Paul’s Wall

Say My Name

If you couldn’t read the words above, my name is Paul Winterbotham. If you actually know me, chances are you don’t call me by this name.

Like so many others in our society, I have been nicknamed. No longer do I go by the name my parents gave me; instead I have gone by what seems to be a thousand nicknames that include PW, WB P-Dub, PD, Pablo, Pabs, Tall Paul, Paul Wall, Paul the Wall, Tall Paul and the Ball Wall, KJ, Yoda, and Cisco.

Half the time I don’t even know what name I am going by. A friend of mine of the water polo team, who is responsible for almost half of these names, calls me a new name every week. Usually he does it without even informing me, leading to an awkward moment when I don’t know who he is talking to and he doesn’t understand why I am not responding. That’s never a lot of fun.

Part of me feels that if the name isn’t working for me, why not just change it? But what name would fit me like a glove? I’m not really an Anthony, a Frederick or a Sam. I already have friends named Alex, Kevin and Matt, so that would just be confusing. As much as I would love it, no one would actually call me Orenthal James or Isaiah, though this wouldn’t be a good time to be named O.J. or Isaiah. And Latrell, Rashad and Jermaine are out of the question, although they would help my hoops skills.

Part of me wants to blame it on my parents for this disaster, but how could they have known? They just wanted my name to be short to go along with my monstrous last name, and everyone in my family has an “L” in their first name, but all of their names fit.

But the people that  feel bad for are those who only get called by their last name. Usually their first is already taken within their social group, so it’s either get new friends or get a new name. Most choose to stick with their friends, taking on their last name and leaving their “other” name behind them forever.

The best are the people whose last name merits being called by it. These are all the Fogells of the world, with their last names too cool and original to waste it by saying these people’s boring first names. Like my good friend Matt Rigodanzo—Rigodanzo, it’s as beautiful as an Italian sausage. Can’t call him Matt, has to be Rigo.

Though to tell you the truth, I kind of like my name. I seem to be the only one that doesn. I’m not really willing to fight for the usage of my real name, as it happens to everyone, though it would be nice for once to be called Paul W. Winterbotham by a close friend or teacher.