What is in a name? Why do we need a name? No one likes to be classified. But look at names. When we are given one, do we struggle to ‘be the name’ or do we struggle to ‘break free of the preconceived notions associated with that name? My father argued loudly in favor of Daphne instead of Christine, but my mother ultimately unveiled the longer sword and my father backed down. I am sure he assumed he would be fed to the lions if he did not, as she frequently roared. Hence, I am not a ‘Daphne.’ My father was a great reader, an armchair politician if you will, who loved Greek literature. Mother simply thought he had dated a hussy named Daphne sometime in the past and wouldn’t have it. Plus it just sounded slutty. Doesn’t it? I too am wrangled in the scuttle about names! Although going through life as a “Christine” put a bit of undue pressure on me as we attended a Catholic Church every Sunday, my dedication to Christ was implied. I was “Christine” after all! But, should we be classified? Should we give our children a name to live under? Are they strong enough to re-define the name? Have we not at all at some time said, “oh yah…she LOOKS like a Christina, or a Charles or Maria? I am afraid we have.
Unfortunately a name affords another person the chance to classify you based on common assumptions associated with the name. Before knowing your nuances, your inner road map, folks are assuming your intelligence, your likes and idiosyncrasies. Yes I can choose a silly name convoluted and forced that may have markers that signify the listener as to my experential road and would simply function better in my life, but I keep the one I was given. Like an arranged marriage.
A name should be given by the named I now believe, with their personal indicators the driving force. So rise up against given names!!! (After we’ve solved global warming, The Afgan War of course, and oh just about a ton of other things we’ve got on our national agenda), and decry the travesty of it all!
1975. The scent of hashish in the air, I look over at my mother who didn’t seem to mind at all. I wonder whether I will get a contact high just sitting there in my seat at Dodger Stadium. I smile at my brother who smiles back and takes a deep breath. It is 1976 and the sun is going down. On my right is a long haired guy with big round glasses and a “Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only The Piano Player” decal T-shirt. I secretly wish I had that shirt and wasn’t instead sporting one that said, “Come Caca” (In Spanish, it means, “EAT SHIT”). Funny at the time, but later quite embarssing, as it looks as if I am proudly calling out the shit from whence it hides. I swoosh the strands of long brown obvioulsy un-attended hair from my forehead and crane my neck to get a glimpse of the stage. We had been waiting for an hour, breathing deep and quietly trading visual forecasts of what Elton would wear and whether “Bernie” would come out on stage or not. Suddenly the soft murmer of laughter, talking, cat calls and the valiant croons of late-comers to their their “seat-saving parties” or vice versa. The crowd is strangely silent, collectively expectant. With a flash of the million-watt stadium lights a Glittery trim Elton bounds across the stage and takes a bow. HELL …LOW…LOS ANGELES!!!!! Elton takes his seat at the piano, the lights flash again and Elton is a blaze of movement. Pounding the piano, … outfitted in spectacle of home team adoration, or at least an admiration of Steve Garvey, a sequined Elton begins to sing. His mouth over the microphone, body seemingly detached from his mouth, Elton’s back rises and falls as he moves from the orchestral opening of the song to the first incredible lines. His head cocked eyes looking sideways and by now singing wildly, the crowd begins to move. I mean really move! We are all singing “Why’s there never light on my lawn?..Why does it rain and never say good-day to the newborn?.” We revel in “Grey Seal” from “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and it has never been so real to me. WE ARE ECSTATIC! WE ARE HERE! WE ARE WITH ELTON! THIS IS MIIDA!! AND WE ARE TOGETHER! and we know we will never have this time again. People are struggling to climb onto the chairs someone uses my back to boost themselves up behind me. I don’t care. I put my hand on some else’s shoulder as I am pushed forward. I don’t mind. I look tentatively at the young man I just made aware of my existence, he smiles as if he knows me, and that we were ALL friends. Sharing something so amazing, so special that nothing else at this point in time matters. We are all helping eachother to be a part of Elton’s show, taking it all in. The air is sweet and musty the sun is going down over Los Angeles and everyone is smiling. We are all moving as one. Our mother is laughing, she has forgotten about selling insurance and making the rent. We hug her and we know that we will never have another time like this, together, our entire lives. I notice someone’s younger sister, clearly one of “The babysat,” still clutching a Tigerbeat featuring a zitty Leif Garrett or maybe it was Shaun Cassidy. No more Tigerbeat for me, I think to myself… I am the brio twelve year old lass proudly holding her copy of “Rock of the Westies.” I resign myself to the fact that I won’t get it signed and quietly tuck the album under my seat. I take my place between my brother and mother and resume singing,” And tell me grey seal How does it feel to be so wise?…To see through eyes That only see what’s real…Tell ell meeeee greyyy seeeeee ul.