Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My Name is Emerson: On Awesome Middle Names

"Why would you do that??"

It's something that comes up rarely, usually after you've known and worked with a person for a while, or you've had several sit-down meals together already and are running out of polite, idle chitchat. Likely, you've probably slept together before engaging in this level of intimacy:

The middle name exchange.

I always used to make people guess. It was a fun game. But then I had to keep it a secret so the game wouldn't be spoiled for others. Then it became something tantalizing, something to be horded and lauded over me. And it was certainly worth remembering.

You see, I couldn't spell my middle name until I was about seven, and until I was twelve, I thought one was supposed to sound more like a surname than a personal name. It was odd to discover my friends were "Daniel Thomas" and "Dean Thomas," but, then again, I just thought their parents were highly uncreative. Or maybe it was a Catholic thing, they both had confirmation names as well, and Dan had a second middle name besides that was his mother's maiden name, sans-hyphen.

My middle name is Emerson.

I was named after an existentialist, and possibly the electronics company. Narrowly, I avoided "Thoreau" and "if the Rangers make it to the [1986] Stanley Cup, whoever scored the winning goal."

My brothers are Sam and Jake (both names my father rejected for me), and their middle names are "Rosedell" and "Wilson." The former is an amalgam of the boy's two great-grandmothers, Rose and Dell. He has a fake name. Made from two girls' names. They also gave him "Zachary" as a back-up, so he's got five names, really. "Wilson" I imagine is from Woodrow, but that's always been just a guess. Honestly, he didn't know he had a middle name until he was 15.

All these names are fantastic, weird, iconic, unique. They'll look great on book jackets.

However being seven? Not so great. It's embarrassing. If we're doing that to our kids anyway, why aren't we having more fun with it?

Danger. Subtle. Fun. Classy.

Who wants to be names "Howard" when they can be "Jackson Classy Bartlett?"

Or why stop there? If we're making our kids feel awkward and not caring about how much ribbing they take, let's roll with it. Call them Awkward or A.K.A./Alias or for the R-rated classroom Motherfucking.

Motherfucking. That's biblical, you know. It was Jesus' middle name. Either that or Harry, there's some non-consensus in Luke.

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