like Anthony." "How the hell do you know what I look like?" I yelled. For the next 15 minutes of the cab ride we had these continuing spats about whether I was Anthony or Johnson.
Finally, we reached the car dealership. I paid the cabbie and as he drove away he shouted "Anthony." I shouted back. "Johnson." I walked in the car dealer's and told them I was Johnson. "Nothing here for Johnson." She said. "Could you check for Anthony?" I asked, now wondering if they would give me my car. As they were preparing the bill, I noticed that there was an American Express emblem on the garage window. "Do you take American Express now?" I asked. "Yes, we just started taking it last month." She said. My day passed before my eyes when she said that. "How would you like to pay for this?" She asked. "American Express." I responded. After I signed my name she said, "thank you Mr. Anthony." At least the cabbie was not there to hear it and argue with me.