Whenever I’m introduced, people can’t help but wonder, “Is Flash her real name?” YES! Flash is short for Susan. Same number of letters (So my numerology is not messed up), but only one syllable, so I can come quicker when called. It’s not an affectation. It’s no secret that at birth, I was named Susan. A perfectly good, mid-century, American name. In fact, when I moved to New York City a few years ago, my agent suggested I go back to using Susan. “Susan is more serious. It might help your work be taken more seriously.” Yeah, right…but it’d be really weird to use a name nobody called me. Besides I’ve already cleared it with the authorities.
I went back to Delaware and asked my parents if they’d be offended if I dumped the name they so lovingly gave me and used Flash instead. And my Dad said, “If we would have known you were going to turn out the way you turned out, we would’ve named you Flash.” And Mom said, “When anyone sneers, ‘Did your mother name you Flash?’ you just tell them I gave you the spirit that earned the name, and that’s good enough for me.”
So it’s all settled. It’s official. I’m Flash Rosenberg on the credit card.
But another part of me is Eric. I mean, if I had been a boy, my name would have been Eric. Do you know your opposite sex name? Well, you can imagine my glee at finding a bowling ball named Eric at a flea market. I took that ball right home and now my anima feels reunited with my animus.
But I certainly don’t care about who I was in a former life. Eric interests me as the life I almost lived. But why all the fuss about Past Lives? Why waste time trying to figure out if I was Nefertiti…or Cleopatra? I plan to use all my time living this life with so much passion and wild good deeds that someone in the future will wish she was Flash Rosenberg in her former life.
This text and cartoon are from Flash Rosenberg’s humorous slide-performance Camping in the Bewilderness: Adventures of a Romantic Scientist. Flash combines original cartoons, photographs and scientific logic in a monologue exploring the urban “Bewilderness.” More daunting than any regular ole’ wilderness, the Bewilderness refers to the chaotically absurd and emotionally complex territory of city life. Using the slide projector as her partner, Rosenberg creates a unique “live-storyboard” form of cartoon theater. For bookings contact Jeannine Frank at FRANK ENTERTAINMENT (310) 476-6735, firstname.lastname@example.org. For poetic discussion about the work, call (212) 643-0828.