Tiny apartment near Carl and Cole, San Francisco, March, 1984: Approaching my 40th birthday, again I began thinking about changing my name.
I’d been born ‘Richard French’, and known that way back in Henrietta Texas, in college, and on my travels, but ever since I was 30 I’d been thinking about changing my name.
My theory was that we humans tend to ‘act out’ our name. The only reason that this is not always so totally obvious is that each person’s idea of what his name means is very personal, quite idiosyncratic, and not always visible to an outsider. I figured that, if this were so, maybe it would be a good idea to consciously choose the name you’d like to act out.
Although I’d had this theory for ten years, I’d never found a good name to choose.
Now, my 40th birthday looming, again I thought I’d like a new act, and one day I thought of the name:
I liked this name because it was after Arthur, Lord of all Brittany, and after Jupiter’s father, Cronos, so it had classical elements. My initials would be ‘AC’, as in electricity, and when I signed my name (‘ACronos’), it would mean ‘outside of time.’
I was delighted, and so I told my then wife Lori that I was going to change my name to Arthur Cronos.
“That’s not a very nice name,” she said.
“Oh,” I said, and went away for awhile. About a week later I came back to her and said, “You know, I’ve decided not to change my name to Arthur Cronos.”
“No?” she said.
“No,” I said, “I’ve decided to change my name to Traktor Topaz instead.”
“Oh,” she said, and she went away for about a week. Then she came up to me.
“You know,” she said, “Arthur Cronos is not so bad.”