Juliet once told her Romeo: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet; So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called, retain that dear perfection which he owes without that title. Romeo, doff thy name, and for that name which is no part of thee take all myself.”
But neither Juliet nor her Romeo could outrun their names, their destinies. Everything they were, everything we are, tied up in phonemes. Constants, vowels. Juliet died a Capulet, her Romeo a Montegue. And we die Smiths, Fannings, Slaters, etc. My wife might die a Wallace but I may persuade her to die a Smith too. Every accomplishment and every failure encompassed in our names. We are linguistically tied to our fates.
Yet Juliet’s beautiful fantasy of shaking off titles and assuming a new life reverberate still.
Floridian surfer Sterling recently changed his name to Jordy. Jordy Spencer. We spoke at length about his new identity and how he hopes it will change his trajectory.
“Really, the reason for the change is that I want to be taken more seriously. I mean, the whole centaur thing…people just couldn’t…this is a more serious side of me. And now that I’m more serious, people should watch out. I’m going to compete. I’ve started training. I’m paying a trainer, like, tons of money. Had a meeting with Billabong and talked with them. Let them know the new direction. I’ve spoken with Jordy too. He seemed a bit worried. He told me Jordy Spencer didn’t sound very good and maybe I should think about it. Should he be worried? I guess it depends where my surfing takes me….”
Jordy’s full name is Jordan Michael Smith. Sterling’s full name is now Jordy Spencer. And we all stand and watch and wonder where this saga will end. Can Sterling now Jordy radically alter his future by changing his name? An interesting experiment to be sure, backed up with hard work, training, competition and sponsor support. It is possible.
Sterling now Jordy may someday be an ASP world champion. Or he may commit murder suicide. We all stand and watch.
P.S. If you are Jordy’s friend on Facebook he didn’t delete you. Simply search your friends for Jordy Spencer. He is there. —Chas Smith