Thursday, 21 August 2014

Kenneth, Kenny, Ken and Paul


I was born without a name.

You were born without a name.

We all were, but eventually, our parents decided what the perfect name should be. Most of the time, the prospective parents are convinced of the sex that their child will be, even though they say it doesn’t matter. Because of this they either don’t have names for a boy or they don’t have names for their new baby girl whom they were sure would be a boy. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter because they have a brand new human and they always do pick a name.

Often the name seems strange to everyone else, but for some reason the name will eventually fit like a glove. When we were expecting our first child, I thought that Thaddeus would be a great name for my new son. No one else did, but I thought that having a name that meant “courageous heart” would help a child of mine along in the world. It turns out that Thaddeus was a girl and her name became Arwen. Possibly no better than Thaddeus, but she seems to have grown into it.

I don’t know what my parents thought I was going to be, but I ended up as a “Kenneth”. No one has ever called me “Kenneth” for any length of time; it is just a name for official documents and angry police officers. Mom and dad always called me “Kenny”, and I was “Kenny” to my teachers, friends, relatives and even strangers until I became a teenager. I don’t think I ever gave much thought to my name; it was just what people said when they wanted to talk to me or about me.

I can’t remember when I became “Ken”, but it must have been in high school. “Ken” is much less formal than “Kenneth” and teenaged “Ken’s” get beaten up far less than “Kenneth’s” do. I have pretty much stuck with “Ken” since then, and I imagine that “Ken” will be the name on my obituary. The death certificate will have “Kenneth”, but I don’t plan on answering anyone after my death. I was “Paul” for a few months, but that was because a co-worker made a mistake and I didn’t correct him. He eventually found out what my name was and never called me “Paul” again. I kind of miss being Paul, but all good things must end.

I grew into “Ken” just as my kids have grown into their names, and just as you have grown into yours. I have a relatively new grandchild that is busy growing into her new name. She will probably struggle a little with her name and there is a good chance that her friends will give her a nickname. People in our family tend to have creative friends who do their best to fit a new name to go over top of the old name. Time will tell I suppose and I look forward to who she will become. I have already given her a nom de plume in this blog of Tsunami, but that would be an odd name for such a beautiful little girl.

I don’t call myself anything inside my head, unless I am discussing just how stupid “Ken” had been. Thankfully, I know who I am talking to and the inner me knows when he is being talked to.


I know my name…

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