What’s in a name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.” –Shakespeare.

Do you ever hear a person’s name and just cringe?  I’m not talking about a unique name, I’m talking about everyday run of the mill names.  It’s the kind of name that you associate with someone from your past or from a tv show- and you just want to hit them.  Seriously, just beat them senseless with their own shoe until they change their name.

I don’t tend to hate people, but certain names make me just try and avoid those people.  It’s as if there is a stigma associated with their name.  Almost like their parents put a curse on them at birth.  The worst part for me- those are the freaking names I remember best!

For example, I have zero friends named “Stuart” for this reason alone.  This came from my childhood when I was about six or seven.  Our next door neighbor just had their third son.  When he was born and they blessed him with the name “Stuart.”  It doesn’t even roll off your tongue nicely.  Stew-wert.  Sounds horrific.  Of course as he grew up his name got shortened to Stu.  Stoooo.  Really?  That’s not any better.  I had no reason to hate the neighbor’s kid- he was a baby when I met him.  All he did was poop, sleep and cry.  Maybe it was more the fact that the mother provided after school care for me, and I had to silently sit in their basement while her precious son slept.  Even her other two boys weren’t allowed to wake the baby with playing noises.  But it’s not her name that I hate.  It’s his.

Jem is my name, no one else is the same!

I have a few other names that make my skin crawl, but there are also names that I associate with more pleasant feelings, mostly female names mind you.  There’s just something about the majority of the women I’ve met on this planet, that brings a smile to my face.  I was never a “player” nor did I ever really date much.  However, I have had numerous female friends over the years that I really enjoy their company.  I’m sure people when seeing me with a group of women often wondered if I was the token “gay friend”.  Especially in the 90’s- although it didn’t help that I’d throw a dress on to get into a local show or party.  People expected me to be a bit out there and crazy.  I think it’s just in my nature to draw attention to myself.  I have also been known to be loud and obnoxious as well, especially after a few stiff drinks.

Dammit.  Maybe my name is the name that picks people’s asses.  After forty years it finally makes sense why people avoid me.

Joe.  Rhymes with slow.

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