You want to know a secret?

Too bad.  I’m telling you anyways.

I hated my name growing up.  I mean I really, really hated my name.  Who names their kid, “Mr”, anyways?  Well, by now you must know my first name is not really, “Mr.”, “dear sir” or any other salutation.

While I was growing up, “Wayne” was a name reserved for cowboys, hockey players and Englishmen (it does make sense as the name does have English origins).

Somewhat surprisingly, I didn’t get made fun of my name.  That is, with the exception of a troubled older teacher who got her kicks calling me “Wayne The Pain” (not that I hold a grudge or anything) and a pig-tailed spectacled girl who used to call me, “Waaaaaayyyyynnnneeee.” I still get shivers when I think of her.  Mike Meyers had nothing on her.

Kids thrive on targeting other kids for anything that is unusual.  I was always the only kid in my class, and, later, in high school, with the name and kids love to target other children for being different.  The interesting thing is I never heard any jokes about my name until high school when someone noticed it was such a “country name”.  Thank you?  But, I found a way around that too.

Everyone knows the remedy to ridicule is humor.  The fact I made my bones being the class clown and a general malcontent helped me become accepted.  In fact, I earned the nickname, “Killer” (no, that’s not a typo).  We all knew one growing up I suppose.  This became my moniker and a facade for me to hide behind.  Fear not, I was about as much of a “killer” as “Doctor Dre” is a physician.

“Brian”, “Scott”, “Stephen”, “Dave”, why couldn’t my parents have picked a common, accepted name like that?  It made me even more incredulous when I learned I was almost named, “Kevin” or “Sean”.  You know a “normal name.”  The answer is I am a “jr”.  So it was a family name.  Why do we do that?  Have we become that unoriginal?  I love my dad and I’m glad to share his name (now).  But, I’d love him just as much if he named me, “Melvin” or “Mark” or any other name for that matter.  It’s just a name and that is when I finally had my “aha moment.”  A name is just a name.

My name would actually become “cool” or mainstream as I got older in large part due to the popularity of “Wayne’s World”, Wayne Gretzky and, of course how could I forget, Lil’ Wayne.

It’s funny how we assign descriptions to names.  “Heather” or “Olga” are considered pretty by many people.  OK, I was joking.  No one likes the name “Heather.”  This, I suspect, is based on how a name sounds and who we think of when we hear a name.  It’s why you don’t see a lot of Voldemorts running around.  Oops.

I think it’s fairly common for children to dislike certain things about themselves, many things which they had no control over to begin with.   Hair color, freckles, height (or lack thereof).  These are all things kids can do little, if anything, to change.  At least you can change your name.  Or, hope you get a cool nickname.

44 thoughts on “What’s In A Name?

  1. Thank you! I have grown to love my name and John Wayne was one of my favorite actors during my youth. It was funny because I would like anyone who had the name Wayne (Wayne Gretzky, Wayne Newton, etc)

  2. Haha! Love it. Well imagine my name Tawny, which is a color and also the name of a video vixen back in the 80’s! When meeting men, they would say ohhh like “Tawny Kitaen”. Yikes!! Yes, like that. Uhhhh mom why? But I have embraced it. My middle name is Annese which I kinda wish was my first, but that’s for a future blog.

  3. Ha ha that is a great story! Our names are one of the few things about us we don’t get to choose. Its especially hard when we share the name of a cheesy video starπŸ˜€ I like the name Annese as well.

  4. Thank you for the thoughtful comment, Abby. I think a lot of kids feel this way, especially when there is such a pressure to fit in or seem “normal”. My sister had a beautiful dog named Abby. So I’ve always loved the name ☺

  5. As Shakespeare so aptly had Juliet say, “What’s in a name?” The irony is that children and adults lament so many things about themselves that they cannot change but rarely consider the things they can. Thanks for sharing your secret with us.

  6. What a cruel teacher, to call you that.
    ‘Killer definitely sounds cooler!!
    I’ve had a kazillion nicknames in my lifetime, so far. Some worse than others!!
    Nice analysis of what names stand for. True, when you hear a name, an image forms in your mind!!

  7. Yeah she was a jerk! I would never do that to a child. I also think times have changed for the better in most ways. I don’t think most teachers are like that these days. Thank you!

  8. hahaha nice to know the story behind the name… At first I thought you are fan of Batman franchise and so you took this name.. haha Fine name πŸ™‚

  9. I don’t think I have ever known a Wayne. I knew a Dwayne. And he was definitely a “Dwayne” whatever that is. Anyway, it is nice to finally meet a Wayne. My “real world” name is Lisa so it would be nice to have something that was a little more unique.

  10. I think it’s common for kids to not like their name. I’ve actually noticed quite a few comments stating this. We’re just so self conscious as children and especially as teens. As we get older these things don’t seem to matter as much. Thank you, Jay!

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