What's In A Name

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic
Don't you wish you could choose your own name? I sure do!

Submitted: February 23, 2013

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Submitted: February 23, 2013

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My real name, as I have stated here before, is Teri Cross Chetwood. Before I married Danny Chetwood, it was Teri Lee Cross. I haven't gone by that name in years, so any Teri Lee Cross you find online isn't me. Aside from my writing, I don't use my name online. I have four aliases for that, thank you very much.

One of the themes that runs throughout my writing is that names have power. Some ancient societies believed that if someone knew your real name, they had some sort of power over you. This is especially true of some people into magic. You protected your real name to prevent curses. It's also very true of the World Wide Web, which is why my real name appears nowhere but on Booksie and on the covers of my novels. The gas company has power over me because I signed my real name to a contract with them. People I chat with online don't need that kind of power.

This all came up over an online conversation with a friend of mine. Let's call him "Christian". We actually, need to call him Christian here, because it was the point of our conversation. His name is Christian and he's not. Christian, I mean. He was telling me his whole life people have insisted that he should be a Christian because that's his name. Makes no sense to me or Christian.

I knew three sisters, in my youth, named "Faith", "Hope", and "Charity". Faith was an agnostic, Hope was depressed, and Charity was a stingy bitch. Using the logic of Christian's friends, anyone named George would be curious, anyone named Gonzales would be speedy, and anyone named Frieda would be freaky. Women named Britney would be eternally sixteen years old, and there would be no bald forty-year-old guys named Skip. As I understand it, Jimmy Hendrix never said "Jeepers, Mr. Kent!" I suggested Christian tell these people his middle name is Mohammed and he'd appreciate it if they could tell him what other ways they want to predict his beliefs based on his name.

Some people have unfortunate names. Cary Grant comes to mind. A wonderful actor, he was born Archibald Leech. He had the good sense to change it for professional reasons, but I always wondered if he had a few friends from his youth who still called him "Archie". If it was me, I'd ask that they call me "Cary".

I went through this phase in junior high where I got tired of my first name. I didn't like it, and I suggested -- no, demanded -- that people call me by my middle name, Lee. Well, in Louisiana, that's a boy's name, so I got kidded for that so much I went back to Teri. If I'd had some common sense at the time, I would have insisted on Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. That would have given me a sexy new name and the only joke I can come up with for Sheena is the old comic book, "Sheena Queen of the Jungle". That gets the joke out in the open, right away, and puts an end to it immediately.

My friend Scott goes by his middle name, Eric. Not that you can't have a ball ridiculing the name Eric, but he was tired of the "Beam me up, Scotty" jokes. His response, the first time I used it on him, was a sarcastic "Wow, that's so original! No one's ever said that to me before. You should be a writer." Well, I am a writer, so I feel I won that little pissing contest.

We should all be allowed to chose our own names. Well, technically you can, if you want to file the paperwork and stand before a judge, but I think we should all be given a childhood name and an adult name. You could spend your childhood as, say, Merle, and when you turned twenty-one you could decide if you'd had enough of the "You look haggard" jokes. At that point, you could change your name to Uranus and never hear jokes about your name again.

We could even make it a big deal; a ceremonial sign of adulthood, like a Bar Mitzvah. Think of all the Name Change Day cards you would get. Well, maybe not, because no one would know who to mail them to. Still, if you did manage to get the cards, you could get all of those one dollar bills with pictures of Steve Washington on them.

The point is that names are important, and I'm fairly happy with mine. At least it's not as funny as yours. :)

 


© Copyright 2020 Lacy Cornwall. All rights reserved.

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