Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Breaking News

Opinion

June 22, 2012

Finally coming out of the closet after 68 years of living

Athens — I'm going to do something today I have never done in this lifetime. I'm going to out myself.

I've been in the closet for 68 years, and soon as I die, the secret will be out, anyway.

Besides that, it's who I am, and I've reached the point where I can no longer pretend to be someone else.

My name is not actually Art Lawler. My full name is Arthur Presley Lawler. That's right, I'm Presley, and I'm here.

Deal with it.

It feels so good to get that out in the open. Heretofore, only my closest friends and state troopers who have pulled me over to look at my driver's license, have known I  have, what I've always thought, was the world's worst middle name. I mean number uno.

There's nothing wrong with it., once you get used to it. It's kind of like the first Volkswagens. We thought they were ugly. Now we think they're cute. Trust me. In time, you'll think it's cute, too. Presley, Presley, Presley...

No, seriously. I will look you straight in the eyes and tell you to your face. My name is Presley, That's P-R-E-S-L-E-Y.

Elvis lived with it for, well , 42 years. My grandfather, JP, as most people called him, was really, John Presley Lawler, who lived a quiet life while Grandma Lucy did all the talking, and he stayed mostly in the closet with that name for 85 years. Either that, or he was hiding from Lucy.

A few close relatives sometimes called him Press, which I guess was an improvement. I never knew who they were talking about until I was almost grown. You know, 'til I was about 50?

I thought it had`a kind of preacher's kid feel to it. A small, skinny preacher's kid feel to it. My first name was hard enough to accept. Being an Arthur, and a preacher's kid, and being skinny as a rail, along with the secret I guarded with my life, pretty well sealed the deal.

 I was named to be a sissie, and to get beat up a lot in life.  Well let me tell  you, fella, I struck back. I did, I promise. And I took some severe beatings in because of it.

I don't even like the name Lawler, to be honest. It's a simple name, Law and then ler. But people to this day are always calling me Lawyer, or Lolly. My name's not Lawyer, and if it was, I'd have the good grace to be embarrassed about it.

All I ever really wanted to be was a Bill, or a Don, or David, or a Mike. You start getting into multiple syllables and you're taking some big chances with your kid's future psyches. That's why my kids were given common, safe names like Shari, Brien and Annie. Actually, those all have multiple syllables, don't they? But at least they 're oh so common.

OK, the latter's real name is Analisa, which I think is a beautiful name. But nobody calls Annie, Analisa. See, if your kids have a fall-back, shortened, or more common nickname, they can fall back on, they can remain relatively unscarred.

Art was terrible, but at least it was a huge improvement over Arthur, a name I associated with people who had skinny fingers and played the piano when they should have been outside playing football.

As God is my witness, I actually grew up thinking my parents gave me the name Presley in the middle to spite me. I showed up in the middle of World War II just 13 months after my sister was born.

Well, that'd infuriate any parent. I can understand that. But hey, they were the grownups.  I was little more than a glorified swimmer. They could have read up on all of those thick sex books and been more careful. Why take it out on me?

But no. They named me Presley. They got me. Ho, yeah. They got me. Parent  revenge, if I ever saw parent revenge.

Every time I'd complain about it, my dad would just laugh.  “Elvis Presley doesn't have any trouble with his name. It's a good name. Be proud of it.”

“Don't ever use it when company's around,” I'd tell him. More laughter. But he kept silent when the company came. I'd have never survived childhood if he hadn't.

Understand, Elvis was tall, dark and handsome, had the best singing voice any teenager had ever heard and women never got around to thinking about his sissie last name, because they were too busy screaming and crying and throwing their underwear up on stage at him.

Nobody ever did that to me.

Maybe I should have come out in junior high. I had a duck tail haircut for awhile. I had white shirts with gold sparkles and red pants and white socks and white shoes. I was a dandy.  I knew all the Elvis songs and I even dirty-bopped a time or two when I got brave enough on the dance floor. I was semi-cool, man.

People don't realize this, but names go a long way in determining what we all turn out to be. Why do you think Nixon was such a bad man when he was president and couldn't trust anybody.

His middle name was Milhouse. I'm surprised he wasn't a serial killer.

What if your first name was Engelbert and your last name was Humperdink? I'm not saying it couldn't have been worse.

I just needed a break in those days. If I wasn't going to be tall, or a great athlete, or a good student, shouldn't I have at least been given the  gift of pipes? Me 'n' the Good Lord had some whine sessions about that, I can tell you that much.

