Monday, April 22, 2013

What's in a Name?

So what IS in a name?  Sure, it might be a quote from a play from a very long time ago, but in the end, it has meaning within the play.  To me though, it has a different meaning.  If you lined all my best friends up, and asked them to call me over by my name, they’d call me by 2 or 3 different names.

As with most things in my life, even the simplest things, there’s some grandiose story that goes along with everything.  Its like...nothing in my life can ever be simple.  Not even my name....

I was born James Daniel, though the only people that has ever call me that are telemarketers or bill collectors, which makes it easy to screen phone calls.  My parents took to calling my Jimmy Dan in my childhood, and its what I grew up with.  Most of my old class mates know me by that, some of which still call me that.

To digress a bit, I discovered in my life, that no matter what the statistics say, James is by far the most common male name.  I’ve known at least 15 different James’.  I’ve even met some women with the female forms of James.

One time, my parents took me into a computer shop in Abilene, Texas.  Mom called over to dad saying, “James, come here.”  Dad responded, I looked up, the two guys playing cards both looked like they were about to get up, the owner stepped out of his office, and the worker there said, “Yes ma’am?”

In the end, maybe I can explain some of them away, like the owner was just looking out to see if the worker responded....  But either way, it was obvious to me that the name James was shared by more than my dad and me.

After that I was happy to be Jimmy Dan, even though outside of my schoolmates, I started to notice that Jimmy was a ‘child’s’ name.  Luckily an amazing thing happened....  I practically lived down at my grandmother’s house, because across the road were kids to play with.  One night, Jeremy came out from his dinner, after having watched some TV and changed my life.

He came out and said, “Book’em Danno.”  From that moment on, I went by Dan.  And oddly enough, it wasn’t Miami 50 that he watched, it was Night Court.  It was the episode Dan walked into the courtroom in a Hawaiian shirt, and Judge Harry said, “Book’em Danno.”

Its so odd how memory works, how I remember that night so clearly.  For the life of me, I can’t figure out why I haven’t ever legally changed my name to Dan, because when folks call me by any other name, it just doesn’t feel like me, its kind of jarring actually.  But alas I never have.

Its amazing how some names just fit, just like Dan has fit me over the years.  Its short, its simple, but as always, there’s some crazy story behind it, because nothing in my life is ever as easy as it looks.

A Brainless Nod - Find me on


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