March 21, 2006

Oh, Just Call Me Darling

As you may have noticed, my book is being published under the name "Frank Portman," which is my actual real name. There was some discussion over whether to use the more familiar "Dr. Frank" on the book cover, but the thinking was that people outside of my bizarre little world might be confused by it: "who is this guy?" we imagined them saying. "Some kind of weird doctor or something?" And maybe a few of them might have added something like, "well, I'll tell you this: there's no way in hell I'm buying a book by a weird doctor like that. I have my standards." It didn't seem worth the risk in the end.

Still, most people know me as "Dr. Frank," including me. I mean, I have used Dr. Frank way more than Frank Portman in my so-called adult life. I see the name "Frank Portman" and I have to remind myself: dude, that's you. Whereas anytime I hear anyone say "doctor" or "doc" I'll turn suddenly and say something like "hey, over here!" (Or I'll duck behind a hedge or into a closet, depending on my mood and who's saying it, and whether or not there happens to be a hedge or a closet handy.) Visiting a hospital can be kind of exhausting.

Why I have shied away from my real name with such determination is a matter for the psychologists, I guess. I am named after my father, who was named after his father, who was also named after his father. The name of the first in that train of fathers was actually Franz Portmann, but he Anglicized it during World War I, like many immigrants with German surnames. (He was Swiss-German, by the way.) Lots of things would have been different in this world of ours if the United States had never entered World War I, among them the fact that my actual real name would have probably ended up being Franz Portmann IV. Which would have looked pretty impressive on a book jacket, now that I think about it.

Did I feel that my name had been spread a little thin by the time I came by it, that it wasn't truly mine? I'm nowhere near in touch with my feelings enough to be able answer that one. But I have always avoided it when I could, opting for the goofier, less sensible stage name in even the most inappropriate situations. (And lying about it when asked: for awhile there I engaged in a campaign of disinformation, giving out fake last names when I was asked in interviews, hoping to deflect attention from the real one: O'Hara, Rodriguez, Lebechevsky, Lego, Bucket, Window, Cup, Shoelace - you name it, I've claimed it as a surname. Sorry about that.) If I have the family folklore right, my parents originally named me Christian in a tentative stab at defiance of the family tradition; then changed me back to Frank when they chickened out. So here I am.

This is a roundabout way of mentioning my website, which I haven't really told too many people about till now: Because, you know, in for a penny, in for a pound. I'll have to get used to it some time.

There's not a whole lot of content yet (and if you can think of anything that would be cool to put up there let me know.) At this point, the most interesting bit is on the index page after the "enter" page: if you click the appropriate link, you'll get a pop-up window with a random entry from the King Dork glossary. (This is an appendix that defines terms used in the book in the "voice" of Tom Henderson the narrator.) A lot of them are pretty funny, or so I have been told.

Posted by Dr. Frank at March 21, 2006 02:20 AM | TrackBack

Great website. What would be cool would be some sort of biography or something explaning who9 exactly you are and what you have accomplished over the years.

by the way, how often do people stop you on the street or yell out "oh shit! its Dr. Frank!"?

Posted by: Nick G. at March 21, 2006 04:25 AM

frank bucket, pronounced bouquet?

Posted by: kendra at March 21, 2006 04:56 AM

Frank is a much better name than Christian.

I'm also thrilled by the Keeping Up Appearances theme of Kendra's comment. Poor Richard.

Posted by: Manda at March 21, 2006 05:55 AM

Dr Frank isn't that weird of an authors name. What about Dr Seuss eh?

Posted by: Gavin at March 21, 2006 08:42 AM

Just keep clutching that guitar and don't let go of it!

Posted by: sara at March 21, 2006 09:59 AM

for some reason I thought you were from england? Still no explanation for the Ac Milan jersey though....

Posted by: MArk at March 21, 2006 01:57 PM

Jimmy Buffet is for 50 somethings trying to relive their 40s.

Posted by: josh at March 21, 2006 03:09 PM

Great website so far! I also think it's a good idea to include a bio of yourself, as it's pretty impressive. Come on, you know it is!

I also imagine it could cast the book in a slightly different light for those who aren't already familiar with your work. And, of course, that seems like a good thing to me.

Imagine if you were Dr. Christian. Now that would be strange.

Posted by: Jessica at March 21, 2006 03:26 PM

Well, to be fair there IS some weird doctor named Dr. Frank. There used to be a weird sex-doctor named Dr. Frank whose address was (is now a spam site) and I had always assumed that's why this website has doctor spelled doktor.

Either way, it's probably best to have used Portman so as not to be confused with Dr. Frank Boehm or the weird-sex guy.

Posted by: Zaphod at March 21, 2006 05:10 PM

it's so funny that you pointed that out because until i saw the cover of your book, i never stopped to wonder what your "real" last name is. it kind of made me giggle that after listening to mtx for so long, it just never occurred to me that you could be anyone other than dr. frank.

Posted by: arifa at March 21, 2006 05:12 PM

If you don't mind a couple quick suggestions. How about a sample song from each album instead of just the last two? Also, how about some info on some of your lesser known projects like the Bomb Bassetts?

Posted by: Zaphod at March 21, 2006 05:12 PM

the bomb bassets? people still listen to them? (as president of non-existent dallas denery appreciation society, i'm totally within my rights to make such a horrible joke.)

Posted by: kendra at March 21, 2006 06:17 PM

Hey, how about an archive of all your found stuff? I could dig through that for hours.

Posted by: dan at March 21, 2006 07:09 PM

kendra, Dallas does too exist.

Posted by: Wesley at March 22, 2006 01:53 PM

wesley, i know because i'm reading his book. his appreciation society, however, does not, though it should.

Posted by: kendra at March 22, 2006 03:44 PM