On April 22, a judge at the Circuit Court of Cook County in Skokie will hear a rather unusual case.
A man named Randall John Esche has filed a petition to change his name to Randy Pizza Candy, and he is arguably the most interesting man in Chicago.
Candy, 36, does body modifications at Pink Rhino Tattoo & Body Piercing in Boystown. He has tattoos on virtually every section of his body, including his face. He has more piercings than one can count and silicone pieces implanted into his arms and hands. He has a split tongue, which resembles a snake’s and is “cool for licking clitorises.”
His appearance is just as exotic as his soon-to-be name, which has been a part of his identity as long as he can remember.
“I’ve always used Randy Candy since I was in the fourth grade,” he says while chewing on a slice of pizza. It’s important to note that while he loves pizza, Candy despises sauce and tomatoes. The particular slice in question is topped with sausage and bacon along with an extra dose of olive oil to make it more “greasy and great.”
The name “Randy Candy” originates from Candy’s childhood affection for Garbage Pail Kids trading cards. He grew up on the Northwest Side of the city, and his desk in school was usually filled to the brim with the cards while his books would sit on the floor. There is no “Randy Candy” character in the series—that’s one he imagined and drew himself. He’s in the process of getting that character tattooed across the length of his back.
Candy’s body is as hairless as reasonably possible. He waxes regularly, sometimes leaving a chunk of chest hair that he sculpts into words such as “DIE” or “POO.” His tattoos would hardly be visible if he let his body hair grow out, and that would be a sacrifice for everybody.
“When I was younger, I would shave the fuck out of my body,” he says. “When I was 20 or 21, the hair would start growing back like crazy, so now if I don’t shave it I look like a wolf man.”
On top of body modification, Candy also dabbles in taxidermy. He’s skinned, stuffed and pierced his dead pet rabbit. He also stores the corpses of his dog and cat in his freezer, both of which he aims to stuff once he has the time to do so properly.
The alterations that Candy has made to his physique and, ultimately, to his legal name, reflect the identity that he’s owned as long as he’s been a free-thinking person.
“I think I’m becoming more of what I feel comfortable with,” he said. “I use my real last name as an act.”
Changing his name to Randy Pizza Candy will make him feel normal. He hates the inauthentic performance that comes with using the name Randall John Esche. He looked into changing his name when he was 20 years old, but never completed the process.
Now, Candy has a son on the way. He wants his boy's name to be Candy—or, more specifically, Vlad Dracula Raiden Candy. In order for that to happen, he has to change his name. His girlfriend is due at the end of June.
The typical response to someone who plans to name their child something so eccentric is usually negative, but Candy couldn’t care less. He is one of the sweetest and most genuine people that this writer has ever had the pleasure of encountering. He looks at the baggage that comes with being a person and says, “Fuck that, this is what I want to be. This is how I see things through my eyes.”
Whether you’re gay or straight or just plain unusual, there is no reason why anyone should stop you from grabbing hold of your own true self, according to Candy. He tries his best to do this every single day, and that is nothing short of commendable.