Earlier today, my webmaster, Ed Baran told me that he is often asked what my “real name” is. Matter of factomundo, he is usually asked, “Is Matt Furey really his real name?”
Tis a good question, eh?
Reminds me of my days when I began as a personal trainer, back in 1987, in Soquel, California. The parents of the wrestlers I trained often asked me if my so-called name was my business name or my real name.
Twas always stunned to hear such ramblings as I never gave my name a second thought, save for the legendary Dan Gable, telling me, when I signed a letter of intent to wrestle for him at the University of Iowa, that I had the best name for a wrestler you could find. Then again, now that me thinks about it, Dan Kennedy, upon first meeting in 2001, told me that my name was “comic book character perfect.”
Okay, so what is my real name … really?
The first answer that comes to mind is “none of your business.”
The second, which is much closer to the truth, is that I was born an Irish-Catholic child, with the name Matthew John – and the surname, Furey.
I was the sixth of seven children – the fifth of six boys (and yes, I got my ass kicked daily for at least 10 of my first 18 years; herewith I credit the whoopings to making me into a determined human being – and if you’re wondering why I use ‘herewith’ the answer is due to the fact that my father was a lawyer).
What you don’t know is that my family’s REAL surname is not Furey. It is … O’Furey. Legend – or some other tale – has it that my grandfather, Frank O’Furey, got tired of walking into bars and being greeted with signs that read, “No Dogs or Irish Allowed.”
So he decided, as many Irish did, to delete the ‘O’ or the ‘Mc’ from the name. Incidentally, in case you don’t already know this, the ‘O’ stands for “son of” – and in MY case, you can fill in whatever you’d like after ‘son of …”
Back in 1991, when I decided I was going to begin taking and making steps toward becoming what the rest of the world calls a “writer” or “author” – strange words, indeed, are they not? – I decided to put the “O” back into Furey. And since that date I have always signed my name, ‘Matt O’Furey.” Figured it was good for my confidence, esp. because my grandfather was the publisher and editor of a newspaper BEFORE he lost the ‘O.’ In addition to that, the whole idea of being afraid of being known as Irish no longer appealed to me (somewhat archaic, not?) – so yes, I put the ‘O’ back on. Today I go by both names, Matt Furey and Matt O’Furey.
Why not Matthew, you ask? Good dumb question.
I don’t know why – but from the time I was a young lad, I didn’t like being called “Matthew.” Something about it seemed arrogant and pompous – and I can do that number plenty well without the extra ‘hew.” And so today, I simply go by Matt Furey. Unless, of course, you’re at a seminar and you ask me to sign your book. In that case, if it’s possible to read my writing, you’ll see an ‘O’ inserted into the middle of things.
Someone once aksed me what the ‘O’ stood for.
I could only recite the vocabulary words my father taught me, at age 8, when he said to me, “You’re obstinate, you’re obstreperous, you’re obtuse, you’re obnoxious and you’re oblivious to what I’m saying.”
Gotta love a father who gives you a lesson like that, right? I mean, how many dads could string together that many words with an ‘ob’ prefix when they needed to make a point?
Funny guy, my father – he taught me more than I’ll ever know.