If the conflict in the Middle East continues much longer, Saeed Hussein, of Falls Church, is going to change his name.
"Right after the invasion, I just knew there was going to be trouble," said Hussein, who is no relation to Iraq's Saddam Hussein.
"I don't mind the jokes -- people asking what kind of peace initiative I'm putting on the table -- but this isn't funny anymore. People were calling and saying they were going to blow up my house."
Mail comes to his apartment addressed to the Middle East dictator. Saeed Hussein got so many crank calls that he had to get an unlisted phone number. He has notified Fairfax County police because of threats on his life.
"This is crazy. I'm just a poor little guy struggling to survive, and I'm paying the price for having a name like the Iraqi president," said Hussein, 34, who is originally from the African nation of Somalia. "I've never even been to the Middle East."
Hussein's misfortune was compounded by a misspelling in the 1990 telephone book put out by Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co., which lists him as Saeedam Hussein.
Fairfax County police would not comment on Case No. 90327-001938, a chronology of Hussein's threatening phone calls.
"We got many, many calls, day and night," said Hussein's roommate, Abdi Yassin. "At first, people would call and say, 'Is Saddam there?' and I thought they just mispronounced Saeed, so I said, 'No, he'll be back later.' "
Hussein, who works in the purchasing department of a D.C. law firm, said that even when store clerks take his credit cards, they give him strange looks. "I wonder what would happen if I tried to get a loan," he said.
"This is sort of a new one on me," said C&P spokesman Michel Daley. "I'm sorry this happened to the guy. You'd think people would know that Saddam Hussein doesn't live around here."
Linda Smith, assistant manager of the company's annoying-call bureau, said she has never come across a problem like Hussein's. Looking through November's log of complaints for the area, she reeled off: 430 repeated hang-ups, 359 harassing calls, 123 obscene calls, 73 life-threatening calls.
"No," Smith said, "nothing about people getting harassed because they have a name like somebody else."
Hussein, who said he did not report his trouble to C&P because he figured it would be another "useless hassle," got an unpublished number last week.
"I've been in this country 11 years and had no trouble," he said. "Then all this happened. I feel cornered, and I didn't even do anything."
The other night, Hussein said, he started chatting with a man next to him in a bar. "He was a nice guy and I didn't want to lie," Hussein said, "but when he asked me my name, I said, 'Don.' I just didn't want to get into it."