It started with a traffic stop.
Nearly 20 years ago a police officer pulled me over for a registration sticker that was out. The officer proceeded to yell at me and threaten me over another issue though. He saw my name on my Drivers License and immediately began warning me that I would regret hitting my wife if I ever did it again.
Now for those of you who may not know me, I have never and would never raise a hand to my wife. I love her dearly. So you can understand my confusion.
As I stared at him blankly, he continued to threaten me with a beating if he ever heard my wife calling into the police station again to report abuse. I finally regained my composure and said, “I have no idea what you are talking about.” At that moment he looked at my license again and said, “Sir, I am sorry. I thought you were another Jason Sparks, but that man has a middle name starting with a ‘T’ and I see your’s starts with an ‘M’. I’m terribly sorry, but we have all heard about this other Jason Sparks and how he treats his wife.”
Needless to say, I got off with a warning on the tag issue. And deep down I was a little happy that the man would stand up for “my” wife like that even if it was a false identity. I’m just glad he didn’t pull me out of that car.
Trials at Blockbuster Video
About three months later my wife and I went to a Blockbuster Video. We picked out a couple of movies and went to check out. We had never been there before, so we asked to set up an account. They took our information and as they entered it into their computer it notified them that I already had an account with them and that I owed $1,200 in charges. (You can’t make this stuff up!) So I asked, “What’s the middle initial?” Sure enough, It was a “T”.
(This guy was really starting to get on my nerves, and I had never even met him.)
More name confusion from a detective
A little while later, still living in the same location, I received a knock at my door and an officer in plain clothes asked to speak with me. He was a detective. As he sat down he asked me where the radio was that I stole the night before. He said if I would just hand it over we could move on and the lady would probably drop the charges.
That was a bit of a shock to me! The only thing I have ever “stolen” happened when I was about 9 years old and the neighbor had cut tree branches and left them on the side of the road for pick-up. I grabbed a branch to help finish a fort I was building. I felt guilty for weeks! There’s no way I was going to break into a truck and steal a radio. And I told the gentleman that he had his information wrong.
The eye-witness that didn’t see me
Then he told me there was an eye-witness, that is why he was there. That stumped me, to be honest. I told him I was at home with my wife and that I did not do it. We argued back and forth a bit (I was respectful) and then the light-bulb turned on inside my head. I told him, “You know, there’s another Jason Sparks around here. It must have been him.” The detective looked at me as if to say, “What kind of idiot do you take me for?” If not for the previous two incidents, I would never have though it myself. The detective countered with saying there was an eye-witness, to which I responded, “She saw the OTHER Jason Sparks, told you his name, and you looked it up and found my address. If you will look again, you’ll find a second one around here somewhere.”
At this point I was really upset about this other Jason.
The detective looked at me, annoyed. “Alright, I’ll run this down and then when I don’t find anything, I’ll be back and you’re not going to like what happens then.” So he left, and I never saw the detective again.
Off to jail?
Oh, it gets better from here. I’m going to share with you the first and only time I’ve been arrested–well almost arrested.
I’m embarrassed to say it, but 20 years ago I bounced a check. Things were a little different then than they are now. There was no email service. As soon as I realized it was going to bounce, I went to the store and told them. They said I would just need to wait until it went through and that they would notify me when it came back to them. A week later I had heard nothing, so I went to them about it again. They assured me that it would be OK and that they expected to see it at any time. After assurances that they would call, I left and promptly forgot about it. But they didn’t forget. Instead of calling me, they turned it over to the authorities.
An unusual visit
One day an officer came to the house at 4:30 a.m. The OTHER Jason Sparks had done something else (no telling what) and so they created a warrant for his arrest. The officer looked up the other Jason’s name and found my address. So he came by. Since it was so early in the morning (I remember the time because I was already up getting ready for work), he decided to run the license plate to make sure the OTHER Jason was home so he wouldn’t wake the whole house for nothing.
He told me later that when he ran the plate on my car he realized that I was a different Jason. Evidently word finally got around that there were two of us. And then he saw that I had that warrant from the bounced check. So (and this is what he told me) he said, “Well since I’m here I might as well take care of this.”
The wrong name became the right one
I had no idea what was happening. I opened the door to leave for work at the precise moment he walked up to the door with his flashlight shining. So I was immediately stunned and backed up–thankfully I had neither the courage nor mental capacity to hit him. And he started a conversation, explained all that had transpired, including the fact that he was actually looking for the OTHER Jason (thanks alot OTHER Jason!). He actually joked around with me about it and took me to the car, and told my wife to follow him to the station to get me out. We paid the fine/check and I went home.
All thanks to another Jason Sparks. (OK, the arrest was my own fault, and there was nothing on my record from it, thankfully.)
Looking up an “old friend”
About 3 years ago I decided to look up Jason T. Sparks in the area I used to live, and I found him. I found his obituary. He was only a couple of years younger than me, and he died of a drug overdose or something like that.
What’s the point of this long story?
You wear the name of Christ every day. What reputation are you giving Him?