Monday, October 8, 2007

What's in a Name?

Everyone has to go by something--and it is usually the name their parents have given them. There are some that go by well known knick names--Tricky Dick, of course if you're old enough (and I feel some of you reading this are not) will know that man as President Richard M. Nixon. There are others that are known by only a first name--Cher or Oprah for instance. There are those that are known by stage names--Englebert Humperdink, NO that is NOT his real name. There are some that are known by a name others give them--Johnny Appleseed was born John Chapman. Some names when called bring to mind horror movies--Vincent Price or Bella La Gosi (forgive me if that isn't spelled correctly). Other names bring to mind comedy--Bill Engvall or Bill Cosby. Some names bring to mind "the hottest person on Earth"--for women that could include Sean Connery, Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise and a mile long list of others; for men that might include Raquel Welch, Beyonce, Angelina Jolie and another mile long list. For most people, they have a name they go by that most people know and call them. When a person marries, one may then be known as "John's wife" or "Sarah's husband". When one has children they are often more known as "Adam's Mom" or "Susie's Dad" than actually having a name of their own. Some names incite power when thought of--Winston Churchill while others don't have much affect at all on people. Some names infuriate people--say for instance any of our modern day enemies, especially ones that are in Persian Gulf area--you all know who I'm speaking of. I just don't want to show my true ignorance of spelling their names! Some people name their children after Biblical figures while others prefer the latest, greatest sports or entertainment names, and still others try to have the most bizarre combination of consonants and vowels to make up a name that no one can pronounce and the child has to struggle to say let alone learn to spell.

So is it the name that makes the person or the person that makes the name? I really could not tell you the answer to that question. I have my theories. In most cases the person makes the name into what it provokes in people. When someone says "George Washington", what comes to mind? Proud. Patriotic. Founding Father. Strict Disciplinarian. Shy. General. There are so many things that come to mind. It was the man that made his name known as all of these things. He and the people around him made his name one that even elementary school children will tell you, "He was our first President." The name "John Smith" on the other hand means a world of different things. If one is a historian, one might think of John Smith as a great leader that brought the Indians and the English together. To movie buffs, John Smith might bring visions of Brad Pitt in Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Others might think of it as just a name to tell someone when you don't want them to know who your really are. So I suppose the answer is both! What is your take on it?

All of this to answer someone that asked me "What is Dragon's Dolphin?" I have so many names that I am known by--legal name, knick name, first husband's last name, second husband's last name, a hyphenated combination of both last names, screen names, ebay ID name, none of which are really the same. But in the realm of privacy and not wanting to let everyone that has access to the internet who I really am--Dr. Lecter you should be proud--I have called myself Dragon's Dolphin. For those that know me very well, they would say that I have been known by this name for 2 years. It is the combination of the item my husband collects and the item I collect. He is often referred to as Dragon and I as Dolphin. Therefore, I am Dragon's Dolphin. No I'm not his possession, but it would be the same as saying "I am Sam's wife." And no, my husband's name is not Sam. So now "you know the rest of the story." Thank you Paul Harvey for making that a line that would almost ultimately bring your name to one's mind.


Susan Williams said...
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Susan Williams said...

"What's in a Name?" is the title of one of my favorite upper level language arts lessons. I, too, feel that names are important. I allow my students to research the meanings and origins of their names. Sometimes, this is a difficult task. So many parents feel creative and name their children odd, hard-to-spell and pronounce names. They never think that one day they will go to school and eventually will have jobs. Names like Shithead (pronounced Sha - Heed) and/or Devilyn are sure to create havoc on a child's life. On the other hand, I have a name so common that there are approximately 239 women in the Southeast US with the same name. Yet, "I" make the difference.