Odd Names and Awkward Conversations

Names are fascinating, aren't they? A friend of mine just had a kid and named him Levi, which means the little rugrat is destined to bedeck himself in jean shorts and quote from Ecclesiastes, right? Another friend of mine has a wee lad on the way. They've named him Reece. Which means, what? He'll have a penchant for chocolate and short blonde actresses?

Okay, I kid, but it's fun to think about names in that way. I like to ponder all of their potential meanings and origins, sometimes without regard for etymological integrity or sanity. It's fun, if not entirely unfair. But it's not all silliness. Sometimes I play for real and do my research. For most names, this is a fruitful experience. I glean something from it.

Not with my name. No, sir. My name is a made-up name. But, you know, the type of made-up name that people don't name their kid after or fashion a new Disneyland nametag for or put in one of those gargantuan "1001 names" books.

But I don't want you to think I am complaining or intimating that I am something special. I am not. I just have names on the brain (mostly Madmartigan), and perhaps that's because, as my wife says, I have "baby fever." It's true. I do. And, for the record, that term is cringe-worthy. Seriously. It's up there with "we're pregnant." No, sir, you are not pregnant. She is pregnant. You are dying inside. She is living inside. There's a difference.

I digress. I do that well. It's true. But I digress. Okay, enough.

The real reason I wanted to write this particular blog post is to show you a few examples of how odd names (my name in this example) can lead to strange and awkward conversation. In my follow-up blog post on names, I'll delve deeper into the meaning of my name. I know you're excited. You will simply have to wait.

So, for now, these are the conversations I've experienced over the years; some of which happen on a daily basis.

Random Person at Nameless Event: Hi. I'm Jason.

Me: Hi, Jason. Non.

Jason leans over to me, faces me with his ears, as though he didn't hear what I said but it's most likely he did and wants to make sure that he's not having a seizure.

Jason: Noah?

Me: No. Non. N-O-N with the line, called a Macron, over the 'O.' Pronounced like K-N-O-W-N.

Jason, at this point, is gauging whether or not I'm playing a practical joke. Either that or he's contemplating fleeing the scene.

Jason: Oh, that's interesting. Is it Scandinavian?

Me: Nope. My parents wanted to make up a name. This is what they chose.

Jason has the 'I'm not sure about this guy or his parents but he seems okay and not entirely like a serial killer so I'll just talk a few moments more just to make certain that he doesn't think I'm blowing him off' look.

Jason: Fascinating. So, would you say...

I see it coming. He's going to do it. Yes, it's coming. The inevitable.

Jason: ...you are well known?

Jason guffaws histerically. I sigh and play along.

Me: Well, I am an international superstar. So, yes. Very well known.

Jason is affirmed, smiles, says "nice to meet you" and walks away.

There you have it. My every day. It may seem like I'm complaining. Believe me when I say that I'm not. I love my name. I love my mother for being part of its creation.

What about you? Do you have an odd or less common name? I'd love to know! Tell me your story. Shoot me an email at nwels[at]subjectplusverbwriting[dot]com.

And stay tuned for the second installment of blog posts about names!

Follow me on Twitter at @SubjectPlusVerb. Facebook. Instagram. Et al.

p.s. I realize that I don't actually include the macron over my name here. It's mostly because I am lazy. Use your imagination. Okay, bye!

Am I an unreliable narrator? Or am I not? You decide!

Am I an unreliable narrator? Or am I not? You decide!