Monday, July 15, 2013

Love Your Name

Love Your Name

“What’s in a name? A rose by any name would smell as sweet!” at least that’s how I remember the quote. It’s been awhile since the study of Shakespeare was a requirement to get out of the ninth grade where I attended school in Chicago.

Okay, I happen to believe Shakespeare had it right. At that impressionable age we were self conscious about everything. It ain’t easy being 13 through 15. Now my mantra is “Old age ain’t for sissies”!

But then was then and I went to school with a lot of kids whose name ended in “ski” or “ano” or “itz”. Mine ended in “der” and when we were at war with Germany I really didn’t like my last name. I wanted it to be “Grable” as in Betty, or ”Reynolds” as in Debbie. You get the picture.

When I got my first job after high school I teamed up with a co-worker whose last name was Skavarka. I had long since forgotten my hang up about last names and I thought this was a beautiful name. It had rhythm, It rolled off the tongue nicely and had lyrical quality. But he didn’t like it and so changed it to Collins. So now he sounded Irish and had a name like a popular bar drink. His choice.

One of my jobs at ye old title company was to check names. They called it the “name run” as in find out if there’s a record of any bankruptcies or foreclosures against this buyer. (I think we checked out divorces and marriages at that time, too but I’m not sure that would be legal today).

People’s names became an obsession with me and after beginning my so-called career in the newspaper business, names and the correct spelling thereof became crucial!  Especially when I was preparing for it to be seen in print in a daily or weekly newspaper. Incorrect spelling of names was anathema to me! (Also to my boss, the editor, who could fire me!)

More importantly, it should be a source of pride for all of us to love and respect our names. And unless your parents were on drugs and gave you some ridiculous handle that you can no longer handle now that you’re going into second grade (like, when your parents, whose last name was Shott, named you “Buck”. You really wanted to be “Crack”).

(Oh, BTW, Shakespeare had Juliet say it in Romeo and Juliet. You're welcome).

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