2004-06-25 - 1:41 p.m.
I’ve had enough.
Oh behalf of all the Mikes, Tonys, Jims, Megans, Jills, Bills, and Emilys, I’d like to say to our stunningly uncreative parents, please, for the love of all that’s holy, spend more than five measly seconds when coming up with your children’s names.
If you have a son with a Junior, or a Third, or for that matter any roman numeral, you have done your offspring a terrible injustice. You may think you have a great name, but one of the reasons for that might be that you’re the only one who has it. Put it this way, past the age of tweleve do you really want to be actively associated with your father?
We, as a people, need to be kindler and gentler to those with odd names, if only to keep people from continually pulling from the same five name hat. Sure, “Seven” is a fucked up name, and George from Seinfeld came up with it years ago, but all you need do is hand Seven his birthday gift for turning seven, let him blow out his seven candles, and pray he gets his wish not to have seven fingers. That’s all. Let the little man live.
It’s better than being of the no-names. Your name isn’t even a name. “Mike” is what they call you until they can come up with a nickname. “Mike” isn’t even your name. It’s just a place holder, with no real meaning. I can now count looking back on my life, that I have never been without a nickname. In fact there has been no time in my life, where anyone, ANYONE, has continually reffered to me by my first name, unless we were having sex. (All of my nick-names would have been particularly disturbing in the bedroom: Spam, Spider, Dead-Meat, the Texan, Blancito Diablo, and Gary. I mean, Gary? Not very sexy. Heck I can’t even think of one male ‘G’ name that’s got a good edge. Even Geoff feels a bit tainted.)
And mothers, give up the middle names. The Middle name is now a repository for the runner-up, great-grandmother family name. Do parents across this great land realize that the middle name has one purpose and one purpose alone: To be terribly embarrassing. You hide it throughout your entire life, until finally it’s unearthed by either a schoolmate or lover, and then used continually to deride you into a ‘pile of worthless parrot shit. Isn’t that right, Fransis?” Try to remember a time you found out someone’s middle name, and went “Wow!”
Parents must realize the power they have. Where ever you go, this is your FIRST first impression. You could be the most attractive, successful man on the planet but if your name is Herbert, it will arose suspision. And, if you have a “Mike”-like no-name, when you make the call after you get the number…
“Hey, it’s Mike.”
“Mike. Mike from the bar…”
Try as you might, all your name will recall, no matter how plentiful the details, is a composite of every Mike that girl’s ever met. And, as Mike is a boring name, it will be a boring composite.
I tried to change. I’d had enough, and I announced, ‘Just call me Jack.’
I like Jack. It’s not to far out there, but it has an edge. It sounds a little dangerous but at the same time oddly familiar. Jack is the guy who knows who played first base for the Blue Jays in ’86. Jack can probably fix your car. Jack has a masters in witty reporte. Jack features in many of your lovingly recalled college stories. Jack has a well shaped collar bone, good for resting your head on when bad times roll in. Jack is strong. Jack is good. Jack is Jack.
Jack is apparently not me.
No force in nature, apparently, will separate me from my no-name. I made announcement, proclamation, almost went as far as an inter-office memo, but it made no dent. And there is nothing more annoying than correcting someone.
“I’m sorry, no, I’m Jack now. Yes I was that last week, but it’s not last week. It’s this week, and this week I am Jack.”
Statements like these will get you the finger, a demotion, or possibly a punch in the mouth.
I’m going to have to legally change my name, go to Montana, cut off all forms of communication to those still tainted by the no-name and wear a bright yellow tag on my shirt that points out the new moniker.
I’m sure I’ll still get.
“But, sir, it says here on your birth certificate…”
1 Letters to the Editor