What’s in a Name?

The name of a man is a numbing blow from which he never recovers” – Marshall McLuhan
…..That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” – William Shakespeare

Did you ever get to see the movie “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”? I mean the original, not the one with RMD, Saint Obi and Jim Iyke {if they finally got round to it}; the one from back when Clint Eastwood was still chic-worthy and Eli Wallach had not started receiving mafia-pension. Remember the scene where Eli Wallach (“Tuco”) was busted by a tyrant for taking on a dead guy’s name – purportedly to earn himself thousands of gold coins? When the tyrant’s bodyguard asked him why he did it, his simple answer was “one name is just as good as another”. Of course, the bodyguard later gave Tuco a beating that reversed the operation of his alimentary canal; pumping food back from his belly through his mouth. But, let’s stop there – for the sake of Tuco’s dignity.

Back in my Junior Secondary School (FGC-IK) days, certain names ruled the dorms. There were names like Laboosh, Pillar, Commando, Brogodo, Gibson, Damage, Ozone, Ogomi and Oba-Aro. Laboosh wasn’t an English name, neither was it French – but we all knew what it meant. It meant “terror” to students and staff alike. So, anyone convinced that one name’s as good as the other should try calling LabooshOba-Aro” and see what happens. Did I mention that Laboosh had a fist like an elephant’s foot?

A few individuals under the disguise of aliases have “graced” the global scene. Names like Ultimate warrior, Mr Bean, Mohammed Ali, Pele, Notorious BIG {AKA Frank White, Reggie Miller, Biggie Smalls}, Baba Suwe {well, let’s give the oaf some credit} and Chemical Ali still linger on several lips! On the home front, names like Toothpaste Tuface, Rice 9ice, Toothbrush 2shot, Nutri C Naeto C and WC {whatever happened to the world? When I was growing up, this used to mean “water closet”} hold the airwaves hostage. It doesn’t exactly take much to note that these individuals were not born with such names. So, I’m puzzled; what’s involved in picking a name? Who first called “Edson Arantes do Nascimento” “Pele”? How on earth did “Lesane Parish Crooks” become “Tupac Amaru Shakur”? Do we wait for talkative friends to juggle names till one finally fits – or do we just pick one and say Hi! I’m Suliat. My siblings call me Shebaleshe. My friends call me Sooly-baby, but you can call me Jennifer”?

A man spots a suitable mate and it’s all “Suzie”, “Sugar-pie” and “Honey-bun” – till they tie the knot. After about two kids, she becomes “Mama Junior”. 10 times out of 9, there is more to that than meets the eye ear. The change in nomenclature must have been influenced by some deeper-lying domestic issues. So, asides domestic friction and total necessity (Oh! It’s the 8th day already. We have to tell the guests something), what really influences a name? When it comes to aliases, at what point do people realize birth-names might not be fully suited for their immediate “plans” – I mean, the name will cash the cheques, it’ll save you confusion on school certificates, but it might just not fit into your line of work. Say, I’ve decided to be a reverend father, how would “Randy” sound as a name? Of course, nowadays, no one picks a Goodluck as running mate.Obviously, some names just won’t get the job done. If Mike Tyson had incidentally been named “Gentle Dove”, most of his opponents would have been knocked out in the first round – while still wondering what kind of mother named a boxer “Gentle” {well, he wasn’t born a boxer. Was he?}

A kid sauntered into my office a few days ago in the company of her dad. Work had moved very fast through my desk that day, so I had some time to play the warm colleague. I went “Hello kiddo! That’s a lovely dress you’re wearing. What’s your name?”.  Her answer left me thinking “these kids just don’t know when to play their pranks”. I put her up to some kid-task and then switched over to something else. Two days later, when she paid another visit, I almost went hysterical. Here’s why: A more familiar colleague walked in and casually saidJesusIsLord, how was school today?” I tried very hard to hide my shock from her dad – but I think I did a poor job of that! My head was filled with thoughts that must have somehow sped up my heart-rate and altered the outline of my face. How do you name a kid that? How’s she ever supposed to fill out a JAMB form – particularly if the surname has a few consonants in it? She’s definitely not getting a boyfriend till she’s 92!

