My Name Is John.

With my birthday just around the corner, I find it to be a wonderful opportunity to try to get a handle on my life and make a full assessment of what the heck is going on around me

It’s not that my life is a mess. For an almost 36 year old, I’ve got it pretty good. A loving partner. A beautiful home. A stable, comfortable, if not insanely hectic career. A wonderful family and a group of friends that accept me for who and what I am. I wonder why I think I have to make myself over more times than Madonna Esther.

It was about this time 14 years ago that I became adamant in being called J.P. The “J” in “J.P.” standa for my given name, John. In that respect, I’m named after my father. The “P.” in J.P. stands for Patrick, given to me because I was born with red hair and my mother wanted a named to match my seemingly Irish looks. Rumor has it that she wanted to name me Christopher John, but my father thought that was too gay sounding. (Go figure.) He wanted to name me Wesley Walter. Egads, I’m already a geek. Can you imagine if I was a geek named Wesley Walter? I just can’t see myself in horned rimmed, masking taped together glasses.

So my folks settled on John Patrick, my sister and cousins settled on “Johnny”. To this day, I cringe if I’m called Johnny, save for any member of my family and that is simply because I’m used to it from them. My father was called Johnny by his aunt when he was 35 or so and I thought that was just silly and I wasn’t going to let that happen to me. My grandfather has always called me J.P., to differentiate me from my father. Actually he called me Mike-Nat-Eric-J.P., going through the more local of my male cousins until he got the name right, much like he called my father Jim-John and my uncle John-Jim. Sometimes he’d refer to me as “that damn J.P.” but that’s usually when I was doing something foolish like locking the keys to the safe in the safe. And I’ve mentioned Earl’s family with the K.T., Z.R, B.J., P.J. stuff, which I find cute.

But I digress.

Lately I haven’t been correcting people when they call me “John”, like at the bank or at the doctor’s office. I’ve sort of been enjoying being called John again. My name is John. J.P. is almost a fictional character I made up for this charade called life. J.P. was my stage name, sort of like the Queer Eye guy Kyan being called Kyan when his real name is Eddie.

I started using J.P. regularly when I was making a name for myself in radio. I really looked up to a local radio D.J. and he called himself J.R. In fact, it was J.R. that gave me my first big break in radio. But after that station folded, I moved on and “J.P.” stuck – and then I started insisting that everyone call me “J.P.” I thought it sounded more mysterious or something. As John I was boring, as J.P. I was dynamic. Whatever.

So now I sit back and take stock of what’s really important. I like to think that I don’t need to be on stage all the time. For the past couple of months I’ve been looking for a simpler life. Slowed down. Enjoyed. Relished. Savored. And I think I’ve discovered something.

J.P. is dynamic. But John is pretty cool too.