If you do an Internet search for “Jay Bell,” you’ll likely come up with Jay Stuart Bell, a retired Major League shortstop.
But if you search for “Jay Bell Bradenton,” you’ll hit Jay Wayne Bell, my good friend from “Bradenton-Fun-in-the-Sun-Baby-Florida.”
A few months ago, one of Jay’s old friends found a column on the Internet. “Friend” might not be the right word. The guy once used Jay Bell’s Social Security number to set up an account with his local electricity provider.
Anyway, he sent me an e-mail and asked to be forwarded to Jay Bell. I checked with the man, himself, who was surprisingly forgiving.
“I might need a job someday. Besides, he was the first to call me, ‘Jaybird,’” Jay Bell said. “No point burning bridges.”
That “burning bridges” idea is something of a credo. A little more than a year ago, Jay was hired as a temporary worker. He busted his tail for three months, but still got the boot.
At the time, I wondered why he wasn’t angrier at the people who fired him.
“It’s not their fault. They’re just following orders,” he said.
“But you’ll have to deliver pizzas again.”
“What can you do?”
Around Christmas, he got the call back, and he’s now a full-time employee with the company. He has health insurance and a pension plan because he took his downsizing like a professional.
As far as his bosses and co-workers are concerned, Jay Bell’s a hard worker who enjoys the occasional Budweiser.
“They don’t know anything about Heather ‘Boom Boom’ McGill or anything else you’ve made up,” he said.
“That’s no problem,” I said. “Have them do an Internet search. You’ll be a legend.”
“That’s the last thing I want. Do you know how much stuff is out there about me?”
“You’re a Z-list celebrity. Enjoy the ride.”
“I’m going to talk slowly because it’s you,” he said.
“There are a lot of different Jay Bells.”
“Like the baseball player?”
“Stop interrupting. There are a bunch of Jay Bells, and they’re all me. They don’t need to be mixed together like a goulash.”
“You’re saying you don’t want people to eat you?”
“Morris, you idiot,” he said. “Can you imagine the trouble I’d have around the office if they knew about those stories you’ve written? The Jaybird would be more exposed than Paris Hilton.”
“Nobody wants that,” I said. “Don’t worry. I’ll stop writing about you.”
“You’re not listening,” he said.
“Talk more slowly, then. I’m confused.”
“OK. The Jaybird realizes he has fans and he doesn’t want to disappoint them.”
“What Z-list celebrity would?”
“Right, just don’t put stuff where people around my office will find it.”
“Like the Internet?”
“Don’t worry about that,” Jay Bell said. “As far as the web’s concerned, I’m a shortstop.”
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal entertainment writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal