What’s in a name?

September 19 2015

Wow. (I know, I know- replace with <I won the listserve cliché> of your choosing.)I'm pretty short on recorded musings, these days. Though, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a list of ideas ready for this occasion. I’d also be lying if I said the list was anything more than one line that read “what’s in a name?”

To be honest, I’ve forgotten the specific origin of the thought. It’s something that I’ve always been intrigued by. There’s a lifetime's worth of unique experiences distillable to a moniker externally endowed, the meaning of which is subject to wide breadth of interpretations and vacilations, with a longevity that far surpasses your own. How can something so simple be so powerful?

I recently had a discussion with a close friend of mine. She’d asked me if I've ever thought of what I would name my children. (I’m 25.) I replied with the (however contrived) truth: I would name my first son after my father.

“Don’t you want him to have his his own identity?” (paraphrased, but with point intact)

Hmm. I’d never thought of it that way before. Even as someone who was partially named after his father*, I’ve always felt like I have/had control over my own legacy. But as the conversation continued, my conviction began to waver ever so slightly. (I did not let on at the time.) I’ve never felt as though my identity was predicated on my father’s, but can I be certain that this “idea" of a person would feel the same? How comfortable was I with taking that chance?

Does your name have the power to define you? Or do you define your name? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts/experiences!

You can find me on twitter/instagram as @phillmatic19.

I’ll leave you with a song that I’ve always loved: 'So Come Back, I Am Waiting' by Okkervil River. (It’s about 8 minutes long but you won’t regret it.)

Godspeed, listserve.

*Same first name, different middle name. So, not a junior; common misconception.

Phil Quinn
[email protected]
New York, NY

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