Nick’s name used to be Jedidiah. As Jedidiah, he did not like his name.
It was nothing to do with the history of the name (biblical), or its source (his parents). It was simply the cumbersome nature of it, the weird bouncing of the mouth it created, and the backward, old-timey connotations it carried. Few youth were named Jedidiah – it was a name you expected of an elderly Amish man who scorned electricity and medical science.
On his nineteenth birthday, Jedidiah changed his name to Nick. Quick, easy, and sharp, he thought. Nick was hip. Nick was cool. Nick got the job done.
The intersection of his past and present came eight years later, at Tamara’s party. Nick arrived early (at 6, the party’s stated start time), and was the third guest to arrive. Tamara’s boyfriend Omar was with her, which made sense. But when he saw Stanton standing in Tamara’s living room, Nick froze.
“Jedidiah Pritchard, it’s been a long time! How the hell are you?” Stanton said.
“Uh…uhh…” Nick said.
“Wait, what?” said Tamara. “Jedidiah?”
Nick’s face flushed, and Stanton looked confused. “Yeah. This guy. Jedidiah, right?”
“That’s Nick,” said Tamara. “We’ve known him for like, five years. He showed me all around when I first moved here, and even introduced me to Omar. I think you’ve confused him with someone else, Stan. A brother maybe?” Tamara turned to Nick. “Do you even have a brother? You’ve never mentioned him.”
“Uh…no. No brother.”
“So what’s going on?”
“Yeah, Jedidiah. Why are these folks calling you Nick?” Stanton asked.
Nick sighed, grabbed a beer from the table, and said, “Let me tell you a story. It’s about a dopey little kid in his first year of university with no friends and a name that even the professors made fun of.”