Saturday 10 December 2011


I was playing with my grandson Hurricane today and for no apparent reason he started to recite all of the names that he is known by. Counting “Hurricane” he had five other names that he is know by, and he is only four. I asked him if he knew what my name was and he said without any hesitation, “Your name is Poppa”. When he and his brother had left and after my obligatory nap, I started to think of all the names that I have been known by.

I don’t know this for a fact, but I imagine that the first name I was called would have been “It”. That was before mom and dad decided on Kenneth. It is funny how many people have names like Kenneth that are never really used except on formal occasions like when you break a window, or the principal is referring to your poor grades. I was “Son” when my dad was proud of me which wasn’t as often as I would have liked. Kenneth turned into Kenny and stayed that way for quite a while. I grew into it and quite frankly it wasn’t a really unique name that mom and dad picked. In grade five there were five Kenny’s in the class and we were each put in a different row so the teacher could just ask the question to Kenny 3 or if she wanted the wrong answer she would ask Kenny 5.

I am not sure when I became Ken (never to my mom) but I guess it was in high school. I was also referred to a “Harrison” and the odd time as “asshole”. It is a funny thing that very good friends, the kind that probably know you better than you know yourself will often just use your last name or nothing at all. To my good friends I am “Buddy”, “Hey” and “You”. Sometimes I will go weeks without anyone saying my name, and I am often surprised when I hear it.

I picked up more than a few nicknames when I was working. I have been “The Black Diamond Kid” because I lived in Black Diamond. That was later shortened to “Diamond”, because letter carriers are inherently lazy and that saved three words. I was “Toronto” because one day someone was talking about something I did or said and referred to me as “The guy from Toronto with the beard.” That one stuck the longest I think. In Kitchener I was called “Hat” because I …well…wore a hat all the time. I never said that they were clever names.

Once I worked with a guy that called me Dave for three months. I knew who he was talking about, so I tried out “Dave” for a while until someone blew my cover. It was nice being someone else. For the last thirty years, I have been dad. During that time I have also been Co-ordinator Ken, Coach, Scouter Ken, and Secretary Ken and the name “Asshole” has popped up from time to time on a more or less regular basis.

When I have internal talks with myself I am almost always Ken, but the odd time I am asshole as well. We have many names as we walk through this life, and we answer to them all depending on where in our life line we find ourselves at that moment. I have forgotten some of the names that I have had, and I am sure they will pop into my mind tomorrow, when it is too late to get into the blog.

Of all the names that I have gone by, the one that gives me the most joy is the last one, “Poppa”.

1 comment:

  1. I still think of you as Toronto, somehow it seems right to me! B