Because my vanity knows no rational bounds I force Google to tell me every time my name is published online. It’s called a Google News Alert. With it I can make Google send me an email whenever any combination of words, for example “Cleveland Browns News” or “Joe Biden Mistakenly Calls Black Man a Midget,” appear on a major website or blog.
Mainly I receive Google News Alerts so I can be informed when my articles are published.
Here’s how it works if you’re a freelance writer. I pitch an idea. The editor approves it. I write the article and email it to the editor. The editor tells me he likes it.
Then several months pass, during which the editor hopes I forget I wrote the article so he does not have to pay me.
When the editor thinks no one is looking—say, 3:30 on a Sunday morning—he publishes the article.
Google then alerts me that the article has been published.
Several years later, after I die, my estate receives a check from the publisher.
For this life, people quit their very reasonable day jobs.
A few days ago Google News Alerts told me of the existence of a second Joe Donatelli. The only other Joe Donatelli I have ever met was my grandfather. I have one of those names that relatively few people have, which is something I’ve always liked. Donatelli is not an incredibly common last name, and no one besides my parents and people who run crab shacks uses the the name Joe anymore.
This new Joe Donatelli, according to the Google News Alert, is from Maryland and is a model and actor.
I received an alert because new Joe Donatelli had just posted a video on YouTube.
Now, before we discuss this video, let me just say that I like to think I’ve cultivated a certain look—that of the confident bald man.
I don’t try to distract people from my baldness.
I own it.
For example, I don’t wear hats or a toupee. I don’t grow weird facial hair all the way around my mouth. I don’t wear earrings or jewelry except my wedding ring. I don’t walk around in tough-guy Affliction or TapouT clothing.
My secret: I dress and act like a guy with a full head of hair.
Yes, I’m aware that I look like a giant thumb wearing a sweater, but I’m a giant sweater-wearing thumb with swag.
What I’m saying is I think I am a decent-looking guy.
Then I see this new Joe Donatelli and think “My God, this is one good-looking kid.” When I was his age I was fat and when I smiled I looked like one of those hostages in a movie who is forced to walk through the mall smiling because the kidnapper has a nine-millimeter in the small of his back.
The torch has been passed. Actor/model Joe Donatelli is now the handsomest Joe Donatelli in the country. As far as I know it’s just him and me, and from what I can tell from that video, he has a promising modeling and acting career ahead of him, much more promising than mine, anyway.
Oh yeah, I’ve done a little acting.
Check me out here in “The Night Terrors of Rafael Palmeiro,” which was written by the very funny Richard Feliciano. I appear at the 58-second mark and 2:18 mark as Angry Sportswriter Who is Apparently from 1930s New York No. 2.
Yeah, I know—amazing performance.
I am going to address the rest of this column to new Joe Donatelli, who, if he’s anything like me, will receive this via Google News Alert.
Kid , if we share any DNA, I advise you to enjoy your hair now and make as much modeling as quickly as you can. If you’re anything at all like my brothers and I, your hair will disappear between the ages of 15 and 32, which is the approximate age range of when you virginity will disappear, too.
Also—what are you, 15?—you’re not going to get any taller, so, if you’re into sports you should focus on point guard in basketball, shortstop in baseball and running back in football.
If you’re in Model U.N., you are height-appropriate for Mexico and Japan.
With that, I wish you the best of luck.
When you rise to success with your acting and modeling career, you will be joining other great Donatellis such as myself, Republican Party consultant Frank Donatelli, author Daniel Donatelli (my brother) and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Donatello, whom we claim as our own.