The child-naming field is supposed to be a fairly level one; every concerned party gets about 7 months (plus 7 days) to prepare. It’s totally different from when you’re hurriedly trying to open a new e-mail address – and you’ve only got a few minutes to decide {expensive cyber café scenario}. (HR guys see all sorts nowadays; like a certain thisbabyissexy@abc.xyz applying to be their manager!). For the expectant mother, there’s about 7 months. For the rising Rnb star, he has the time between being underground and hitting the lime-light; and for our desperate café-using job-applicant, she’ll have till her ticket runs out to find a fitting name. Yet, similar thoughts run through each of these minds before they can finally say “Call me (or the baby) BlaBlaBla”. “What does this name mean?”, “Is that who I am or want (this child) to be?”

Sometimes, like Tuco, circumstances tell us there’s nothing to a name. For instance, if you’re from a slightly robust family {of like 8 kids}, you’ll sometimes notice that the errand-finger is pointed in your direction – but the uttered name is your brother’s; you dare not refuse. Okay, if you’ve never experienced that, imagine that you just finished dinner with your fiancé and your mom. Then, CRASH! BANG!! BANG!!!, “awon boys” (armed robbers) break in yelling “Your mommy or your wife”. Would you attempt to correct them? {“Ehm! Bros! Ashuallay, you can only call her my wife after we get married. She is my fiancé for now. The wedding is two weeks away and you’re fearfully invited, sir!”}.

The truth is: a name is nothing; a name is anything and a name is everything! Calling a piece of wood cotton wool doesn’t turn it into cotton wool. Dubbing yourself “Money” might make you fell better – but it certainly won’t make you richer. Still, there’s a ton of delight in having a name which sums up the totality of one’s existence! I’m inclined to believe names are the capsules in which our entire mission statements are packaged!

You make the name; the name don’t make you! – remember Jabez?

So, what’s in a name? Quick answer: The bearer!

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This entry was posted in FGCIK, Goodluck, Jabez, Mike Tyson, Names, Pele, Tuco, Tupac and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to What’s in a Name?

  1. "Names are the capsules in which our entire mission statements are packaged!" I like that definition. I am the loling at JesusIsLord. lolA good piece (with so many digressions though). Still I liked it. Youruba will say, "ile la wo kato somo loruko". A name is very important. Name a child a fool… if he doesn't wake up to the reality of that name, he'd remain a fool all his life. Jabez had to wake up to get a new name… This generation have given names to people.. some have been named failure, stupid, silly, dummy… the funny thing however is that they sleep with these names. They rarely wake up to the reality that they can (need to/should) rename themselves after their dreams (well, if they have one) and visions. – LDP

  2. Imisi says:

    @LDP Don't mind me. I was trying to distract you. Guess you didn't fall for it….lol. We all need to wake up – as you rightly pointed out! Thanx!

  3. HexyDre says:

    Nice one, bruv.JesusIsLord?? wOw!

  4. Imisi says:

    @HexyDre Thanx a ton, big bro!

  5. Honey says:

    :)))))))))))))))) I dnt even know what else to say mehn. it just flows. it reads well.. it makes sense… its funny..:))ashuallay.. I wish u could write one/hr.. HN

  6. Chris says:

    how did caspian, mizo and "the mizz" originate….i remember caspian was a wwe character you created whilst "mizo" was a nickname my mumsy called you (only in conversations to me usually), therefore automatically installed in my brain. however my nickname from school "gabriel pronounced GA-BU-REL or GEII-BU wasnt funny. i found it annoying and reacted to it, therefore spurring my "buddies", hyping them up and making them call me it more…it wasnt certified bullying…but hmmmm.

  7. Imisi says:

    @Honey Ahw!!! Thanx plenty plenty! One post per hour? looool!@Chris Cuz! Thanx for dropping by! You know, Caspian is from the Narnia series. Thot my nu character would beat all those ps2 bad guys; and he did – well, thanx to a few cheats! Don't mind mom-c. The 22 names they gave me on the 8th day aren't enough for her! But "Gay-Boo"? Meeeen! Your friends were just mean ….lol

