Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Whose name is it anyway?

Justin doesn’t like his name anymore. With its hyphens and hard Germanic sounds, he says it’s just too complicated for a filmmaker. He wants to be known only as “Bill.” No middle name. No last name. Just “Bill.”

“’Bill’? Why ‘Bill’? If you want an arty name, why not call yourself ‘B’? Or ‘J-man’? Or anything but ‘Bill’!”

“I just want a simple name. Bill.”

It started when he joined his high school theater program as a member of the props crew. At 14, he was the youngest kid in the show. No one knew his name. And he was determined to prove himself. Whenever anyone had a task they didn't want to do, they'd say, "Just have Props Kid Bill do it."

And he did.

He moved up on the crew, but by then everyone knew him as "Bill." His reputation grew and his new name spread throughout the high school.

When I was pregnant, his working name was ‘Godzilla.’ As my due date came closer, our friends and families convinced us of a more socially acceptable name. So we picked ‘Justin.’ We thought it was an unusual name, smart, different, creative. Little did we know that ‘Justin’ would turn out to be the ‘John’ of the '90s.

But ‘Bill’?

We refuse. We picked ‘Justin’ for a reason. It’s not his name. It’s ours. If we wanted a kid with the same name as an accounting practice you want to avoid, we would have named him Bill in the first place.

Bill. Not a chance.

For a few weeks after his announcement, we called him the artist formerly known as ‘Justin,’ or AFKAJ for short. But that was hard to explain to Mom and Dad, never mind his dentist.

So, now, we just call him “The Teenager.” Oddly, whenever I tell this story, people nod knowingly. And everyone, even the dentist, gets it.


Anonymous said...

I call him "Bill" on the good days. If, after three days of travel, i return to the cave to find dirty dishes in the sink, laundry on the floor, and no food in the fridge - i call him "butthead". Lately, he's been just "dude". Tommorow brings another sunrise and more possibilities for the son previously called "hey you"...

Anonymous said...

Poor kid. Between Queen Mom and Dad-Who-Would-Be-Outlaw, he hasn't a chance.

Heaven help us all if he ever reads this blog!