Have you ever wanted to change your name or pretend you’re someone else? I think it could be fun, even for a day. I had a friend in high school who once spent the entire day touring New York City while talking with a British accent. It was quite funny. I don’t remember what his British name was that day…probably Nigel, or Henry, or Edmund.
I work with a guy who calls me Brian all the time. It must be some sort of old age thing. I have corrected him numerous times but have learned that he is going to continue to call me Brian. So I laugh and call him Steve or George or Frank. The bizarre thing is that I have a brother named Brian and people that knew us would call me Brian all the time. Like my 3rd grade teacher. Or even my dad. Bless his heart. Between three sons, he goes through all our names until he gets it right!
My best friend in high school used to sit by me in church choir. We spent that entire year searching for the perfect name based on the names of the composers that wrote the songs we sang. It all started with the name Krogstad. Almost too good to pass up, so Krogstad started our journey for the perfect name. A little while later, we stumbled upon Horatio. What a fit! Horatio Krogstad. First and last. And then the middle name came toward the end of the year: Beckonhorst. Obviously we had too much time on our hands. Horatio Beckonhorst Krogstad. Only a name a mother could love.
As I look into society, I see many people trying to brand their names. Madonna. Kanye. Prince. Cher. Oprah. Seal. I could go on and on. A blogger I have come to enjoy reading started writing under a pen name. Penelope Trunk. It became her identity so much, I believe she changed her name.
Think about the names of history. Napoleon. Moses. Martin Luther. Hitler. Alexander the Great. Julius Caesar. Shakespeare. Abe. FDR. Some great. Some not so great. But one thing I see in it all is that our lives – every minute, every day, every job, every action, every relationship – tend to be consolidated into those few words known as our name. When people hear your name, they immediately think something. It might be positive or negative. Inspired or disgusted. But it is something that embodies who each of us are.
There is a familiar question out there: What’s in a name? I would say a whole lot. What’s in yours?