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Don't Call Me Fred

Updated on November 29, 2011

The Un-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

George VII?

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 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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    • Gerg profile image

      Gerg 5 years ago from California

      I like "Milky Way" - it's beautiful and awe-inspiring! Plus, you can hardly see it any more from North America, which makes it unique and special during those rare times when you have a clear sky and a remote area which allows you to see it. Pitirre I like as well. Although there is someone else in my world like that who drives me a little batty ... but that's another story!

      Many thanks, Ms. Wieck ~

    • profile image

      klarawieck 5 years ago

      It would lead to Multiple Personalities Disorder eventually, that's why. :D I have enough of a hard time as it is remembering my names - the one given to me at birth (and with a name as weird as mine I'm glad they left out a middle name), my nickname (short version of my name), the many names I got called during high school (from "milky way" to "you milk a cow" - not fun! But there was a rock band that wrote a thrash metal song with my name. According to them it sounded evil), and then there is my mother's pet name - pitirre, which is the spanish name for Gray-King Bird. She called me pitirre because there is a saying in Spanish that says- The Gray-King Bird, although little, fights until it drives away the volture. And that's me in a nutshell. I never give up until I get my way. :D

      Oh, and of course! Let's not forget Klara! Another name!!! Phewww!

    • Gerg profile image

      Gerg 6 years ago from California

      Thanks ubanichijioke!

    • ubanichijioke profile image

      Alexander Thandi Ubani 6 years ago from Lagos

      Hahaha! So funny. I wish to go by any name that comes to my mind. Unfortunately, i can't. Maybe, i will try it on some internet sites lol. A great piece

    • Gerg profile image

      Gerg 7 years ago from California

      Yabba Dabba Do!

    • profile image

      Fred Flintstone Costume  7 years ago

      I'd love to have a shorter last name that's easier to spell. But, getting a new name would be an incredible hassle so I probably won't ever have the guts to do it!

    • Gerg profile image

      Gerg 8 years ago from California

      Rope - I agree, though it's odd stuff like this that makes good fodder to write about 30+ years later!


    • The Rope profile image

      The Rope 8 years ago from SE US

      Poor Fred - I can't imagine a mother doing that to her child!

    • Gerg profile image

      Gerg 8 years ago from California

      Agreed. I think Fred was about 10-11 or so. By then, I'm sure he was pretty attached to it!

    • Pete Maida profile image

      Pete Maida 8 years ago

      Excellent musing on the subject. Though I did feel sorry for your friend Fred. That couldn't be good for him to have his mother do that to him.

    • Gerg profile image

      Gerg 8 years ago from California

      Ah - THAT was the David. I thought it was the name of the old guy... Oh well, I like my story anyway! ;-)

    • profile image

      Jackwms 8 years ago

      I won't use any last names or addresses here, as these hubs can have a broad circulation, but I was there and recall vividly the story about Freddie. His mother got remarried to a much older man after her divorce from Freddie's dad. This new husband was later convicted of imbezzlement. Then she found religion and decided to name her son, Freddie, after David in the Bible ( I think she eventually relented on this and let Freddie keep his name). She put bumper stickers on her car, including one that read "We Are One". That's may be a reasonable statement, but it created a few neighborhood jokes.

      He that filches from me my good name Robs me of that which not enriches him And makes me poor indeed.

      William Shakespeare, "Othello", Act 3 scene 3

    • Gerg profile image

      Gerg 8 years ago from California

      Thanks MTG - I don't really know what came over me.

      Pam - I assume you realize my name isn't Gerg, either (though close!)  I think it would be a hoot to combine your names.  I remember a cartoon where a sign hanging in front of an office said something like "Martha Jones Smith Tucker McGillicutty Franklin Brown - Marriage Counselor"  ;-)

    • profile image

      pgrundy 8 years ago

      I went through a period when I thought about changing my last name because I was was mad at my father and I'm one of those women who have subsequently had a gazillion husbands (all Dad's fault of course!), but after stewing about it endlessly I finally decided to just suck it up and come to terms with it. Now I just keep my maiden name, but sometimes if I want to be provocative I'll combine it with ALL my married names, plus my confirmation name (Joan) so it goes on forever, like some medieval potentate's title. Great hub. You can just call me Pam. :)

    • Midtown Girl profile image

      Midtown Girl 8 years ago from Right where I want to be!

      Great hub!  Someone must have gotten you a little stirred up about Fred!  ;-)

      I'll stick with my current name...but reserve the right to change my mind...