My name is Will Smith and I’m a Bristol student
Yes. I know.
It’s fair to say you meet a dizzying amount of new people during Freshers’ and that means a lot of new names to remember.
For most people the daily introductions, which usually happen two or three pints into the evening, are a pointless affair. You instantly forget their names and then comes the embarrassing ‘Sorry mate what was your name again?’ an hour or even a few minutes later.
For me, things have gone differently. I have been robbed of a normal, unremarkable name by my parents who made my namesake the Hollywood megastar; the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, the leading star of Men in Black, Bad Boys and I am Legend to name a few.
On arrival at Halls I handed in my key release form and one of the senior residents asked my name. I replied, bracing myself for yet another “No way!”, “Like the actor”, or my personal favourite “… but, you’re not black”.
He gave an altogether more chilling response. After a nearby colleague of his laughed and made a comment he said “You’re going to get that so much this week”. How right he was.
It has been interesting to notice the routine response given by people when I introduce myself. I begin with a tentative “Yeah, you all right? I’m Will Smith”. For one split second they smile and shake my hand normally, having not yet processed my name.
Then their smiles drop,their mouths open and their eyebrows raise. They take in a sharp breath and giggle “Ha, no way! Like the actor!?”. Repeat ad nauseam.
Another common reaction is outright disbelief. People frown at me as if to say “are you serious”. At this point I usually whip out my phone to show them my Facebook as proof. For one guy at Analog last Tuesday even this wasn’t enough, and I had to produce my student card and Driving Licence before he accepted it was in fact my real name.
In my Halls bar an inebriated student insisted his name was Jaden and was determined to say “You’re my dad” every ten seconds for the remainder of the evening; another original joke which I’ve never heard before.
I felt nervous ordering Domino’s and signing up for societies; what if they see my name and think I’m taking the piss? Finally I have been asked to recite the rap in the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme tune more times and by more people this week than I care to mention and have taken it upon myself to memorise the full, extended version with verses not played on the show.
It’s gonna be a long year.