24 years ago, when I was pursuing a concert career in New York, I was not at all happy with my given name. I wanted a moniker that breathed afflatus, a name that was more unique than derivatives of Joseph. Honestly, do you see me as a Joe, Jo Jo, Joselito, God forbid, Joey?
It happened one birthday---well, 1 April 1989 to be exact---that my friend Michael and his wife hosted a party at their home in the Hamptons. There were several of us gathered together in festive conviviality, eating lobster, a frutti de mare with all the trimmings, emptying many bottles of great wine representing several varietals. When it came time for the cake, Michael did a ceremonious presentation with his inimitable gallantry, managing to keep all 33 candles lit and lambent with expectation. Imagine my surprise as the multi-tiered confection was set down before me fondant-embossed with a stranger's name in lieu of my own: Jost Van Dyke.
My first reaction was "who's undisclosed birthday are we celebrating, as well; and, how dare they steal my thunder!"
I knew Michael was an avid sailor. What I didn't know was that one of his favorite sailing excursions was sailing around Tortola then cross over to the neighboring island of Jost Van Dyke. It was on his most recent trip there, while walking along the beach, he found himself muttering repeatedly, "Jost Van Dyke, Joseph Dykes, Jost Van Dyke, Joseph Dykes..." Voila!
Michael announced to me and our fellow guests, in an impromptu rite of christening, that I should adopt Jost Van Dyke as my new name, whereby assuaging all future displeasure being referred to as plain Joe. The name resonated immediately. Thus, for the remainder of the evening, leading up to the present moment while typing this post, I have delightfully become "Jost".