I don’t know about that. But I do believe that each of us acts out our name. Or, rather, we act out the meaning of the name, as it appears to us.
It might not be as obvious as somebody naming himself “Ringo Starr” and then becoming a star. Or it might.
For myself, growing up in Texas as “Richard French” — no, as a child I was called “Dicky French” — this name was a mixed message. On the one hand, France was an exotic place, mysterious and unique, foreign. On the other hand, Dicky was a little name, and it grew suddenly worse when I became a teen.
I spent my teens coercing people to call me Richard, and acting like a foreigner in a strange land. I was a flop at sports. So I became a beatnik. Couldn’t do football, so I focussed on Band.
I was acting out my name, as it appeared to me. And I think this is common. And if so, then you could change your name to choose a new act. The life of my friend, Tom Pinch, improved in every way when he became Thomas Franklin.
OK. Maybe you agree. Maybe you have a different theory. But if you are thinking about changing your name, think on this:
First, in California you don’t have to do anything special to change your name. As long as you’re not committing fraud, if tomorrow you wish to be known as Bignose Butterfly, well, then that’s your new name. You can even go get a new social security card. Amazing.
If you’re in business, as I was, it seemed good to have a piece of paper, so I filed a paper with the San Francisco court. In due time, Judge Ollie-Victoire asked me, “You wish to change your name for business purposes?” I said yes. Bang went the hammer.
That was easy, wasn’t it? But next, there is danger. An early client at Network Answering Service was a black guy just starting an acting career. He’d chosen a name that would stand out: Buriel Clay. This name worried me, seeming a dangerous act to follow. My fears were founded. In less than a month, he became a statistic at the corner of Van Ness and Geary.
So did I learn carefully? I did not! For my new name, I chose “Arthur Cronos,” because it sounded good. Arthur, Lord of all Brittany, and Cronos, the father of Jupiter. Heads of our Anglo and Greek culture, no?
No. Think deeper. Remember the story of Arthur?
Guenevere ran off with Lancelot, right?
Well, now you know what happened to my marriage.
Bummer. So heed ye well. Ponder carefully. Don’t test the water with both feet.