Well, yes it is. It’s on my driver’s license and Social Security card, but it’s not on my birth certificate from 1951. I was named Clarence after my maternal grandfather, Clarence Twitty, and my middle name was Robert after my father, Robert William Englebert. But nobody called me either of those two names because they belonged to other people. When my parents brought me home from the hospital, they introduced me to my two brothers as “Little Bitty Bob” and thereafter I was “Bitty Bob” or just plain “Bitty.” I was Bitty all the way through the fourth grade, but when I transferred to a larger school I felt that I should have a more official name. By that time my grandfather had passed away, so it seemed okay to take that name—but I never identified with it. It always seemed like my grandfather’s name, and my family still called me Bitty.
In 1980 I was living in rural Tennessee, and my neighbor—a dear friend from high school—was also a lawyer. He mentioned that in Tennessee it only cost $5 to change your first name. He did the paperwork for free, so it really did only cost $5 for me to get Clear for a first name. I liked Clear because it kept a little bit of Clarence, but it felt more like me.
The main feng shui concern about first names is that they be spelled as ordinarily as possible—otherwise some chi energy is going to miss you. If a person’s first name is spelled oddly, it’s a bit like having the front door of the house on the back side.
It’s probably a good thing that I changed from Clarence; otherwise people might confuse me with my colleague Clarence Lau, the number-one Compass School feng shui consultant in Hawaii. Hawaii is the only state to have its governor’s mansion feng shui’d and Clarence Lau is the one who did it. I admire him because he’s brilliant, and I’m quite pleased that we frequently see eye-to-eye on feng shui matters. On one occasion, we were discussing Hawaii’s capitol building and we both agreed that it has tragically bad feng shui.