  8. Nice write up. Really sums up all about the naming thing. Actually, may be tupac didn't like the name he was given and he decided to give himself one-likewise the others. My parents named me sule. I call myself biggy. But just like u said, a name is nothing, a name is anything and a name is everything! Names do sometimes define us. Had a senior back in schoool days. parents named him endurance, he changed his in(ss2) to favour. wonder why a parent would name his child endurance. People don't endure good things, do they? Luv the mama junior thing. wonder how sweetie quickly turns to 'mama junior' or 'iya yi'……….to be continued

  9. Moninuola says:

    How I wish Kanayo can be somehow lured to this spot. The conclusion in the above treatise was that you make a name and a name does not make you. But can a name destroy? A good programmer will know that one of the pillars of object oriented programming is encapsulation. Most times, the tool we use to encapsulate humans is their names. What is encapsulated in that name might have been what you meant by making (stuffing, packaging,defining)a name. For the time being I will agree with you until I can get more facts. Try to get A.K.

  10. Imisi says:

    @Muyi Thanx oh! Looool! Endure somin good? LWKMD4H@Fola Look at you! AK got here days before you! loool. I'm waiting to be further enlightened by those facts oh!. Just don't blow my head with hardcore OOP. loool

  11. akinlolu says:

    nice work there…just be careful and run for toothpaste, toothbrush and rice coz if they catch u…they're so gonna soak u head in a WC….lolkeep doing it bro

  12. Imisi says:

    @Akin Sorry I can't post a proper response. I'm currently running from toothpaste. He's saying every action has "implications"!….lol. Thanx, bro

  13. olumide says:

    Nice end to such an article. Point of fact indeed that Jabez never changed name but changed his personality such that Sorrow now meant joy unlike Nabal who retained folly and died that way.

  14. Imisi says:

    @Loomie Loool. That Nabal guy didn't try at all oh! He just stepped to Oga David like that! See where it landed him!

  15. alex says:

    gr8 post they were,shows we still have big brain that could give the necessary spark 4 d needed revolution,lets c if we can get those so call stars c wer they got their adopted name 4rm… wat do u tink guys!!!

  16. Moninuola says:

    Life is a multifaceted gem and our opinions often depend on the side from which we look at it. I once heard someone who moved with reputable magicians (real ones and not charlatans)said that magic works by knowing the real name of things in this universe. That is why you often see true herbalist chanting some rubbish to make their stuffs work. I am not a magician so I might not be able to say much. Another facet is Psychology. The psychological effect of a name can perform wonders and it can also do otherwise. At least, if magic is not scientific, psychology is.

  17. Imisi says:

    @Alex Thanx@Fola U're back with the facts? You've been watching too much DSTV (channel 118). Looool! Thanx for sharing

  18. alex says:

    am stil rily getin stuned @ dis work thumbs up guys

  19. Imisi says:

    @Alex Meeeen! Thanx a zillion. You almost making me cry! loool. Thanx. Stay sharp for the next post!

  20. Uche says:

    yo! Dude,nice piece you got here well i guess a name is what u want it to be could be anything,back in high skool hey u were there, cos of my surname(Amah) seniors called me hammer even chiesel lmao,in unilag i count even count chill i think i remeber some uchekuchey,uchenwa,dat ibo boy :),cos of ma glasses oju igo…….girls cald rocksteady dnt knw y so dnt ask :),uchman,my chick calls me ashawo 4kobo yeah i know, dey r plenny but hey dey r just names but its what u make it!……Neways Nice job wish i culd come up with 'ish like dis….as my click in lag wuld write YHIT!!!(your head is there)

  21. Imisi says:

    @Uche: Ehhya! Thanx a lot. I'm still reeling with laughter from those names…lol. I'm pretty convinced you'd do a much better job than this if you put in a little effort. Thanx again!

  22. blogoratti says:

    Names…the window to the soul,or something along those lines!

  23. Imisi says:

    @blogoratti: Thanx for dropping by. Very poetic words!

  24. darol2020 says:

    ……so vry true…names define us u said…drs a case of a father who named his 3 children 'JesusIsLord, JesusIsKing' and 'JesusIsMine'….lol imagine…

  25. Imisi says:

    @darol2020: And here was I thinking I'd seen the worst! LWKMD

  26. marian assin says:

    jesusislord? are u 4real? lwkmdfh. dat prt is my favrit

  27. Imisi says:

    @Marian: For real oh! But, if you're ever in the market for a good laugh, check out @darol2020's comment! looool. Thanx

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