I’ve been thinking lately about names. Namely, my name.
Overall, I’ve had fairly good luck with my name. ‘Charlie’ is just the right balance between ‘too common’ and ‘off the wall’. Any old Tom, Dick and Harry can be a… well, a ‘Tom’, ‘Dick’, or ‘Harry’.
(Although honestly, you don’t really see too many ‘Dicks’ or ‘Harrys’ any more. And certainly no ‘Harry Dicks’. Parents these days have some shred of concern for their children. Until they start siphoning tuition money out of mom and pop’s retirement fund, anyway.)
It’s nice, though, not being a ‘John’ or ‘Mike’ or ‘Joe’. No offense to guys with those names, of course. Especially because there are roughly nine hundred million of them, and only one of me. I’m just saying — I’m glad my parents had just a teensy bit of creativity when they were dishing out the old nomenclature. There’s something to be said for standing out from the crowd a bit.
(On the other hand, they went a little overboard with my middle name, as I’ve explained elsewhere. Hey, I said they were ‘creative’. I never said they were ‘perfect‘. That’s why we get three names, folks. Everybody needs a do-over.)
Of course, you don’t want to stand so far out from the crowd that everyone thinks your name farted or something. So I’m also happy to not have a really unusual name. Hell, in some ways, ‘Charlie’ is odd enough, thanks to that goddamned cartoon tuna fish. Man, I’ve never wanted a shark to savagely maim another sea creature so badly in my life. Except maybe Moby Dick. Or whoever put together that clamshell bikini for the Little Mermaid. Different story. We’ll talk later.
But I don’t have a truly weird name, like Periwinkle or Ezekiel or Juaniquicito. So that’s something. I’d rather deal with the occasional — aw, hell, who am I kidding; constant — ‘Sorry, Charlie!‘, instead of a lifetime of ‘Hippie parents, eh?‘ Or ‘Man, your folks were really into the Bible!‘ Or ‘So… what, are you, Albanian? Venezuelan? Canadian, what?‘
Plus, ‘Charlie’ is pretty neutral, as name karma goes. I’ve always thought that a person’s name can help to push them in certain directions. There are an awful lot of hot ‘Heather’s, for instance. I’m guessing — not that I’ve researched it — that ‘Beulah’, or maybe ‘Edwina’, don’t have quite the reputation for beauty. Likewise, I’ve always seemed to get along with ‘Jennifer’s, met several stand-up and dependable ‘Ken’s, and never quite known what to do with ‘Bob’s. I’m not saying that a name can completely predispose you to a certain look or personality. Unless your name is ‘Bambi’, or ‘Estonia’, or ‘Trixxi’, with smiley-face hearts over the ‘i’s. ‘Cause then? You’re a stripper. And that’s hot. Parents, take note.
Last names are important, too, of course. Like mine, for instance — the Name-That-Shall-Not-Be-Mentioned-Here. Sure, some of you know it. Others of you could find it, if you wanted. But I’m not going to mention it. And there’s no need — it’s in that same sweet spot as Charlie: not too common, but not too weird. Like waffles for dinner. Or a mango-flavored jelly bean. Or sex on the dinner table. That sort of thing.
And that’s good. Because any old Thomson, Dickerson, or Harrison can be a… well, you know. And if there’s anything worse than being a ‘Harry Dick Thomson’, then it’s a ‘Tom Harry Dickerson’.
(And you know there are a couple out there. One day, far in the future, one of them will Google their name and see this post. And then, the day after, they’ll come here with a baseball bat and nipple tweezers and beat the shit out of me. See how I suffer for my art for you people?)
Of course, the worst thing about a too-common last name is that you could end up marrying someone — quite unrelated — with the same name. And ladies, you never want to have this conversation at your local insurance office:
Bored Insurance Agent: Name, please.
You: Mary Johnson.
Bored Insurance Agent: Husband’s name.
You: Joe Johnson.
Bored Insurance Agent: Your maiden name.
You: Um… Johnson.
Bored, Slightly Annoyed Insurance Agent: No, ma’am. Your maiden name.
You: That… that is my maiden name. I’ve always been a Johnson.
Suddenly Intrigued Insurance Agent: I see. Gets a little wild at the Johnson family outings, does it?
You: No — no! We’re not related. I mean, we weren’t related, before we got married.
Vaguely Nauseous Insurance Agent: No… no, it’s okay. If you can’t keep it in your pants, keep it in the family, I suppose. We’ll just sign you up for our ‘kissing cousins‘ policy rate. Just sign here… if you know how.
So, there’s a bullet dodged. And I’m already married, so as long as my wife doesn’t ditch me — and so long as that smoking hot second cousin I met at the reunion a few years ago doesn’t show up — then I’m in the clear. Lucky me.
Meanwhile, I’m not a Kryzywe… a Kryzhyw… a Shusheff… you know. That Duke basketball guy, the one who always looks a little constipated. Nobody can spell that guy’s name. Same with… well, same with lots of other people whose names I can’t spell. Honestly, some of those names look like somebody sat on the keyboard. What kind of name has nine consonants in a row, with a silent ‘r’? Kooky.
The worst I get is an ‘o’ in my name that constantly gets morphed into an ‘e’. But, you know — so what? With most peoples’ handwriting, who can tell, anyway? I’ve learned to stop worrying about such silly things. And hey — when all the people whose names I’ve made fun of above come to find me, I can always pretend it’s an ‘e’. Maybe I’ll convince Dick Dickerson he’s in the wrong place, even. If I can stop snickering long enough, anyway. ‘Dick‘. Heh.Permalink | 3 Comments