"'A rose by any other name...?'
'Would still prick you with its thorns...'"-Joseph Michael Linser
"My name is not me. Not who I am..."-Articulate Lotus Flowing From the Source, or Ed
Next to John or maybe Adam, I have perhaps one of the more common male English language names. And yet, it is disturbingly amazing how many times I have to be re-asked for it, or I am called something else. Well, I mean aside from bastard or mutherfucker. The most common of these being Art, Trevor, Charles, and, my personal favorite, Richard. I mean, do I look like a dick?
Then again, perhaps some questions are best left unanswered...
Most often, Sabina calls me by my middle name of Grey. And there are so many variations of my first name, it borders on comical. I answer to most of them. Well, except for maybe Bob...unless Dirty Old Uncle is put in front of it, but that's another story. Bob was my grandfather's name. My grandfather has a park named after him. Perhaps, when and if I am ever cool enough to have a stretch of open space named after me, I'll consider going by my grandfather's name with a little more sincerity.
I once joked that like the Devil, I've been known by many names. Although, it's not like I've gone about making demonic deals at witching hour crossroads. Besides, I once fucked the Devil's wife, but that's another story.
In some ancient cultures, it was believed that all the power in all the world resided in one's name. Without a name, one did not exist. One friend of mine used to say to summon a demon, one must know its true name, which I'm sure, since he was fond of cliches, and liked quotes perhaps more than myself, was from one of the many books he'd read. There was this one cat, sleazy in nature, whom many of my friends and acquaintances at the the time believed quite sincerely would show up if you said his name three times, al-la Beetlejuice. Another friend of mine was convinced it was a good thing to know someone's full name, seeing it as a magical sign when star-crossed lovers actually knew one another's surnames.
And yet, perhaps because my first name is so bloody fucking common, maybe because of my borderline pathological hatred of labels of any kind, I find the whole power supposedly ascribed to a name to be a bunch of who shot john. After all, it has been observed that whether it's a broken heart or a broken sword, things have only the power one gives them. I do my best not to have much of anything have that kind of power. Then again, there are those who say, like my mother, I am just plumb contrary, which is also a bunch of who shot john. I haven't a contrary bone in my body.
Not too long ago, I had occasion to speak to my benefactor's partner. Just trivial banter. Nothing overly profound. In a roundabout way, the name game got brought up.
"You're Ron, right?" She asked me. Ron was a new one, but I had to let her down by correcting her. To her credit, she did apologize.
"Don't trip," I said. "I used to think I have a really common name, but I figure since it's so often mistaken and misunderstood, it must be one of the most exotic and esoteric monikers out there."
"Actually, I think it's because you're an exotic looking guy, but have such a common name," my benefactor's partner offered. I almost spewed tea from my nostrils repressing the chuckle.
"Bravo for life's little ironies," I said. We parted ways shortly after that.
The memory of the conversation provided me with mental amusement for a bit afterward. It's been awhile since I've been accused of being exotic, and I think she meant it. Of course, I figure by exotic what she really meant to say was aberration; what with being too tall, too skinny, with eyes too big for the rest of my face.