I've gone by a lot of different names over the years, every one of them, I'm sure, transparently phony. I now recognize that I was laboring under some fairly serious delusions, and harbored the misguided notion that these names I'd choose --and choose carefully, I might add-- demonstrated a certain flair. What they actually were, these names of mine, were red flags, and only served to cast underserved suspicion on my behavior and motives.
You might remember me from the period when I was representing myself as Corporal Bryce Chaparral, and was trying to make a living as an auctioneer here in the Twin Cities. I later tried my hand as a private detective in Sioux City, under the name Aristide LeRoi. I went so far as to take out an expensive advertisement in the yellow pages, and tried to speak with an accent that I imagined sounded suitably French, or at least French-Canadian. I paid a good deal of attention to my grooming in those days, and walked with a cane. Regardless of my qualifications --or lack thereof-- I discovered that there was little market for a private detective in Sioux City. I did manage to pick up the occasional insurance job, which generally involved trying to capture video footage of people with purported disabilities taking out their garbage.
For a brief period I was also (as Lance Waterhouse) a black jack dealer at a casino in Oklahoma, but nothing came of it. I have no idea what I thought might come of it, but I certainly never imagined I'd have to pawn virtually everything I owned, including a Civil War chess set I'd inherited from my father.
You might be surprised by how easy it is to become anyone you want, at least in strictly bureaucratic terms, especially when people don't much care who you are. It is more difficult, I've discovered, to truly become someone, to make up your mind, as if the mind were a bed, or a bedtime story.
Make believe --there's another useful (and useless) analogy. Also: Wishful thinking.
You can't just go to Home Depot and buy an ax to break up the frozen sea within you, if, in fact, you sense there is a frozen sea within you. I liked to think there was, once upon a time, if only because it seemed like a convenient explanation for certain troubling aspects of my personality.
I won't go into that, though. Live and learn, I guess, which is just something I'll say because it's something people say.
I'm sorry, I can't imagine. I just cannot imagine. I was thinking last night how my head felt like one of those snow globes where the little confetti blizzard never settles and the quaint miniature village never emerges from the storm. It almost broke my heart, but then I got to thinking...Oh, good lord, I can't for the life of me remember what I got to thinking. It's entirely slipped my mind.