In a village of California, which I prefer to leave unnamed, there lived not long ago one of those guys that still has a videocassette in his VCR, an old trumpet, and an ancient bicycle for occasional excursions. His food, mostly frozen, and more microwaved than cooked on a stove, consumed a large part of his income. The rest went for his cable subscription and a few snappy outfits–he was a fussy dresser. The age of this subject of ours was bordering on fifty. He was of a hardy constitution, spare, gaunt-featured, very much a night-owl, and fond of marathon sessions of old videogames. Some say that he was known as Donald or Donny or maybe even Donaldo Adolfo (for there is no unanimity among those who write on the subject), and from further reasonable conjecture it can be derived that his surname was Lopez, or Lopes.
What is essential to understand is that at some point this gentleman began to devote his leisure time (which was mostly all the year round) to reading books about naturism. This was all the more remarkable given that he seldom ventured out of doors and preferred, due to what he thought to be a strong sense of modesty, to leave his house, on the few occasions that he did so, completely and impeccably dressed. But to such a pitch rose his eagerness and infatuation with naturism that he sold many of his furnishings, videocassettes and videogames in order to buy naturist books and magazines to read, ordering all that he could find online.
But there were none he liked as much as those written by the famous Brooke Lee Brookleigh, since their logical lucidity and complicated conceits were as pearls in his estimation, particularly when in his reading he came upon outpourings of adulation for the natural life such as “the natural nature of naturism is to appreciate nature naturally”; or again, “social nudity is a nude society of nudists living socially in the nude.”
Over this sort of balderdash the poor guy lost his bearings, and he would lie awake at night striving to understand it and tease out its hidden meaning, though Maurice Parmelee himself could not have extracted any further meaning from it, not even had he come back to life for that express purpose. A rather solitary fellow, our gentleman did manage, nonetheless, to engage his few acquaintances in discussion of the topic of his incipient passion. Many an argument did he have with the priest of his village (a learned man, and a graduate of UC Santa Cruz) as to who had become the better nude activist, Gypsy Taub of California or Stephen Gough of Great Britain. His friend Dr. Nicholson, however, used to say that although both activists have done outstanding work, neither of them could hold a candle to Lee Baxandall, free beach activist and founder of The Naturist Society.
In short, this Mr. Lopes or Sr. Lopez became so absorbed in his naturist readings that he spent his nights from sunset to sunrise, and his days from dawn to dark, poring over them, abandoning the upkeep of his property with its large backyard, and what with little sleep and much reading his brain shriveled up and he lost his wits. His imagination was stuffed with all he read in his books and magazines about naked biking and naked hiking, naked gardening, world record skinny dips, nude orchestras, nakations, nude weddings, canuding, and all sorts of plausible whimsy. It became so firmly planted in his mind, that to him no history in the world was better substantiated than the history of naked recreation. He even commissioned extravagant prints of Lady Godiva, depicted nude on her steed in the streets of her town, and of the Golden King, El Dorado, bodypainted on his raft in the mountain lake, to hang above his mantel, venerating them as the legendary pioneers of naturism.
In a word, his sense having quite escaped him, he hit upon the strangest notion that any madman could possibly imagine: he fancied that it was right and requisite and overdue, no less for his own great renown than for the service of his fellow citizens, that he should make of himself a nudist-errant, roaming the whole wide world in his birthday suit, on his bike, in a grand quest for adventure. He would put into practice all that he had read about the objectives of upstanding nudists: to set right every sort of misconception about nudity, and to expose himself to peril and danger from which he would emerge to reap eternal fame and glory in the nudist pantheon. In his flight of fancy, already the poor man imagined himself crowned Emperor, at the very least, of a Nude Cruise Line. And so, carried away by the intense enjoyment he found in these pleasant musings, he began at once to put his plan into execution.
As it was a lovely evening in July, the first thing he did was go outside into his own backyard and take off his shoes and socks. Unaccustomed as he was to being outdoors, it required no small force of will for him to remove, additionally, his shirt. Even though his backyard was secluded and there was nary a soul in the vicinity, he could not muster the courage to relieve himself of his pants and undergarments until after the sun had set and it was quite dark outside. But, once over this hurdle and open to the breeze, he felt extremely invigorated, and passed the night in his yard in a state of vigil, dedicating himself, from the very depths of his soul, to a life of nude philosophy in action. At about three in the morning, in an inspired bout of unusual agitation, he retrieved some paint from his woodshed and christened his old bicycle with the name BARE GLIDER spelled out in block letters along the frame. Using pliers and a hammer, he fortified the old basket over the front wheel, and lined it with strips from a discarded tarp.
Having repaired and renamed his bicycle to his liking, he was anxious to find an original name for himself as well, a name that would befit his newfound dedication to nudity. From among the paternal and maternal surnames of his extended family, he chose Chónez, and decided on a combination that he found highly sonorous and evocative of quixotic quests: Don de Chonez.
But, remembering that this short form of his name, “Don,” also meant ‘to wear,’ he quickly decided on its opposite, “Doff,” which, moreover, reminded him of his uncle Adolfo, often known as “Dolph,” or perhaps it was his own middle name, and in any case it was thus that he became the self-proclaimed nudist-errant, Doff de Chonez. It occurred to him, however, that he should not be content without adding “of California,” but since said state is one of the largest in the union, he thus resolved to invent an alternative addition. In a fit of creative inspiration, he fused a popular expression of emphasis and surprise that he had heard his grandparents utter repeatedly (“pa’ su mecha”), with the name of an organization honoring his Mexican-American heritage (MEChA), all while further alluding to the neighbor woman, a widow he thought he loved but whom he had never met, Doña Mercedes de Avelar, known as Mecha, whom he had once spied hanging her clothes on the line in her backyard, bereft of any clothing herself while so doing. From all of these nods and allusions jumbled together, he culled, as his new and complete name, a moniker that, to his liking, was musical, unique, and significant to his purposes, like all such names that he admired, and especially like that of Don Quixote de La Mancha: Doff de Chonez pa su Mecha!