A New Name, a New Identity

By Laurel Sutton

October 19, 2004

“This seems to me to be the old Reggie Perrin fantasy of faking suicide, leaving your clothes on the beach and emerging with a new identity to begin again, unencumbered by the past – and who doesn’t feel that way sometimes?

You wouldn’t even need to have a nervous breakdown: you could just do it because you felt like it, because you had nothing to lose except your past and your underpants. As you were peeling off the clothes, you would be telling yourself that life isn’t a tram track; it’s a motorway, and you’re entitled to change lanes whenever you like. And as you walk away from the pathetic bundle of clothes that was your life, the best part would be renaming yourself, rebranding yourself, just like you were a freshly born baby, slick with promise, unmarked by regret or shame.”

Barbara Ellen, A name, a new identity, a new you, The Observer Magazine (UK), October 17, 2004

Paul Gascoigne is a British football player who wants to change his name – to what, he hasn’t said. He claims he’s a different person from what he used to be and wants a new name to reflect this. It didn’t really work for Reginald Perrin, though; he ended up in pretty much the same place with the same people and had to escape all over again.

More on this at the BBC, and you can even submit name options for him at the Times. How about Homer Simpson? Max Power? I wonder if he needs the exact .com domain name.

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