Sunday, December 04, 2005

What's in a Name?

I used to have fun that I had an original nickname. At least among the circle of people I knew. People who had my name had "Joey," "Joe," "Jojo" or even "Pepe" but few actually had "Otep." It is part of our family apocrypha that I was the one who invented my nickname, because when I was a toddler I couldn't pronounce my own name. Or so the story went.

It quickly lost originality because one of my cousins nicknamed one of her sons Otep too. Ah, nothing beats the original, I say.

In grade school, I hated the sound of my nickname so much that I decided to go with "Joseph" full-time even though most of my classmates called me "Angelo." On the one hand, my 10-year old mind could only process that using "Joseph" would save me from being teased with a "cutesy-baby" kind of nickname (mix that with being a nerd, and you'll understand why). On the other, my name patches on my uniform had "J. Angelo" and surely, calling someone two names is like giving him a rapper nickname though rap wasn't the in thing then.

High school came and like some teenagers I got caught up in a wave of nationalist fever. "Joseph" sounded colonial, American, and worst of all, I gain nothing special from it.

Also, some misinformed folks (not their fault, really) started calling me "Mark Joseph" after that character actor who made a small splash in Philippine cinema after graduating from X-rated movies. Ah, those were the days. My personal favorite though was being called "Tam Babauta" after another obscure skin-flick actor. The catch there was, "Tam" is short for "Hippopo-TAM-us."

So, by my junior year in high school I had reverted to being "Otep." There you would see who and when I met my friends. The ones who know me the longest or the best (my family and closest friends) have their secret name for me (I'll let you know if you try hard enough). The ones who call me "Otep" vary from their vintage, whether late high-school, college, or during my volunteer days. The ones who call me "Joseph" are the ones who have been with me in school the longest. Most of them are not comfortable calling me "Otep" but repetition does build a habit.

Of course my professional alias has always been "Joseph" though folks here in KSA call me "Jo" (good enough, but at times it still makes me cringe), but at other times I was also called "Jell-O." One boss called me "Satan," but that's a story for another day.

Then there's this heavy-metal lesbian and her eponymous band who share my nickname.

I heard only two tracks from Otep's "Sevas Tra" and the rocking is good. There is Otep Shamaya, the vocalist, Scotty CH on guitar, Doug Pellerin bangs the drums, and bassist eViL j. Great rock names. Please note though that Otep is an anagram of "poet," and that's how she arrived at her nickname. Funny thing though, I did have illusions of being a poet once.

Still, death metal is death metal. Too much aggression, noise, heart-thumpers. Such adrenaline may be great for an occasional high but you'd end up deaf listening to that stuff. I haven't heard anything from "House of Secrets" which was released in 2003, but I look forward to it (NOT!).

The band itself of course is into self-promotion, and one good thing for them is that they remain on edge with their music, something which deserts good musicians when they achieve fame, such as the Black Eyed Peas or Evanescence. Fame can kill perspective. Well, I can always go back to Slayer or Korn, two of Otep's influences.

A Google search yields "Overseas Territories Environment Programme" or "Ongoing Training and Evaluation Program." Then there's Omnium Technique D'Etude Et De Precontainte, which is a company specializing in pre-cast concrete for the construction industry.

And back to full circle, as the Otep of here and now is working with a company that is into all the construction-related trades. Cool.

So what's in a name? More than just a word. More than just the letters. There is history waiting to be told.

(I had wanted to post this on my Friendster blog --- more personal --- but the darned thing just has so many glitches! *&%##$%! So now here it lands.)

No comments: