Written by David Vogel Tuesday, 02 January 2007 18:00It's a question that has been asked for centuries. Great philosophers, authors and columnists throughout time have pondered the influences of the title. Even the famous playwright Shakespeare made it a point in one of his most beloved plays, "Romeo and Juliet."
Perhaps you remember this play.
As far as I can tell, Shakespearean works have been studied in schools since way before William "The Bard" Shakespeare was even learning to write simple sentences in his early elementary years. "See Spot Runneth. Runneth, Spot, Runneth!" was considered to be the one masterpiece out of Will's entire first-grade class.
Of course, Shakespeare went on to write even better masterpieces, which brings me back to what I had originally intended to talk about, which was "Romeo and Juliet."
If you will try to unrepress your high school experiences from your memory-and I apologize if these memories include long forgotten, but incredibly embarrassing, moments, including the ones about being snapped by a towel after gym class-I will not be able to figure out how to get this sentence back on topic.
Anyway, you may remember that in "Romeo and Juliet," Act II, Scene I, Line 85, Row 7, Seat 12, Juliet asks a very important question.
Actually, at this moment both Romeo and Juliet are making rather intriguing breakthroughs. Romeo, having trespassed onto the Capulets' property and spying up into Juliet's bedroom, is pondering the harking windows breaking light.
Meanwhile, up on the balcony, Juliet asks this question: What's in a name?
And that's the very question that I am presenting to you.
I ask this because I have been pondering my own name. I thought maybe it might be necessary to legally change it to something more sensible, like Steve, or even Bob.
That's because the name "David" has been troubling me since I was very young.
It seems that "David" is somehow associated with another, less dignified name. Davy, to be exactly.
Perhaps you remember the 1954 movie in which Fess Parker starred as Davy Crockett. Perhaps this doesn't matter.
Whether one remembers the movie or not, the theme song seems to be well pressed into anyone's memories. And even though its tune chills me to the bone and brings back awful childhood taunting, I will, for the sake of clarity, try to refresh your memory with a line from the song.
It went like this: "Davyyy, Daaaaaaavy Crockett, king of the wild frontier."
And if you think that being chased around the playground followed by that haunting melody would not be the worst thing you have ever experienced, then your name obviously isn't David.
Thankfully, for several years the mockery quieted down.
This is comparable to leftover fish. You know that it's lurking in the fridge, somewhere, but you can't see it and you can't smell it. And that gives you a false sense of security, leading you to believe that it will never come back. But suddenly one day it makes its surprise return by appearing on the table, screaming, "Davyyy, Daaaaaaavy Crockett, king of the wild frontier!"
That is exactly what happened with this terrible nickname.
(Digression Alert! I use this comparison because we currently have a Norwegian dish in our fridge called "lutefisk." Lutefisk, as far as I can tell, is made out of a fish-related product, which has been turned into some sort of goo. Eating lutefisk is a Christmas tradition of my cousin's wife's family. Having tired of my dad making jokes about it, she finally just brought him some leftovers. So now we have a Tupperware dish of fishy smelling slop, which is no more edible than industrial sludge, in our fridge. I'm sure it will find its way to our table eventually. End of Digression Alert.)
I believe I was in eighth grade, being a normal, insecure middle school student, when somebody-not to name any names, but I'm pretty sure it starts with a "B" and ends with an "ecky"-walked past and uttered those two horrible words that brought the mockery into my high school years.
(Apparently there are different spellings of the name depending how old you are.)
And the nickname stuck.
Fortunately, I've been handling the nickname well. In fact, I'm now called four different things, broken up, in percentages, as follows: David, 30 percent; Dave, 20 percent; Davie, 49 percent; Vogee Vogel, 1 percent.
Out of those four, my personal favorite is Dave, and I wouldn't mind just officially switching from David to Dave. It sounds more mature, more grownup, more like somebody that you would treat with respect.
It also sounds like an extra "e" vowel would go great at the end of it.
Therefore, I'm seriously considering taking my given name and giving it back, in return for something that won't haunt me for the rest of my life.
Shakespeare was right; one's name definitely affects the way a person is viewed and treated. I'm not sure what I'll change my name to. (I've always thought "Pierre" was intriguing.) But whatever it is, it won't be near as bad as Davie.
However, I think I finally figured out why both Romeo and Juliet killed themselves at the end of the play.
UFO: Iron-fortified milk turns coffee green.
Don't ask why.