Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Kicking Ass, Taking Names

I've never been unhappy with my name. It seems simple to me; straightforward. It may only be four short letters long, but there's two syllables crammed in there. Plus, I got that really cool 'Y' in there too. Is it a vowel? I don't know! Sometimes I suppose... Very mysterious.

But the primary reason I've never disliked my name is the fact that there are really no longer versions of it. Ryan. That's it. Done. That's me.

Let's say, for example, I was born a 'Jim'. As a young boy, I would no doubt be known to everyone as Jimmy. "Hey Jimmy!" they'd say, "Let's go ride our bikes until dark, you doodiehead." I would remain as Jimmy until my mid-to-late teens, when I would begin taking on more adult-oriented responsibilities. "Dad, it's Jim now. Call me Jim. I'm not a little kid anymore." Jim it is. "Hey Jim!" they'd say, "Let's go drive around and get fucked up, you shithead!"

One day, perhaps in my late twenties or early thirties I will marry. My wife and beautiful but unplanned daughter would expect me to be the dependable one. Fully responsible and defined. Intellectual, mature and elegant. Times have changed. Please, call me James. I am not that crazy little bike-riding troublemaker anymore. Nor, am I the carefree naive young man I once was. I am a grown-up man with a grown-up life in a grown-up world. And my name is James. "James!" they'd say, "Come on over for some tea and cookies! And bring the family, you old dog."

Not me.

I was born a Ryan. I grew up as Ryan. I suffered through my teens as Ryan. I am still Ryan. I will always be Ryan. There will be no longer versions of my name in order to make myself sound more important and mature. There will be no having to correct people at every family reunion of name changes. My name will always be the same, and I find a sense of comfort in that.

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