When I was four, and attending Montrose Christian Montessori School, there was a nice little core of friends I had built for myself. As the school was inevitably small, as most Montessori schools are, we had become a tightknit unstoppable team. Nothing could stand in the way of our great routines, including such great childhood past-times as playing "Divorce Court," "Earthquake," "Plane Crash," "Horror Movie," and another crowd favorite "Car Crash Smackdown." As children growing up in Los Angeles children tended to play such awful things, perhaps to purge the fear of it all.
One Day in late Fall, I remember when we had our first new student enter the classrom. "Class, I'd like to introduce you to your new classmate, ZACK....." I still remeber the shock and horror that ripped through me! ZACK!!?!?!?! Why is his name ZACK too?! Mind you he spells it with a C..H.... making that harsh CH sound, but this was simply not acceptable. Something had to be done.
That night I went home and began to devise a plan. Perhaps, I could be Zack #1 and he could be #2.... No too simple... Maybe the spelling difference is enough, No way! Maybe I can add a letter to mine to make it unique?! And thus the letter I was discovered to be my savior. Zack-i..... this was brilliant. I was ZACK-I ...... I began to write it on all my papers, eventually ditching the last name completely, and got notice from several teachers. "You realize you don't spell your name that way Zack...don't you?" "I do now....I changed it. I am now called Zack-i!" The teachers eventually stopped noticing and I kept right on with my new name and title. One day Zack left our school, soon to be relocated in the far Eastern US. The importance of Zack-i faded, but cemented as a well worn nickname. Skip, our neighbor, had made a firm pact with me to never utter Zack in my presence again, simply replacing it with my new full namesake. To this day I still hear "Zack-i" ring out from the mouths of family and friends and I kinda like it.
I was a very strange child.