Jewish World Review June 30, 2004 / 11 Tamuz, 5764

Jim Shea

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Consumer Reports

Where Prince, Sean and Madonna go, so go I | I've been thinking about changing my name.

You can choose to believe this or not, but it has nothing to do with owing anybody any money. It's just about doing a little pizzazzing up.

Musicians do this all the time:

Sean Combs became Puff Daddy and now is P. Diddy.

Prince Rogers Nelson became Prince, and then just a symbol.

And, of course, the rapper "Ghostface Killah," is now going only by "Ghostface" (in case you happen to bump into him).

The most recent conversion is Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone, who initially downsized to Madonna, and now wants to be called Esther because it has better "energy" or something.

I don't see myself going with anything like Puff Jimmy, or J. Doodle, but if Madonna is not going to use Madonna anymore, I might be interested in that, and the same goes for Killah.

This isn't the first time I've contemplated a name adjustment.

A long time ago I thought about having a pen name. I was going to go with Gym Shea. Then it was pointed out to me that the only thing having such a name would do is announce in advance that I was a moron. So I shelved the idea.

I don't know, we all seem so wedded to our assigned names. Why should it be such a big deal to go with something new, something that fits the present-you better? We think nothing of altering our hair color, noses or chests. Why not our names? I mean, it's not like you had anything to do with picking it.

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Most of the time you get named after someone else. Like Uncle Buddy, who may have been a cool guy at some point but has morphed over the years into a notorious gas passer, and I don't mean anesthesiologist.

Yeah, people find out you're named after old Uncle Buddy, and the next thing you know you're the one everyone is giving the evil eye to whenever there is an air-quality situation.

Almost as bad as being named after somebody, is being named by parents who in the throes of child-birth euphoria, decide to be creative. While there are many instances of this — Tuesday, River, Stirrups — certainly the most egregious example is Moon Unit, as if Zappa wasn't baggage enough.

As far as my own search is concerned, so far I have come up with the following possibilities:

Abner, Baruch, Chaz, Dakota, Manual Transmission, Huey, Jimmy-Bob, Duke, Wolfgang (or Wolfposse), Xenophob, Yo, and what I think could eventually be the winner:

GymFace Killah.

Jim Shea is a columnist for the Hartford Courant. Comment by clicking here.

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