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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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#7. I used my middle name until I was about seven years old.

This was through no fault of my own, you understand. It was all my parents’ doing. First, they picked out my name, then they decided to use the middle one instead of the first one. If I may be so bold… what the fuck? Why not just give me the middle one first, and let it be? (Though, as you’ll find out, I’m actually immensely relieved that they didn’t do that.) But what’s with all the indecision? If they’d waffled that frickin’ much about having me in the first place, I probably never would have been born.

Plus, after nine months of thinking about it, you’d think they’d have been ready. It’s not like it snuck up on them at the last minute. I’m honestly not sure that they put any damned thought into the name at all. First of all, they named me ‘Charles’. Which is fine; it’s an alright name, and it’s served me well. I’m not stuck in the herd of ‘John’s or ‘Mike’s out there, but I’m also not a ‘Litterial’ or a ‘Elbert’. Different, but not that different. I’ve got no beef with the name.

Except — except, my father’s name is also Charles. But I’m not a junior, because my middle name is different; I’ll get to that later. So now, for no good reason that I can see, we’ve got two guys named ‘Charles’ in the same household. Phone rings — ‘Charles, please.‘ ‘Which one?‘ Always ‘which one?‘ And it just didn’t have to be that way. That’s six seconds of our lives per call that we’ll never have back. And do you know how many calls we got in the eighteen years I lived with my parents? Um, me, either. But plenty! It was plenty, dammit. And six seconds times plenty is a whole lotta time. Bitches!

So maybe that’s why they decided to use my middle name. A little pre-planning would have prevented the whole sorry mess, but maybe at least they realized their error and tried to set it right. Fine. That would be just damned peachy if I could use my middle name in public, right? Just so long as my middle name is something equally as inocuous as ‘Charles’, then I’m in the clear. But, of course, it isn’t. It’s ‘Stacy‘.

Bleh. Who are these fuckin’ people, anyway?

So, ‘Stacy’. Not the absolute worst name I can think of for a male child. It’s not ‘Jill’ or ‘Margaret’ or ‘Boogerpants’. But it’s not good. Not good at all. Now, of course, I’m an only child, so I didn’t realize this at first. I skipped through the world — yes, skipped, goddammit; my name was ‘Stacy’, what the fuck did you expect? — happily enough, blind to the fact that ‘Stacy’ was at best androgynous, and at worst… um, well, at the time, I didn’t know what ‘androgynous’ meant, so I would have probably said that was the worst, too. It sure as hell doesn’t sound very good.

All of that changed when I hit school, of course. There, I was surrounded by Mikes and Bruces and Davids, and yes, Stacys. Two of ’em, in fact. Two other Stacys, with pigtails and dresses and cute little ribbons in their hair. ‘Hey, wait just one cotton-pickled minute!‘ (Yeah, I used to think it was ‘cotton-pickled’, all right? ‘Cotton-pickin’, ‘cotton-pickled’, whatever. Can we just get on with this?)

So, I looked around, and saw that ‘Stacy’ was primarily a girl’s name. A big, poopy, cootie-havin’, rope-jumpin’ crusty girl’s name! Ewwwwww! Get it off, get it off, get it off! Oh, and I heard about it, too. Did I ever. Where there are bullies, there are children with girls’ names being given a hard fucking time. Just the way life works.

I brought this up to my parents, with mixed results. Mom tried to convince me that Stacy was a boy’s name, too. ‘But I don’t know any boys with that name,‘ I replied. ‘Well, what about Stacy Keach, the actor?‘ ‘Um, mom, he’s a crack fiend. Which do you want me to be, a girl or a cokehead? I’ll give you your choice.

Needless to say, I didn’t exactly persuade Mom with that sort of argument. Dad was an easier sell, probably because all that skipping I was doing was starting to worry him. But still, neither of them would make the move to help me. So, I did it myself.

I determined one summer what I had to do. And when school started up, I did it. I told the teacher that I didn’t want to be known as ‘Stacy’ any more, and that my name would henceforth be ‘Charlie’. I think I gave my parents a couple of days of lead time on this, just so they wouldn’t be surprised at the first PTA meetings. And I cut the world some slack for about three days. If my mom would call, ‘Stacy, time for dinner!‘, or the teacher would say, ‘Stacy, it’s not polite to pick Margaret’s nose like that‘, I’d do what I was asked and politely say, ‘Okay, but my name’s not ‘Stacy’ any more. I’m Charlie‘. Some people got the picture this way.

After the three days or so, I took a harder stance. Call me Stacy, and I ignored you. I’m not Stacy. Do I look like a Stacy? No. So you must be talking to some other Stacy, and I’m gonna keep on doing whatver the hell it is I’m doing until you and that other Stacy get things sorted out. S’got nothing to do with me.

So, of course, I was beaten often that fall, both at school and at home.

Nah, I kid. I was beaten more or less the same as usual at home and school, and eventually, everyone started getting my name right. Mom was the last to fall into line, because of all that ‘Stacy’ practice she’d had, but she got the hang of it. And that’s how it’s been ever since. Not many people even know my middle name, and I was embarrassed to give it out for a long time, because of all the crap it used to get me in school.

But now, I think it’s important as an example to expecting parents. For the love of your unborn blubbering brat — er, beautiful baby, that is — please, please, please take some care in picking out a name, would you? And I do mean both names, ’cause they’ll both come up, one way or another, as the kid scrambles through life. Don’t stick him or her with something ridiculous or unpronouncable or usually assigned to the opposite sex. Really. And if you need any more convincing, just use me as an example. I had that horror happen to me, and look how I turned out.

Permalink  |  10 Comments

10 Responses to “7”

  1. JiggaDigga says:

    Great reading, keep up the great posts.

    Peace, JiggaDigga

  2. jerrie says:

    Your site is great

  3. LitliGirL says:

    I’m Ann,

    from Oceania ,

    and I’m 16 y.o

    Hi, Girl and Boy

    I’ve studied English sinse this Winter .

    It’s Really difficult

    I want like to meet boys and girls and practisice My English with them.

    Thanks all!!

  4. R. Dennis Rstcliffe says:

    I also use my middle name. Computers are not set up to handle this problem. Some computers will accept

    R. Dennis

    others will reject the period and space between R and Dennis

    Everything in my life with the exception of my birth certificate and my military record are listed as R. Dennis Ratcliffe it was not until I was 13 years old that I found out my first name was Richard. I was never called Richard I was Baptized Dennis. I can also recall my mother getting a call asking if Richard was there, her reply was that she did not know anyone named Richard nor did anyone live here named Richard. After she hung up I asked her why she told him that when I was standing there and the call may have been for me. She said she forgeot my name was Richard.

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