Q: So, how did you go about changing your name?
BUNNY: Well, I had to file an affidavit stating that I wasn’t married, that I didn’t have children, and that I was aware that my name might subject me to public ridicule — which I thought was really amusing. You have to publish once in legal notices. All in all, it cost $30 to download the forms, then a little over $100 to file, and $78 to publish. I think you can get by without paying for the forms, but the rest you sort of need. This is the second time I’ve changed my name, actually. The first time was in Oregon on my twenty-fifth birthday. It was much less expensive back then.
Q: What did you change your name to twenty-five years ago?
BUNNY: I changed my first name from James to Ames. I was named after an annoying grandfather, and I never liked it. One night I had a revelation that I could just drop the “J” and have something new. Ames is a much nicer name. It sounds like “amiable” and “amigo,” and other variations on the word “friend.” So twenty-five years later, I’m due for another birthday present. I’ve decided that Ames Michael Montgomery is a very serious name, and I’m not the world’s most serious person.
Q: How did you arrive at the name Fluffy Bunny?
BUNNY: Bunny is sort of a pet name in the house. There’s lots of rabbit stuff in here, as you can see.
BUNNY: Those are new rabbits because of the name change. Somebody sent me these bunnies over here, and somebody else sent me that one. I purchased that one. I like the evil bunnies, they’re like something out of Monty Python. You know, everybody thinks of them as fluffy, cute little creatures, but they’re just rodents — like rats.
Q: Does that explain the sculpture of those plastic rats in the corner of the room?
BUNNY: Actually, my sweetheart made that.
Q: Who is more responsible for the decor around here?
BUNNY: I am.
Q: Are you a decorator by profession?
BUNNY: No, it’s just a hobby. I’m an intravenous nurse at NYU Hospital.
Q: What are your specific responsibilities?
BUNNY: Inserting needles into veins, for the most part, and doing it well.
Q: Do you, um, hop from ward to ward, or are you assigned to a specific part of the hospital?
BUNNY: I go pretty much all over the hospital except for pediatrics. The other day I saw a patient who is 107 years old.
Q: Wow, that’s remarkable. That’s four name changes.
BUNNY: Right. And she was totally lucid and rational and would have been perfectly capable of changing her name. You know, it’s not like I’m placing a value judgment on somebody for being one thing their whole life. The question is: are they happy? My father had two hairstyles his entire life, and I guess I understand that. You want people to think that you’re reliable, that you’re a rock of stability in a chaotic world.
Q: How do you want people to react to your new name?
BUNNY: With amusement, for the first part. And then I want them to forget that they’re amused by it. It’s not like I’m going to walk around wearing a fluffy bunny suit. Ninety-five percent of the time I don’t have a name to the world. In the hospital, I wear my ID card at all times, but rarely do people want to know the name of the person jabbing them with a needle. And they don’t want to get stuck any more than they have to, so they’re typically pretty quiet and helpful. At some point, someone is probably going to check my ID card to see if I’m a legitimate person, and they’ll find out that not only am I a person, I’m a bunny.
Q: Do you think of yourself as a performance artist?
BUNNY: Not really. The public life is very difficult. The more you’re in the public, the more it demands of you. I was very visible for about a month in Oregon because my hair was blue and my beard was green. There were lots of strangers who would want to encounter me, talk to me, react to me — it was exhausting.
Q: How did you celebrate the millennium?
BUNNY: At the time, my hair was all the way down to my butt. I had grown my hair for seven years, and I had a full beard. Then, on December 31, 1999, I shaved everything.
Q: Do you feel that your identity is constantly evolving?
BUNNY: I feel like I need to do something every once in a while that’s a little difficult for me, personally, in order to grow. Changing my name to Fluffy Bunny will engage me with reality, or with society, in a different way. It’s like an unmasking.
Q: Do you think people will expect you to act differently from now on?
BUNNY: Not really.
Q: Seriously? What about Easter?
BUNNY: Oh, gosh, I hadn’t thought about that. I suppose there will be a lot of demands on me come Easter.
Q: One last thing: Does the “A” stand for Ames?
BUNNY: No, it’s just “A.” That’s really all that’s left.