It all started somewhere around 1987 or so. I have always considered myself just an ordinary guy...I'll never be President of the United States, etc. In 1981, a Christian film was released called "Ordinary Guy", and while I have never seen it, the phrase stuck in my mind. Hmmm....
In my last two years of college, I went to a lot of broadcast trade shows and the like, and people were constantly asking me for my "card". I finally went into a print shop and asked to have some "cards" printed up. The guy on the other side of the counter asked me what I wanted on it besides my address and phone number. So, being the funny guy that I am, I had him print "Marty Lange - just an ordinary guy". I also stuck on the card "No matter where you go, there you are" - a funny phrase which I had originally heard in the film "Buckaroo Banzai", another fine example of cheesy films from the 1980s.
So now I was "the ordinary guy". When I joined Wycliffe Bible Translators in 1991, I was told that my newsletter needed to have some catchy phrase that people would remember. The obvious choice for me (being single and all) was "The Ordinary Guy Newsletter". I wanted to challenge the misconception that to be a missionary, you had to somehow be cut of a different cloth. I'm not some superhero, but rather an ordinary guy who has decided to go wherever God makes it clear that I should go, and do whatever God makes it clear that I should do.
Then along came Karen. We got engaged in 1994, and had a dilemma on our hands. When we get married, what shall we call our newsletter? Who better to ask than the people receiving our newsletter! In our next newsletter, we put out a call for suggestions for a new name for the newsletter. My personal favorite was "The Old Lange Sign" - I could imagine the graphic of an old broken sign dangling at an angle, one of the chains it was hanging from now broken. But we were flooded with suggestions like "The Ordinary Guy and wife", "The Ordinary Couple", "The Extra- Ordinary Langes", etc. So we decided to get rid of the "Guy", and rename it "The Ordinary Newsletter".
Then came the Internet bubble. It was this amazing time when people came up with the most ridiculous business plans, presented them to speculators who gave them huge amounts of money, and put up a website. I remember things like "we'll write a super computer program, give it away for free, and we'll make fistfuls of money from it." Dumb with a capital M.
Since we have a lot of people reading our newsletters, I decided it would be a good idea to have our own site, so people could at least see COLOR photos of the kids (and I wouldn't have to pay to mail them out). I originally signed up with a service that owned www.lange.org, and we were soon on the Internet as ordinary.lange.org! Woo hoo!
Not that much later, my friend Jim told me that he had his very own site and owned the domain name. How was that possible? He showed me where to look, and much to my surprise, ordinary was available. I debated over whether we should be ordinary.com or ordinary.org...what were the implications of one over the other? Lots of brain cycles were wasted, because when I went to register the domain, someone else had just registered ordinary.com. So we became the proud owners of ordinary.org
And that's the story of everything ordinary.