Hello everyone. I have some shocking news to announce about our good friend Blitz. We all know Blitz: there’s the distinctive way that he dresses like a “cool” professor from the ‘90s, and his ability to remember everybody’s half birthday despite never remembering their actual birthday. He is our friend — we feel like we know everything about him, right?
But yesterday, I learned something about Blitz that none of us could have imagined.
I was sitting at the Pit, dreaming about a world where the salad bar offers more than two fruits at any given time, when it happened. A passerby noticed my shirt — a gray hoodie with a meme on it— and tapped me on the shoulder.
“Your shirt,” she said, “You must be in the American Society of Speedwalking! Do you know Henry?”
That took me aback. I know four people named Henry. It’s a common name for white people who want to stand out from the Steves, Mikes, and Matts. But none of the Henry’s I know are in ASSW. “I’m sorry,” I said, “But I don’t know Henry.”
“Of course you do!” she said, still smiling, blissfully unaware that she was about to unload an information bomb on me that would shake the very foundations of my personhood. “He’s the president!”
The president of ASSW is our good friend Blitz … Henry Blitz.
I tried to cover up my confusion. “Oh, you mean Blitz.”
I can’t remember the rest of the conversation; maybe my brain, desperate for shelter, went into a fugue state. My last shred of pride is the only reason I didn’t actually try to run away. But it really wasn’t important. The important news is that our good friend Blitz — Blitz! Our Blitz … has a first name.
My mental image of Blitz does not include the name Henry, and my brain is not ready to accept that fact. He introduces himself as Blitz and tells the baristas at Starbucks to call him Blitz. He doesn’t yell “Henry Time Baby!” when he gets drunk and wrestles with the other members of ASSW — he yells “Blitz Time Baby!” As far as I know, he’s even gotten his name changed on Blackboard. I attempted to call him Henry to myself and found that I physically couldn’t get the words out.
At this point, you are probably thinking “Of course Blitz has a first name. Everyone does!” But did you know what it was before you started reading this? Do you know mine? It’s not what it says at the top of this article. And what is yours? Do your friends actually call you that? Can you remember your mother’s name, or how her voice sounds, or what she looks like? Which facets of your memory are actually based on fact and which are based on a reality that you have constructed?
Blitz (or, as I now know is your true name, Henry), what is the truth?