[Updated below] In the 1998 blockbuster The Bourne Identity, the character Jason Bourne (played by Matt Damon) is discovered floating in the water by an Italian fisherman, who rescues him by bringing him on board. Explains Wikipedia:
While treating the unconscious body, the ship's medical officer finds a device with the number of a safe deposit box embedded in the man's hip. The man wakes up, and discovers he is suffering from retrograde amnesia. Over the next few days on the ship, the man finds he is fluent in several languages and can perform uncommon tasks such as sea navigation and tying exotic knots in the ship's ropes, but he cannot remember anything about himself including his identity or why he was found in the ocean.
Compare that to this: A man wanders out of Discovery Park, realizes he has $600 in his sock and he has no idea who he is. Further, explains the Seattle Times:
This much is clear: He is fluent in English, French and German. He possesses a professorial knowledge of European cultural history. He seems to have traveled the world. And he says he is a widower. But he said he doesn't know who he is or when he was born. Or how he got here and why. Or whether he even wants to know.
But he said he doesn't know who he is or when he was born. Or how he got here and why. Or whether he even wants to know.
[Spoiler alert]: Of course, Bourne was a youthful secret-government-program-trained assassin in peak physical condition, one who suffered from flashbacks to a botched mission. Seattle's mystery man, dubbed Jon Doe, is middle-aged and, judging from the photographs, does not appear to be in peak physical condition. (He does sport a pretty impressive Sam Elliott/Wilford Brimley-style walrus 'stache.) And his flashbacks--to academic lectures and the death of his wife--are not of the shady CIA variety.
Meanwhile, his identity may have been solved by Times commenter davidakast, who says the man's name is Edward Lighthart. Judging from this page (scroll down for the English), which is also from the comment thread (probably the most worthwhile in Times history), that seems likely. The bio states that Lighthart is the managing director of PR outfits in Austria and Slovakia who previously worked with Wall Street firms on "logistical system designs" and who "has also taught in Slovakia, Austria, and the Peoples' Republic of China undergraduate university courses in sociology, comparative religion, philosophy, ethics, English, and research methodologies."
The Wall Street would provide a good hook for a financial espionage element, and maybe his PR firm serves some shady, powerful folks. But even if it doesn't involve cinematic-caliber espionage, this is the most fascinating story Seattle's had in a while.
Update: Jon Doe is indeed Edward Lighthart, who apparently is not only a high-powered PR consultant with an encyclopedic knowledge of European history, but also has an epic art collection and was a "high-caliber chef." This story only gets better.