What's in a name?
A riff on identity / on becoming the supplanter
A colleague recently asked me about my name. I go by Jim. My given name is James. She was puzzled. James is one sylable. Jim is the same. The difference between the two saves little in the way of either wind or ink.
She remarked that she saw me more as a James than a Jim. I found this really jarring. Janky really.
My response was the typical joke I make about myself:
James is the name that the banks and government have for me. I give them that name so I can tell who is calling me. If they’re asking for James, I’m not there.
Glib. Of course.
Yet, there’s something there.
In my early college days, wrestling with who I was and who I wanted to be in the world, I struggled with variations and combinations of my three or four names. I was struggling with who I was in the world and wasn’t really clear.
As a performer, I came up with countless clown names and couldn’t settle on just one.
What the hell am I supposed to do with that?
Let’s wind things back a bit first.
I share a name with my f…
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