By Thad DeVassie
The wife has the prettiest of names but refuses to respond to it, hates when I speak it. This started early on when she would call me on the phone, back when phones were used for placing calls rather than texts, connecting to apps, serving as a portable clock. She would leave a message, first on an answering machine, later on voicemail, saying it’s me or hey gimme a call. Formalities of getting to know her voice behind me, her name all but disappeared. She became the girlfriend, then the wife. It explains why when acquiring our donkey we didn’t name it. It was just our donkey with no other donkeys to confuse it with. Along the way my name also evaporated. The wife doesn’t use it. The donkey can’t speak. Among those who know and don’t know me, I am addressed by a series of man-isms, the PG versions of which include dude, buddy, guy, G, homie, bro, my brotha, my man, and mister (children), or Mr. (strangers). I hardly know who I am anymore. My name was and still is George-Rupert. Not just George, not just Rupert. They are punchlines on their own, in the wild, conjuring up cartoonish caricatures that rightfully might fit. That’s what the wrong name can do. But the brilliance of a hyphen, creating something faux-sophisticated. On the rare occasion someone calls me George-Rupert I assume they are from the government, that I have landed in some kind of trouble. It is reason enough not to reveal or respond to my own name. I’ve embraced being nameless. There’s no compulsion to be known. Truth be told, it is helpful in dodging a helluva lot of incoming missiles, most of which arrive with a vengeance, leaving behind collateral damage. Nameless or not, it is never sufficient cover.
Thad DeVassie is a writer and artist/painter who creates from the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio. He is the author of SPLENDID IRRATIONALITIES, which was awarded the James Tate Poetry Prize in 2020 (SurVision Books), and YEAR OF STATIC (Ghost City Press, 2021), a micro-chap containing 11 original paintings and micro prose. Any other accomplishments that could be listed here remain inconsequential in the big scheme of things. His written and painted works loiter at www.thaddevassie.com.