I could do just two things better than most people in junior high. I could outrun the bullies, whose talents were in their fists, not their feet. Be it coward or hero, the Lord does provide.

And I could do more sit ups than anyone in junior high. Even then, those I defeated said it shouldn't count because I didn't have anything to lift off the ground. You'd have thought I had a spring in my back.

But as of today, I no longer think like that. My grandfather, who was built like the left parenthesis sign, was a good guy, who used to tell me stories and let me go out to his workshop — the one that was always on the verge of falling down. I gladly carry on his name.

Sooooo... I AM PRESS-LEE!!!  I AM PRESS-LEE!!!  And my first name is Arthur.  You can call me  Art, or you can call me Art Presley. Or you can even call me, Arthur Presley Lawler. I just don't care. Harumph!!! I love those stinkin' names, alright, already?

What do you mean, my name has made me a snarly, dip stick?

Get over yourselves.

Art Lawler is a Staff Writer for the Athens Daily Review.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Wilson mug.JPG Rolling into something new

    She did it.
    My baby girl rolled over for the first time this past week while daddy and mommy were watching closely.
    As other major news broke across the county, watching my baby roll over for the first time was by far the biggest news of the week for me. Odd.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joe new mug.jpg Fanfare is a time to prepare for another season

    I love to see the talent our student athletes have across Henderson County. To know that each player puts in the blood, sweat and tears to play for a district championship and hopefully a state title is something special to see.
    Another great in the world of sports is a player who is retiring this season in New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.
    Jeter once said, “There may be people who have more talent than you, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do — and I believe that.”

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • kathi New  copy.jpeg The greatest country in the world has hungry children

    No child should go hungry. We are the greatest country in the world, yet we have hungry children.
    An article I recently read said that if a child in school can't afford lunch, they will be given a sandwich and water. I was told the sandwich is cheese between two pieces of bread.
    I hope everyone realizes that is what they serve in the county jail. Not that I know this from personal experience. I was told from someone who did know from experience.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase

    Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase.
    Hakuna Matata! Ain't no passing craze.
    It means no worries for the rest of your days.
    It's our problem-free philosophy.
    Hakuna Matata!
    Congratulations, if you have watched the Lion King a couple of times you now have this song stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff's mug.jpg It was a week in the depth of heat, then cooler

    Sunday and Monday of this week have been very uncomfortable.  The air conditioner at our house has been down, and the temperature outside and in the house have been way up.
    Thank God for the blessing of the cool temperatures and the rain that fell on Tuesday, then on Wednesday.  It changed things just a little bit.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Time away is necessary for everyone

    I can remember as a kid writing essays on “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” As the years pass, and we are more in-tune with the workplace, those vacations get shorter and shorter.
    Do you ever have those days  when you just need a vacation? Sometimes you just need to get away.
    Taking time off work should be fun and rejuvenating. We all need a recharge every now and then. But vacations aren't what they use to be. We rarely disconnect ourselves from our jobs.

    July 12, 2014

  • Joe new mug.jpg Student athletes: Time to wake up and get to work

    Hey student athletes, it is about time for you to wake up and get to work.
    Your summer is coming to an end, and the early morning wake up calls for practices are right around the corner.
    I am talking to the football players, volleyball players, cross country kids, band members, drill team members and cheerleaders.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Remember who you are

    Are you running so fast that you have forgotten why you started the race in the first place?
    Life moving at a blistering pace that it is tough to keep up?
    Maybe it is time to stop, take a deep look into the pool of water and remember. Remember who you are.
    On numerous occasions, I have had to do just that. Ironically, various movies have caused me to look inside.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff's mug.jpg CSUMC provided a memorable experience

    My wife Jean and I went to a very interesting, and what I consider a very unique event last Saturday night.
    I had heard that the church where we are members, Carroll Springs United Methodist Church, was having an event in which people sitting in the audience would sing their favorite hymns into a microphone.

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rich mug.jpg Independence ultimately won on battlefield

    I always enjoy celebrating Independence Day, and hearing some of the stirring words written in the Declaration of Independence.
    Thomas Jefferson wrote that our Creator has given us certain rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The way I see it, if I have life and liberty, that gives me a pretty good start on the third one.
    But as eloquent as our founding fathers were, and how moving the texts they left behind, one fact can’t be overlooked. Our independence was ultimately won and secured on the battlefield.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

Biz Marquee
AP Video
Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways