Monday, May 17, 2010

The Name Game

The other day I met a friend, only to discover that her name wasn’t her real name. The name we all knew her by (Meg) is in fact her middle name – she had simply decided that she preferred it over her actual name (Imogen). It was quite the revelation for everybody at the table. I didn’t know that was a thing. Am I allowed to come up with my own name, while legally keeping my old one, and simply introduce myself using it?

I’m toying with the idea of Delilah.

When do you have to reveal your true identity? Once you have revealed your real name, which one will people use? Which one do you answer to? I’m sure those closest to Superman/Clark Kent struggled with similar issues.

I get it. When I went to pre-school I lied and told everyone my name was Sarah. I guess I was just desperate to be a generic member of the large, overwhelming group of girls my age who were legitimately called ‘Sarah’ (kind of like if I was born 10 years earlier and yearned to be called ‘Jennifer’). Clearly I was desperate to fit in, and thus picked the title most widely associated with girls my age. In the future these girls will share names like Miley and Taylor.

Like so many youngest children, my elder siblings named me. They were inspired by a character from a popular mid 80’s Australian film (yes, my name is Mad Max). It could have been worse. I always feel sorry for any person called Richard – the jokes that come from having the first name ‘Dick’ work on every generation of children. Anyone under 20 called Winifred, Norman or Gerald also lost a special sort of lottery. Parents who invent names… get bashed enough, no need for me to join in.

I do love it when a family gets carried away by the naming process. It’s quite the feat that the Duggars have managed to give each of their 19 kids a name starting with ‘J’. Jinger and Jedidiah are the real unfortunates of the group – it’s not like mum and dad were running out of names at this point, Jason and Josie are both much younger. Special props to the parents who insist on rhyming names as well.

In the end, it’s always going to be a tough choice. Aside from giving life and emotional scarring, a name is the most permanent thing you hand over to your child. But I was under the impression you couldn’t get a do-over. Turns out I was wrong, an acquaintance recently changed her mind on the name of her son… 3 months after he was born. Of course she announced this via Facebook, so it’s all very official.

What’s in a name, really? If Barack Hussein Obama taught us anything, it’s that what someone is called can’t hold them back if they have potential. Prime Minister Judas is surely just around the bend.

Painefull Out

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