Friday, December 19, 2008

Bruno is My Name. Coolness is my Game.

My birth name is Fermin Arcadio Concepcion Taruc III.

The name dates me. I don’t think anyone born after 1970 has been called either "Fermin” or “Arcadio”, much less both.

Had I been born a few years later – you may probably now know me as Kayne, Richard or Joshua, even – God forbid – Duane.

But,even for my time, I admit my name is unusual. I can only explain it by supposing that my parents were trying to get in the good graces of my grand-parents.

“Fermin” is my paternal grandfather. “Arcadia” is my maternal grandmother. They had no money so their good graces were not worth very much materially. This would be an entirely different post if I were Fermin Arcadio Vanderbilt or even Fermin Arcadio Ayala.

“Concepcion” is my mother’s “maiden name"(how archaic, this term, but it’s still in use apparently).

The “III” is like a transvestite’s penis - a useless organ. There is no other “Fermin Arcadio” so I cannot be “Taruc III”.

As a child, everyone called me “Jun-Jun”, true to the Filipinos penchant for doorbell nicknames, Everyone who still remembers me by this nickname is dead from old-age or close to it.

My parents called me “Sonny-boy” to their last breath. When my Dad was working abroad, his letters to me would all start with "Dear Sonny-boy:.

My grandmother still calls me "Jun-Love-First-Born-Apo" in one go, stringing the words like they were all joint together.

I never had a choice in any of these names. I always felt that none of them captured the essence of who I was or who I want to be.

“Fermin” sounds like a low-level municipal government employee who wears white socks and puts a comb in his back-pocket.

“Arcadio” sounds like somebody’s old bachelor uncle with epilepsy living up in the attic.

Nobody over 10 years old has the right to still be called “Jun-Jun” unless they were 400 pounds and still living with their mother.

Jun-Love-First-Born-Apo sounds like something my Lola would call one of her poodles.

With what I consider good reason, I have had to take matters in my own hand.

“Tarcs” is something a friend came up with about 20 years ago. It was a private joke until I decided I wanted everyone to call me by this name. Since I was shifting careers at that time, it was easy to get people to call me by my new name as they didn't have to unlearn an old one. Easy for everyone else – that is – except me. It took me a while to respond immediately when anyone called me "Tarcs". Twenty year is enough time to get used to it.

At 33, I was one of the oldest in my MBA batch back in 1996. I didn’t want my classmates to have any impression that I might be the fuddy-duddy-serious-party-pooper that “Fermin” or “Arcadio” would suggest”. “Tarcs” was fine but I was tired of it.

After much thought, I decided that I wanted to be called “Joey". The name seemed to conjure just the right images of the young, hip, easy-going, baseball-playing, gum-chewing person I wanted them to think I was before they found out otherwise (note to heckler - no, I didn't think they could tell just from looking and it's not polite to snicker) .

In all my school pre-registration forms, “Joey” was what I put in in the line across “name you prefer to be called by”. “Joey” was the name that appeared on my name-tag during the first day of class.

Unfortunately, my classmates were pretty smart. Without having to be told, I guess they knew instinctively that I wasn’t a “Joey” type. An Indian friend - due to my insistence on not responding to anything else - tried, but with his accent, what he called me sounded closer to “Jovy”.

I got the hints. I could never be a “Joey”. I stuck to “Tarcs”. Fortunately, it turned out that i had other qualities so I was still cool .

But, I’m rethinking my options. It 's time to try out a new name. I want to re-invent myself.

Looking back, it does seem like I get to do this every 10 years or so . Much less frequently than Madonna but definitely more than most normal people. But, then again, if I were normal, I would just have settled for good old "Fermin Arcadio" and you wouldn't be reading this blog.

I think I want to be called “Bruno” from now on.

“Bruno” sounds just right for somebody who shaves his head, dresses all in black, drinks Grey Goose vodka tonics and quotes Samuel Beckett.

Even if Bruno worked for a municipal government office, he would be the mayor's henchman doing all sorts of cool things with his machete. Even if he were an uncle living in the attic, he would be up there right now recuperating from being attacked by a bull in Pamplona. Even if he were 8 years old, Bruno would be the king of the playground "takin no shit from nobody, yo" with pockets bulging from other kids' lunch money.

I want to be a "Bruno". People have said I look like a "Bruno". Okay, that's settled - call me Bruno .


The Blogger said...

Hi, Bruno, Your post is so amusing. I remember in Tax Law, I had a classmate named Marian who said she didn't like her name because it was too prim and feminine. So we also called her Bruno.

Paolo V. said...

Well, ninong "Bruno", have you considered using a symbol as a substitute to an actual name?

Take Prince for instance. He became "T.A.F.K.A.P."--The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, and then he came out with his own icon/logo.

You could be: "K.A.L.B.O"--Kung Ako Lang, Bruno's Okay. And then your symbol would be a cross between the alchemical symbol of Fermium--Fm (YES. There is such an element in the periodic table. I ain't pullin' yer leg), and the logo of your favorite clothing brand.

Having your own logo you can keep re-inventing yourself to stay one step ahead of everybody else.

Of course, people would still end up calling you by your known name, since they wouldn't know what to call you by because of your symbol...

Happy New Year nga pala...