The Death of Wally
For many years I have been characterized by one word: Wally – the name my mother fought to put on my wrist when I was born. My father wanted me to be Walter Edward Kolodzieski IV. My mother’s one condition: I was to be called Wally. And so, for the next twenty-odd years, that’s who and what I was. When somebody would ask another about me, they’d simply say “Oh, that’s just Wally.” Everybody said I looked like a Wally (Something I Still Don’t Quite Understand) and so I have been for the past twenty-nine years. That ends today.
Wally is DEAD – gone and good ridden. I have long known that it was time to retire that part of me – my youth – and I only wish I had done it earlier. Wally represents my childish side, my playful nature. It doesn’t represent me as a man, as a father and it doesn’t represent my career.
Wally Kolodzieski … seriously, imagine that on a book cover? How could I ever expect anybody to take me seriously as a novelist with that name? Imagine, how could somebody even recommend my book to a friend? “Oh, the authors name is, uh, Wally … Kazaraki … or, Kolozeki? Eh, forget it – just pick up the new Patterson book instead.” Right there – lost sale.
I’ve long been thinking about who I am, who I want to be – why God, why oh why does my first name sound like a kid from a comic book, and my last name completely unpronounceable?
Don’t grieve, embrace the past, hold onto those moments of joy. I now give you my death – my final seconds left on earth. Anybody who has known Wally, feel free to say goodbye.
Wally Kolodzieski, struggling writer and hopeful novelist, has been pronounced Dead.
Walter Kolo – son, father, essayist and novelist – has been Born.