Don't Call Me Fred
You don't find many Freds these days. There used to be an abundance of them. Fred Flintstone. Freddie Mercury. Fred Meyer. Fredericks of Hollywood...
I grew up on a cul-de-sac with several families who had boys about my age. One of them was Fred. Nice enough guy. Named after his father. Also Fred. Anyway, his Mom and Dad had some kind of stormy divorce, after which he stayed with his Mom in the house on our street. I never saw his Dad again and, I'm not sure whether he did. What I do remember is that his Mom changed her name to a lengthier, flower-child version of her former name, had lots of new age bumper stickers that had some of the adults in the neighborhood snickering, and finally found an older man with whom she formed a new relationship. I may have met him only once, but I seem to recall it being a May-December type of thing.
Anyway, one day we're out playing and he tells me he changed his name. "What?", I asked. I'd never heard of such a thing. I mean, I might change my name to Superman if I'm playing a game, but this was a CHANGE change.
"My Mom's now calling me David."
My mind wasn't kicking in to this new phenomenon. I thought when you were given a name, it was yours. You could change it when you were older, but generally parents stick with the original plan. "What do you call yourself?" I asked.
"Fred," he said, "But my Mom's going to legally change my name."
I scratched my chin. "Isn't David the name of your Mom's boyfriend?"
"Yes," he said.
Not long afterward, Fred/David, his Mom and crew moved away, so I never had resolution to the name change thing...
You Can Call Me Al
Name name go away...
I heard another story sometime back about a woman who had four boys. Each boy had a different father. Each boy was named after their respective father. Now there's a way to keep track of your relationship fiascos! Personally, I'd just change their names to Eenie, Meenie, Miney and Moe. Much easier to remember. And, doesn't bring up all that nasty relationship breakup stuff.
There's also the approach of George Foreman, the fighter. Foreman has 10 children, and each of his five sons are named George: George Jr., George III, George IV, George V, and George VI. They are also known by the nicknames "Monk," "Red," "Joe," "Big Wheel," and "Little George." Though Wikepedia doesn't say, I'm thinking his five daughters must be Georgia, Georgina, Georgette, Geosephina (I made that one up) and Geo-Geo (pronouced Jo-Jo, and I made that one up too!)
So, Shakespeare said "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Of course, there we're talking about Juliet and the context is her being frustrated Romeo is a Montague, the mortal enemies of her own family.
So why not change our names? Why do we get so attached to labels given to us by others for reasons unknown and unrelated to us? We name our dogs anything from human names to sounds, smells and character traits. Why don't we let our kids change their names once or twice or a hundred times? Sure would make it harder for those annoying high school friends to find us on Classmates.com and Facebook, wouldn't it?
Think of the benefits! You could get up in the morning, put on your blue suit and say, I look like a Veronica today! Or you could alternate first letters every 26th day. Starting with Abe, Bobby, Carl, etc. Like the way they name hurricanes. The possibilities are limitless!
Just, whatever you do, don't call me Fred.
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