The True Story Of Chad T. Hines


I don’t like my name. I never have. When I was 13 I told my parents I wanted to change it to something “cool”. There were no other Lances in my life. I was tired of hearing Lance Crackers, Lance has ants in his pants (accurate but annoying to withstand), Lance Romance (at 13 it couldn’t have been further from the truth), and Lancey schmancey (popular with girls who didn’t find Lance Romance to be remotely possible). I played sports and occassionally hung out with a kid named Bo. The weird thing was, his actual name was Howard Leroy but his nickname that his parents gave him was Bo. So my indignation was two-fold. This kid had a great nickname his parents dropped on him! My last name is also unusual but considerably plain. Don’t take this as an insult to my family or their name. I’m proud of my heritage but our name(s) just don’t zing, boom, pow, or pizazz anyone’s tongue or marquee.

When I went to college I was approached by my friends to get a fake ID. I was 18 but looked 14. I had issues getting booze and entry into bars. When my buddies told me that if all five of us went in together, the criminal mastermind would reduce to price from 20 dollars per card to 15 dollars, I said yes.  I was saving money and I could be someone else. It was the first time in my life I used the ridiculous phrase “win-win”.  I punched myself in the face immediately after.

I attended the University of Alabama. Behind a dormitory was a printing shop, the name of which escapes me, 23 years later. We counted out our cash and realized we were short by a few dollars. I volunteered to go fifth, which meant I had a few minutes to run down the street to write  a check for extra money. The entire time I thought about what I was going to pick as my name. I was an aspiring writer. I imagined bylines and book jackets with my name on them and none  looked good with the name my parents bestowed. As the woman behind the counter cashed my check, I decided on my new name; Silas Bane. Yeah, I know, sounds masculine and unforgettable, right? I was 18, work with me.

I walked into the back of the seedy set up. My four friends had their new IDs. All of them possessed awesome pseudonyms. One of my friends’ ID showed Richard Razor. I punched him too. I stood in front of the camera, the jerk took my picture. Before I had a chance to say anything, the card was in hand, it read Chad T. Hines. Are you kidding me? I threw the card down and demanded he make another one. Then I realized this guy was a borderline gangster and my friends toted me out of the place with my crappy fake identification in the back pocket of my stone washed jeans.

A few weeks later I sat in my English class and started tearing out the pages of my notebook where I had written Silas Bane and other names I daydreamed. Once, an instructor had us write something using a pen name. I scribbled Chad T. Hines at the top of the page and took my B+ with pride. Chad bought beer. Chad talked to a few pretty girls in bars. Chad had his own college radio show. Finally, in 1992, after being 21 for a full year and not needing the use of Chad’s name, I quit using Chad T. Hines.

Have you ever used a pen name? If you could change your name, what would it be? Silas Bane and Chad T. Hines are taken. Try again, chumps.

******blogger’s note******* This is my response to the writing challenge offered by Studio Thirty Plus aka http://www.studiothirtyplus.com/ . The prompt was “Write About Something You Quit”.

Today’s song is dumb but fun. I liked The Tings Tings first record. Yet this song is kind of silly. It fits the story. Plus, some of you will get happy to it. Here’s the Ting Tings’ That’s Not My Name:

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23 responses to “The True Story Of Chad T. Hines

  1. When I was a kid, like maybe 5 or so, I hated my name. I wanted to change it to Mary. I thought that was a pretty name. I still like the name. But that would have been really stupid to do since my last name at the time was Cherry. Then I would have been Mary Cherry. Which would have been FABULOUS around the time I was 15 and people starting learning the slang for Cherry..that was fun enough to live through by itself.

    Chad T. Hines is a great pen-name. I’m totally calling you Silas from now on though

  2. I had the benefit of ACTUALLY changing my name when I got married. My maiden name was…ok. But it was boring. Very plain and pretty common. My new name is still pretty common, but it has some heritage to it. And it’s different from what I’d grown used to after 24 years.

