Tuesday, April 17, 2012
I have now began working outside of the nick four days a week and as previously promised I won't be telling you precisely where or for whom. Let's just say that for four days a week I am working in the charity retail sector somewhere in England.
The initial introductions were mercifully brief- "this is John..." - ah, dammit, I failed to firmly squash that in favour of Ben, so now the number of people who know me as John has tripled at a stroke. It will take some getting used to, having only three people previously calling me John in decades.
I have nothing against "John", there is nothing inherent in the name that offends me. And yet it feels like a name that belongs to someone else, a label from a previous existence that I left behind many, many years ago. "Ben" arose out of the ashes of my teenage years where I sported a fearsome beard and attitude. It is quite probable that this was a staff invention, "Treasure Island" not being a popular perennial on the landings.
And it seemed to fit, and seemed to stick. My attitude to it had no impact. The only advantage I saw at the time was that it stalled any staff who wished to imply that we were on a first name basis; my pseudonym allowed for the impression of a pseudo relationship. I seemed to grow into it, and Ben is who I forever became.
Now, as The End is Nigh, I really should give some consideration to my future identity. The part of the world who gives a hoot knows me as Ben Gunn. My official paperwork knows me as John Gunn. Actually, I have to add the caveat that I discovered Legal Aid for changing names by Deed Poll as a teen and had a brief existence as, would you believe, Mokurai Yoritomo... mostly because it used to piss off the Censor as he tried to work out who the hell that was.
Outside of the prison system, though, I am the Man With No Name. Not only do I not possess my National Insurance Number but one doesn't exist to give me. I am a tabula rasa for the whole raft of Government agencies who, soon, I will have to persuade of my existence.
And at this point I could formally change my name. I could quietly cease writing and drift out into the world in a completely new and unknown guise. I've always fancied trying Arbuthnot Aloysius Fotherington-Smythe.