Visited the blog of a buddy from the UK, nuvofelt, earlier today. She had an interesting post about names given children by their parents. As I indicated in a comment to her, I’d not heard of any of the 10 she mentioned. And I wondered if weird names are dependent upon the countries in which we live. Cited in her post, http://chittlechattle.wordpress.com/2011/07/23/10-names-im-glad-i-didnt-give-to-my-children/ were names like Xenopad (too close to “xenophobia – an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of anything foreign” according to Webster’s), Zasparilla (sounding like sarsaparilla – a favorite soda pop in vintage America), Euginity (oops!…much too close to virginity…imagine the teasing), Endeavour (the last space shuttle launched by the U.S….either very intelligent-sounding…or a put-down waiting to happen), Manville (very British, I’m sure…although nowadays with man caves being one of real estate’s “must haves”…hmmm), Wimbush (wimpy, wimpy, wimpy…once part of a TV commercial), Timber (school kids yelling “Timber!!!… all the time…yikes!) Badlington (sounds like the bad guy in a Winnie the Pooh story) Scoop (again, school kids saying “Gimme a scoop of ice cream!” “Hey! What’s the latest scoop?”…kids can be murderous, especially when new kids try to trespass…and even when they don’t), Persephone (according to Greek mythology, she was the “bringer of destruction”…not a bad name…kind of a warning to one and all “Keep out of my way, or else!”…real security…would name another daughter that…in my next life…or maybe my daughter will consider it…hmmm…)
Nuvofelt’s post got me thinking about my own name, not the one I go by but the one my father left me as his only legacy. You see, he died when I was one. What was he thinking??? Saddling me with the name Mildred was like setting me up as the stereotypical librarian with thick, horn-rimmed glasses and a bun at the back of my head. Yuck! Yuck! Yuck! To this day I cringe at the thought…or sight…or both. Perhaps in my revolt, I’ve taken to revolting against type all my life.
When I was a sophmore in high school, Julie Andrews‘s movie “Thoroughly Modern Millie“ hit the theatres. Forever after seeing that film, I embodied all that I took away from it. I became the dancing fool, doing the “mashed potato” walking to and from classes, to and from the cafeteria, even standing in one place. Since I didn’t see myself as the cool and beautiful Mary Tyler Moore character, I became the funny, slap-happy, goof-ball that was Andrews’ character. Thanks to the role, I’ve been a standup comic ever since…in real life, not on some theatre stage. Although lately I’ve been toying with the idea…hmmm…
My brother Ben told his son and daughter-in-law, after they’d met me a couple of years ago, that my zany behavior was owing to the fact that I’m an eccentric. Let’s see, Webster says that means I’m ” adj. 1. unconventional, as in behavior; odd. 2. not having the same center. 3. not situated in the center. 4. having the axis away from the center. 5. deviating from a circular form. -n. 6. an eccentric person. 7. a disk with an off-center axis of revolution that converts rotary motion to reciprocating motion.
I think I like the 7th definition about my so-called eccentricity. I don’t proceed as is expected in life, as others think I should. I generally prefer asymmetry to symmetry in the way I decorate, the way I dress, the way I view others, and life in general. I haven’t walked a treadmill in how my life has unfolded; I’ve taken detours, reassessing my choices depending upon previous outcomes. I often expect the unexpected, and try to manage my life accordingly. I guess my life has been a reciprocation of what’s been handed to me, and what I’ve dished back in response.
Mildred conjures up an image of staid behavior. I’m neither sedate nor solemn. Even in my solemnity I can be a whirling dervish, with whom you wouldn’t want to mess. Webster also defines “staid” as decorous. The only decorum I observe is in church…but even then my eyes and mind wander…everywhere. Even when I appear quiet and serene on the outside, my innards are bouncing about with a joy for life. There’s still so much to experience…and so little time to accomplish it all.
As to my name? Why would I want to be staid and stuffy Mildred, when I can be…