February 28, 2005
First names I wish I had.
Gabriel; Jorge; Tyler; Michael; Dieter; Jean-Paul; Eddie; Emil; Ronnie; Damon; Dean; Ernesto; Walter; Max; Kingsley; Ian; Clive; Bill; Chuck. Don't get me wrong. John is my father's name, and I would never in a million years change it. Besides, only people I know from from high school and grad school call me John. Pre-high school and especially in college, most people called me Johnny and still do. My undergraduate advisor still calls me Johnny. I remember at what time I met the people I know by whether they call me John or Johnny. There is a funny store where I didn't know my name was John and not Johnny until my first day of first grade (a story for another time). Nor am I necessarily dissatisfied what the name my parents gave me. Except my middle name. My great-grandparents were...uh, not from the city, and they seem to have thought that Frank was a name alone and was not short for anything else. So my poor grandfather was named Frank, which is worse than my father and I who are stuck with something so frank (moan) as Frank for a our middle names. I was going to be named Jean if I were a girl, I'm told. My Polish grandmother goes by Jean, though her real name is something no one in the family seems to be able to spell or remember, forgotten along with my grandmother's command of the Polish language. Names are funny things, but I don't really feel like waxing philosophical on the subject. Semantics and linguistic philosophy lie entirely outside my areas of strong competence. That, and I'm lazy tonight.