  3. Great background story!
    I hate, HATE my last name, and it has everything to do with the people associated with it, which is neither here nor there. If I could change my last name easily, I would do it in a heartbeat. Maybe just go by “Abby,” or “the artist formally known as Abby.” Nah, too much work.

    But growing up we always had fake names, which is weird considering I kind of liked mine (minus Crabby Abby or Gabby Abby, although both are applicable quite often.) I think it’s slipping into that alternative persona and escaping the label we were given. With that said, I don’t have a pen name…perhaps I need to create one (different than my fake bar name, of course.)

  4. I was ‘Rachelle” for a minute, long story behind that but it was to protect the not so innocent and therefore very fun. Other than that, I was lucky to upgrade my maiden name, which had a lot of lattitude for not so flattering nicknames, to my married name which I have kept longer than I kept the hubs. I like it. It fits me. And it’s a huge pain in the ass to change a name once, let alone multiple times. I was also Krista for a time according to the ID I used when I was underage. It was someone else’s ID but it really looked just like me and worked like a charm. I still have the info memorized and that was a LONG time ago. Fun!

  5. When I was a kid I wanted a nickname besides “Louie, Louie, went kerplooey”. Or Knucklehead, which is what my Dad called me. I wanted to be called “Corky”. I dunno. I thought it was cool.

    These days, I don’t have a knickname – except my wife calls me “Bub”. which I like. It has a nice comfortable feel to it.

    I call her “Booger”.

  6. For some reason this made me think of Chris Gaines… Garth Brooks’ a.k.a. Please tell me you never wore a soul patch.

    Back in the day, Tennessee’s legal drinking age was 18, when it changed to 21, I was already ‘grandfathered’ in. I was Nationwide twice.

    I’ve never used an alias, but with my unusual first name, maybe I should have.

  7. I hated my name, Dawn. So I decided to go by my middle name of Michele. Then my father remarried and had a new daughter named Michelle so I was stuck with Dawn. I cursed both my parents for their crappy naming skills, and vowed to get a great nickname. I ended up with Dawnie, and it stuck. I kinda like it now so the curse can be lifted.

  8. I went to school with a kid named Silas. He was a bully. Which is why I can’t see you as a Silas. You’re not a bully…

    My pen name Maasiyat Jaan. It means sinful disobedient soul. Seems a perfect fit.

  9. I was just thinking the other day that if I ever get a damn book published, I should submit it under the name karen somethingorother. I have no problem with my name, but I like the sarcasm of the psuedonym. The only thing I’d like to change is the first name be spelled with a lowercase k . I don’t know why. It’s purely esthetics. I think. Or I’m ridiculous. Whatever.

    What a good story that was. Lance romance. Who’da thunk it?

  10. I always wanted to be Samantha. I grew into my name, and now I’ll only change it to make my novels easier to spot on the shelves.

    And I’m not telling that pen-name just yet.

  11. Phoenix Blade. That was my superhero name. Or Wolfgang Struts. I don’t know why… always thought they were cool.

    Like the blog. Found you through Chopper Papa

  12. In high school my friends used to call me Bretta. Some of them still do, I even get mail addressed to Bretta. I’m 36, so I think it’s safe to say the name stuck:)

  13. I have always loved my maiden name, however my first name sucks. I have always wanted my name to be Shane. Since I couldnt have that one, I gave it to goose. And just so that you know, I love sharing your last name. I just glad its not Bane or Hines.

  14. Great story. Since my last name is from a marriage that ended a lifetime ago, I guess I’m not all that concerned with names. Although I do keep making variations on my first name, which I also never liked. My best friend and I use Mona and Sylvia for certain escapades, and we never know which one of us is Mona or Syl. That’s usually when life gets interesting.

    • hmmm….i think you should adopt the sylvia moniker because there’s a Mona in my novel and you’re too nice to share it with her manipulative character.

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