Life of Hardin in Paraguay

Laugh as you travel through life with Josh Hardin.

Location: Spring Hill, TN, United States

Josh Hardin began writing in high school and published his first novel when he was twenty-two. He won an EPPIE award for his mystery novel "The Pride of Peacock." His non-fiction work includes "The Prayer of Faith", a book aimed at making personal prayers both powerful and effective. He has traveled widely and taught a summer philosophy course at the International University in Vienna. Hardin grew up in Tennessee and moved to Paraguay in 2006. He moved back to Tennessee in 2008.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Life of Hardin V. III, No. 3

"Alias Hardin and Hardin"

I have always wanted an alias. Long before the show came out, I wanted to be Also Known As _____ and fill in the blank with any moniker that might strike fear into hearts with only its slightest mention. With an Also Known As to your credit, the common men could spit calumnies at Lucias "Tombstone" Black while your buddies lauded the praises of kind-hearted Hernando Kroger, neither set knowing that both were one in the same person. There are benefits and attractions to being Also Known As which have appealed to me for quite some time. I could be mild-mannered Josh Hardin by day and the mysterious and daring Wizard of Speed and Time by night. I could rob banks in Australia as "The Dingo Kid" and donate money to the Green Party as playboy philanthropist Raoul de Guapo. You see the possibilities.

Usually a person doesn't get an Also Known As unless they skirt the outside line of the law, either on this side or that. Most AKA's are invented out of the necessity of their owner to keep at least one name free of suspicion or wanted posters. However, here in Paraguay, you sometimes get an AKA so you can BE legal.

You can see what all this is leading up to. I now have an alias. I am Also Known As. I can roam the country of Paraguay and pillage under my assumed name and still live a life of freedom under my real name. I can terrorize with one name and curse the same name over morning coffee. The populace and policias will chase a will-o'-the-wisp and never suspect that the culprit lives happily unknown amongst them as an expatriate American. (I've always wanted to be an expatriate, too, but that's another story.)

I became an Also Known As simply by applying for a permanent visa. One of my papers had a different version of my name. It happened to be my police record. The man at the ministerio raised a brow when he read it. "Is this you? This isn't your name."

"But it is my name. That's me."

His eyes narrowed. He wondered if I was already an Also Known As. Had I killed some poor sap with a clean record, stolen it, and taken his name as my own? Did I have a mattress full of conned cash in a foreign land? How many wives did I have? Did I live in Marakesh during the week and thieve priceless painting in France on weekends? Did I sand my fingertips? Did I know how to pilot a helicopter? Had I tunneled under a stone wall one morning and tangoed with the Romanian Ambassador's daughter the same night? What exactly did I want in his country? All of this and more flashed through his mind. He needed proof that I was the same person as myself. So I went to the U.S. Consulate for proof. The man there looked at me. "But this isn't the same name," he said.

"But it's still me. That's my name. I am myself."

"And you've never had your name changed?"

I fought the urge to say, "Not legally."

So I took back a statement on paper with the U.S. Consulate letterhead and officially signed and stamped that said I am the same person as myself. That satisfied the government of Paraguay. They let me in. I am free to live any life I want. A life of crime; a life of superheroism; a life of gambling and theft and of extravagant charity; a life of selflessness and egoism; a life of unbridled terror and boredeom; all so long as I keep one name clean, so long as they never figure out that these two people are really one, that Joshua Edward Hardin is "Also Known As" Josh.