16 November 2007

Captain Masterpants

To all those who don't know the story:

I was born Christopher Michael Bond. Well, technically speaking, I was just born. Soon after my birth, however, my parents named me Christopher Michael Bond.

Within the last few years, genealogical research revealed an interesting fact: My great-grandfather lived the first twenty-something years of his life as Hiriberto Romero. He lived in Las Vegas, New Mexico (a dusty little town that I had the pleasure of visiting last year) among many other Romeros (the Romeros seem to have been something of the town's founders). Interestingly, at the time of his birth, New Mexico was still only a US territory. He was, therefore born an American citizen, but lived in what I imagine must have been an extremely Mexican environment.

At some point, for reasons which are hazy and convoluted, at least at this remove from the event, Hiriberto Romero became Herbert Bond. I don't know if this was a "legal" change or not, nor if this change was prompted by some sort of illicit activity or desire to hide his identity, or what....

The story that I have been told is that Romero's friend Lloyd White found jobs for both of them in Mexico City. Apparently, it was at this time that Romero changed his name to Bond. While his actions were seemingly quite backwards, they do (I think) have a certain logic to them -- Here's my best guess:

The company was (I believe) an American company, and probably reserved their best jobs for Americans, preferring to keep Mexicans in positions of labor, blue collar stuff, etc. Hiriberto, though technically an American (and fluent in English), probably felt that his name would be a mark against him with the company, so he changed it.

That's my guess, though he could also have been a fugitive of some sort. Like I say, the story is a bit hazy. Or, perhaps he just grew bored of being Hiriberto Romero and decided to change his name.

So--that's where the "Romero" in "Christopher Pancho Romero Bond" comes from.

What about "Pancho"? Where does that come from?

The answer is simple--Pancho doesn't come from anywhere. It has no connection to my specific history, I just like the name, and at the urging of a friend, chose to re-baptize myself with it upon my arrival in Asheville. And so, for the first two or three days after moving here, I introduced myself as Pancho to all those that I met. . .

And then I felt stupid, and so I stopped doing so, though by that time it was too late. My friend refused to stop calling me Pancho, and tons of people knew me as Pancho already, so the name stuck. I now love the name. It is who I am, it fits me, and it's how I usually think of myself these days.

So there it is -- the reason for the crazy (and long) name. But here's the thing -- The other night at Bobo, a local bar and gallery, the bartender Cliff greeted me in the following fashion, "Captain Masterpants! How are you?"

I heard the name and it struck me as pure genius. Captain Masterpants. It is a amazing! It is a sobriquet of the gods, and I'm not sure that I want to let a name, an opportunity, a chance like this slip between my fingers. And so, from now on, from this day forth, I am no longer Christopher Pancho Romero Bond.

I am now Christopher Pancho Romero Bond, aka Captain Masterpants.

And you better not forget it.

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