ConstantCommentary® Vol. XII, No. 185, June 16, 2011

Mike Jasper at 56




By any other name, it still smells

The Lawyer drove us up to the courthouse at 1 p.m. I was going to do something I'd never done before—go to court of my own free will. Specifically, I was going to court to change my name back to my birth name.

My birth name is Cristoph Wilybald Gluck. Of the California Glucks.

Despite the civility of it all, I kept hearing the obnoxious ad for a local bail bondsman running through my head.  

"For bail relief, dial 777-7777.  For bail relief, dial 777-7777. Our number is simple. Just dial all sevens."

Although we found parking close to the courthouse, it was 101 degrees in Austin and I was wearing a sport coat. I started to sweat profusely. The Lawyer was giving me last-minute instructions.

"She'll probably ask you the same questions you answered on the forms, so just answer yes or no. If you want, you can throw in 'your honor' at the end."

I was doing the name change pro se, which means I was representing myself, but The Lawyer was advising me and helping me through the process. She does pro bono work for those she thinks are deserving, such as writers and musicians.

Just kidding. I'm really good in the sack.

By the time we got to the clerk's office to file the papers, I was perspiring like a human garden fountain. I was working on a full-on flop sweat now, a combination of nerves and 100-plus heat. I felt like someone was going to tape a piso mojado sign to my back if it got any worse.

Fortunately, when we made it to the actual courtroom, it was cooler than any other spot in the building. Still, I was afraid I'd blow it in front of the judge.

"What seems to be the problem?

"It's hotter than a motherfucker. Your honor."

I tried to coach myself. Remember, you need to say your honor. Do not say yo mamma, do not say yo mamma.

I started freaking out and imagined different scenarios that would get me hauled off to jail.

"Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?"

"Not guilty, your honor."

"Sir, you're here to change your name, is that correct?"

"Yes, but I think I want to change it to Tony Zacarelli now. No, wait. Randy Gorman. I think I want to be Randy Gorman."

I'd find a way to say something inappropriate, I was pretty sure of that. About 2:15, the judge called my name. As I stood up, I turned to The Lawyer. "Remember, just dial all sevens."

I strode to the bench and the judge swore me in. Then she peppered me with some questions, the same ones from the form, just as The Lawyer warned. Any felonies? No. Any debt collectors after me? No. Finally she asked, "Why do you want to change your name?"

"Well, it's a long story your honor, but back in the '70s it turns out I had the same name as Rick Wakeman's guitar player, and I was in LA at the time so people were getting confused about which guitar player they might be getting. Also, there was the whole confusion with family members and the wishes of my 102-year-old uncle."

I had hit a home run. I could see her eyes glaze over and I knew the only thought on her mind was getting me the fuck out of her courtroom. She handed me the final papers, and I fled like a thief, right past The Lawyer and straight to the door.

I was almost outside when I saw the bailiff. He looked like a Latino Bob Barker. Roberto Barkereno—now that's a catchy name. Maybe next week I'll come back and change my name to Miguel Barkereno.

Naw, that’s ridiculous, I thought. I need to wait until winter when it’s cool.

* * *

STANDARD DISCLAIMER: This column aims to be funny. If you can read anything else into it, you're on your own.




Mike Jasper is a writer and musician living in Austin, Texas.

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, he claims strong ties to Seattle, St. Petersburg, Florida and North Platte, Nebraska.


© 2011 by Mike Jasper, All Rights Reserved. ConstantCommentary® is published whenever Mike Jasper feels like it. All material is the responsibility of the author.