"Well, I'll Be John Brown"

Real stories about folks who have blessed my life with the joy and fulfillment of laughter. Long may they live.

Location: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

A Southern Boy - Born In Alabama, Reared In Georgia, and Matriculated, Married & Initiated Into Manhood In Tennessee.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

What's In A Name?

Names are powerful things.

Judas, Jezebel, Chedarlaomer were some of the choices before and during the time when the good Lord walked here. Then came Fred, Alice, Barney, and Myrtle. Now-a-days its Haydee, Shakina, and Bryson, not to mention (the late Frank Zappa's kids) Dweezil and Moon Unit.

The Indians had it right. Squatting Dog, Running Dear, Fornicating Bear. Descriptive, unforgettable, yet not pretentious. The old joke about the guy trying to pick up the girl by asking, "what kind of men do you like?," is a good one. When she answered that she preferred native American Indian men, Jewish men, and good old southern redneck boys, he answered: 'Let me introduce myself...My name is Running Bear Goldstein but my friends call me 'Bubba.'"

When my kin over in Alabama couldn't agree on a name for their first boy they named him "Son." Them Injuns ain't got a thing on my people.

I saw two beautful young ladies one night on the news who had a super name thing going on. They were twin sisters whose apartment had caught fire, and were being interviewed by a reporter. Their names: LaTonya, and LaZonya (pronounced just like the Italian dish). Funny, she didn't look Italian on TV.

Then there's the well known tale of mothers naming their kids after Jello products ("Orangello," and "Lemonjello"). Or, the one about a mom who named her kid "Placenta" after an experience in the birthing room. Or, the mother who looked at her newborn fresh back from the hospital nursery and exclaimed her dismay that someone had already named her baby. What she was reading was in fact the tag on the portable crib which identified her little girl as "Female" (she pronounced it, "Fuh-Mah-Lee").

Also, I attended a high school graduation not long ago. Twin brothers graduated that day with the last name Williams. One was (and I am not joking) "Telly Savalas Williams" (as in the original Kojak), and the other was, "Isaac Hayes Williams." I loved it. Two great young men. Very mannerly and polite. Their names will help them go far.

Then, there's my wonderful brother-in-law. He is a III in a line with the name, Polye (pronounced "Po-Lee") Marvin. We call him Marty. His dad was known simply as "PM."

To top it all, my wife's second cousin teaches second grade in Memphis. This is no joke. On her first day in the classroom she looked at the roll and a little boy's first name came up as (forgive me but it's true), "Shithead." Shocked, she called his last name, invited him to the front, and asked him quietly how to pronounce his first name. Very proudly and innocently he said out loud, "Shu-Theed". She said she was SO relieved, and that eventually "Shu-Theed" became her star student and teacher's pet.

Goes to show you never know when the good Lord is gonna' fling a blessing on you.

LIB John Brown


Post a Comment

<< Home