Southern Naming Comes Back to Haunt

It’s coming back to haunt me. Being named ‘”southern,” I was given two names, both of which are abbreviations of full names. I lived with the sing-song “Larry Don” until I was old enough to eliminate one name, and move far enough away so that no one knew me by my two nicknames.

I wasn’t the best of children. I learned early on that when an adult called out my two names in a high pitch emphasizing a hard “D,” it meant I was in trouble. Likely as not whatever I’d done they’d found out. On the other hand, if they slid past the “y” and into a soft, staccato “D,” it was almost melodic. I liked that best.

Part of my lack of enthusiasm about the two names was that I wasn’t alone. There were Larry Genes, Gary Dons and Jerry Dons galore in my neck of the woods. Seemed like a lack of creativity to me.

I had a friend in West Texas whose parents showed real imagination. Herman Caesar Augustus. Now that’s a name with destiny. It carries expectation.

I thought about Lawrence. But it seemed presumptuous. To be a Lawrence you need a yacht and boat shoes. We lived in the dusty high plains of West Texas. It didn’t work.

All of this reflecting was inspired by the TSA. The Transportation Safety Administration says our boarding passes must be identical to our photo IDs.. They want to know me by my full name. Well, actually they don’t care so long as it’s consistent. But my driver’s license is Larry Don and my passport says Larry D. Hate that.

Either way, I’m caught. And it’s beyond protest.

I wonder what Herman Caesar Augustus is doing these days?


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