Just Call Me Skip
Long-time friends will notice I have a different handle on Facebook: Norman Skip Sheffield.
The reason for that awkward nomenclature is that the name Skip Sheffield was already taken- by me.
When Boca Raton News closed so suddenly on Aug. 21, 2009, the e-mail access to all employees being dismissed was disabled.
As I was one of that unlucky lot I was cut off from everything, including my considerable e-mail address book.
After many failed attempts (I'm still quite a Luddite re the Internet) I had finally joined Facebook under my Bocanews.com address under the name Skip Sheffield.
Theoretically Boca News owned everything I've written in their employ, including my name.
I suppose there could have been a way around that conundrum, but I am impatient and practical. I just joined again on my own e-mail address under a slightly different name.
My formal name is Norman L. Sheffield, Jr. My mother started called me Skippy when I was just an infant to differentiate me from my dad. When I reached my teens I followed Rick Nelson's lead and shorted my name to the more manly Skip.
Norman Sheffield died of cancer Feb. 18, 1997. I could have said goodbye to Skip, but my difficult father was nothing if not unique. No, I could never be Norman Sheffield, may he rest in peace.
In recent years I have been doing more international travel. Of course one must travel with a passport, and the name you register your plane tickets under had better match with the one on your passport.
Previously it was only cops, banks or telemarketers who addressed me as Norman. Now I was getting used to it.
I have always been fond of nicknames and aliases. I dreamed up the character Crash Crisby, a more daring, adventurous version of myself, when I was around 9. At age 18 I was working as a busboy at a country club in Columbus, Ohio when I found an unused nametag on the floor. It read "Hello, My name is Vernon Moder."
"C'est moi!" I realized. Vernon is my nerdier, pseudo-intellectual side.
My daughters carry on the family tradition. The two older ones, Mary and Laura, act out their fantasies in a musical group called Zombies! Organize! You'll find all three of my daughters including youngest Anna on Facebook, plus an alias or two.
I say bravo. Real life can be such a drag. A little fantasy makes it all bearable.
So you can Just Call Me Skip