I got an email from a friend today and it started out, Mel, or Melvin (Do you use Melvin?) Well it started me thinking about how we name our children when there isn't a hint in hell to tell us if the poor child agrees with our choice. Do you know any Ethyls or Berthas or Stanleys that are fond of their names? Wouldn't Olga rather be little Debbie? When I was born, I was lucky and didn't suffer any unusual traumas and looked kind of cute like a baby boy should look and naturally my mother decided that Melvyn would be a perfect choice for a name. WTF was she thinking. And where was my father when her mind went criss-cross from the pain of childbirth with some good sound advice that he was always spouting off at me? So here's a perfectly normal baby boy, learning to walk and talk with a name like Melvyn. The first thing I learned was to fight, in order to protect myself from the teasing of other kids.
Here is my idea. Why not wait until the child is old enough to have an opinion of his own on his legal name. If that were the way it was, I'm telling you right now there wouldn't be any Melvyns! At some point I decided to change my name to Mike. I was married to wife number 3 and she was in full agreement. From that point on I'd be Mike. It was the new Millennium, the year 2000 and we were invited to a New Year's eve party where there would be 160 people. I decided that it would be my "coming out" party. Whoever we met that night, I'd introduce myself to them as Mike. One couple we kind of hit it off with and exchanged phone numbers to possibly get together with socially. One night about a week after the party the phone rang and the woman caller said, "Hello, Mike"? I politely said, "I'm sorry, but you've dialed a wrong number" and hung up! The lady called back and I didn't know what to say, so I put my wife on the phone.
Getting back to my title. The year is 1973 and we are about to deliver a baby boy, although back then they couldn't tell you the gender until it slid out. I married a woman that had an older sister, Paty. Paty, spelled with just one T and already had 2 boys and they were named Scott and Steven and in keeping with the "S" thing, we named our first son Stuart, a name I never liked and fought against, but lost. We needed to use the letter "S" because my father-in-laws deceased mother's name was Sylvia. So in honor of her, S it had to be. My father-in-law was the worst scoundrel in the history of scoundrels. He lied and cheated and hurt people both physically and every other way possible and I spent many sleepless nights planning a way to eliminate him, but of course never did. He was a thug and we learned after his death that he had done prison time in the Federal penitentiary in Lexington, Kentucky when his daughters were too young to remember. He was convicted of prying open a voting machine to change the totals. He was a low-down in the original Daily Machine of Chicago.
So when I realized that this was the man that we were honoring, I refused to go along with family tradition and we chose Brad's name ourselves. Now that Brad is 39, I seldom miss an opportunity to tell him, that if it weren't for me, he'd be Salvatore!