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.
I'm going to do something today I have never done in this lifetime. I'm going to out myself.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
22 years – and they said it wouldn’t last
I was a high school senior when I first entered the world of newspapers.
I found my way to the The Dallas Times Herald after graduation, when a number of kids I went to school with were working part-time at the paper.
It was summer, and I needed a job. I first applied for what was referred to as the night crew.
Roadblocks happen - find a way to power through them
You ever had writer’s block? Everyone gets it once in a while, especially journalists.
Charles Bukowski once said, “Writing about a writer's block is better than not writing at all.”
People always ask “how do you come up with your ideas?” Those are easy when it comes to writing sports, finding the right way to make it intriguing at the start is when it can get interesting.
The events of 2014 have set a brisk pace
This will be my last column before the year 2014 reaches its midway point, and I’ve got to say it’s been a challenge to keep up with everything going on in the county.
It always is, of course. Henderson County has almost 80,000 people, two major lakes, and if I counted right, 18 incorporated cities and town. Athens, is a small city, but three major highways cut through it. It’s the seat of county government and the site of three district courts.
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