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The Pleasures and Perils of Google Alerts

Thanks to Google Alerts, I get a daily email listing the previous day’s blogs in which my name appears. Now, Joshua Henkin is not a particularly common name (though there are three of us on Facebook), but I have always been dimly aware of a doppelganger. An athlete, no less (a wrestler?) who competed in the Macabi Games in Israel. This was always of interest to me, since I, a decent high school basketball player, had aspirations (delusions) that involved my competing in the Macabi Games. For those of you unfamilar with the Macabi Games, they are essentially a Jewish Olympics, though my friends and I at the Jewish day school I attended thought of them more as a Special Olympics, or, at best, as an athletic affirmative action program. None of which dimmed our hopes that we would someday compete in them.

Years later, when I was giving a reading at American University, I learned that the other Joshua Henkin was alive and well and was, of all things, the stepson of Henry Taylor, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet, who taught writing at American. For several years I forgot about JH, and then, thanks to Google Alerts, there he was again, appearing in my inbox every morning: "Joshua Henkin Sandbag Fitness Program." Joshua Henkin is now apparently a fitness trainer in Arizona and he has created and patented something called the "Joshua Henkin Sandbag," an object whose specific contours I’m having a little trouble visualizing but that appears to make the owner of said sandbag a stronger and generally more fit person. Whatever the Joshua Henkin Sandbag is, when I turn on my computer I am often greeted with testimonials to the wonders of the Joshua Henkin Sandbag and the wonders more generally of Joshua Henkin himself. Though I did awake one morning to the following headline in my inbox: JOSHUA HENKIN IS FAT. It’s pinned above my desk now, and when I find myself sitting too long, at work on my new novel, I get up and go for a run.

Joshua Henkin, author of Matrimony, is guest blogging on Jewcy, and he’ll be here all week.  Stay tuned.



Not to toot my own horn (OK, I will, if only briefly), but the book was a 2007 NY Times Notable Book, and the way this is relevant to you is that I’m offering a free copy to three lucky Jewcy readers. All you have to do is send me an email at Jhenkin at SLC dot edu with the subject "Achin’ for Matrimony" and you’ll be entered in the drawing. For more about the novel, click on here, and for those of you who want to skip straight over the foreplay and buy the book for yourself, your friends, your cousins (Chanukah isn’t far away!) here’s the place for you. Finally, a note to book groups. I’ve been participating in a lot of book group discussions of Matrimony, so if you’re in a book group, or know people who are, and would like a visit from the author either in person or by telephone, get in touch with me at the aforementioned email address or through the book group link on my website. 

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