“My life as Jedidiah began simply enough. My parents were good little WASPs in a good little village. They were born there, they grew up there. They were high school sweethearts, got married right after graduation, got jobs. Straight out of the 50s. It’s a weird town.
“So they named me after my great great great great grandfather. They thought it was a strong name. A good name. Growing up in the late 90s and early 2000s was terrible. Jedidiah? That’s an old person’s name. It’s hard to say. It gets shortened to “Jed”. And it’s one of the Bushes. Blech.
“Anyway, when I got to university, everyone thought I was this Luddite Amish kid, off on his little outing into the world. Or they thought I was some small town hick who knew nothing, hated minorities, and believed the market should be free in everything except for people. No one wanted to be my friend. Professors asked if I could come help them raise a barn, or how I had perfected time travel. It sucked.
“So off I went to the courthouse. I changed my name to Nick. I grew a beard over the summer, right before growing beards was cool. I even got some glasses, though I didn’t actually need them. I came back, and everyone thought I was someone else. It worked like a charm. Suddenly I was popular, I went on dates, and things were ideal.
“I left Jedidiah behind, and became Nick. My parents threatened to disown me, so I stayed away for a couple of years. They called me one day, we had it out, and now things are fine. I go home once a year for a couple of days. Everyone in town calls me by my old name. I’m someone else briefly. Then I come back to the real world, and I can be myself again.
“So that’s my story. A bad name, mostly left behind. I didn’t expect anyone else from home to be…well, out of there. Everyone stays. It’s just how the town is.
“I’m happy not to be Jedidiah. It’s nice to see you, Stanton, but while we’re out here, I’m Nick. Please, don’t call me anything else.”