Monday, July 17, 2006

Hey You ! ?

Estimable presidential candidate, Elizabeth asks, "Are You Your Name? I think so, but...

Most of my early life, I was know as something other than my given name, Deborah. I was well into my twenties before I know of the biblical connotations. This realization didn't change anything, it was merely an interesting aside. My given name spawned my very first nickname, Debbie.

The middle name, rarely uttered, was in use briefly, during my early artistic years. I don't give voice to this name because the temptation to cannibalize the two into the obvious incarnation might lead to a rather ugly incident.

Per family lore, Mom wanted to name me Clementine and oddly enough it was my dad who lobbied against that moniker. How would life unfolded for me as Clementine? We will never know.

A relative gifted my mom and by extension, me with a designer creation. Similar to Pam and Penny's dress, my frock was brown and white with a bib front and full skirt. Stitched along the hem, Buttons, buttons, whose got the buttons? Oh yeah, there were a hella buttons. Go on, guess who became Buttons for a time?

Rumor has it that as an infant I was quiet. Even as a toddler I was to the far right of gregarious. The remedy for bringing me out of the well-polished shell was Head Start. Well, shell firmly in place even after the Head Start stint, prompted by dad to color me, Gabby. Get it?

As I age, Button waned. Gabby disappeared with dad. Christmas was born of my tendency to finish lunch (well, all meals really) long after everyone else. This name fades as well. Debbie survives through childhood, into high school and a little bit beyond.

Seven trillion Debbies later, I decide during my second year in college, that it is time for Deborah to come home. Family and close friends cling to Debbie for some time afterward but eventually, most came around. Debbie still dribbles from the lips of some who knew me before 1977 and of course I'm treated to *Debbie* whenever some stranger, business or other casual acquaintance decides that Deborah is just not cute or friendly enough.

YM invented the most recent nickname. Solidly Deborah by this time, YM, just learning to speak, proudly and quite loudly, christened me Bubba. Eventually, mom, ma and many variations on the theme made appearances over the years. Bubba remains a sentimental favorite.

In October YL will celebrate her 21st birthday. She blackmailed, ahem, asked me to take her to Vegas. As I have agreed, she submits that I need an alias or two to maximize the experience. Not trusting me to manufacture my own faux persona, she has appointed herself Chief of Pseudonyms. As chief she gets first (and last) refusal of any possible candidates. The first possible, Holly Pennylips is being seriously considered.

Real or pseudo, I've been these and more. Above all else, though, I am simply, Deborah. The name may change but the role remains the same.

6 comments:

  1. I am told that William means helmet/leader/conqueror from the old norse. I am also told that it means warrior.

    Hm. I am my name.

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  2. Clementine?! Ok, that's just wrong. Imagine having to go through life with people singing that song to you ALL THE TIME.

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  3. I am definately more than my name(s)!

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  4. William, were you your name before you *knew* what it meant?

    Elizabeth, I know..life as Clementine! I was sick just thinking about it-when I first heard the story. My yb was almost Eduardo Renaldo (that would have gone over real big in the projects)-talk about a near miss-whew.

    kmae, I have no doubt.

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  5. So how hard did you agonize over your children's names?

    My son will be celebrating his 21st next month. He didn't suggest a trip to Vegas. Y'all are gonna have a ball, particularly if new nicknames are involved! :)

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  6. I was hands off for my son. His dad named him--the only restriction was that he couldn't be a JR.

    My daughter shares my middle name, in fact we have the same initials.
    I didn't think about it at all--I looked at her and her named popped right out.

    We are both pretty excited about the trip and the names. :)

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