Monday, August 15, 2005

Names I Really Just Don't Like - Chapter 1

The sperm donor REALLY likes the name Damon. Damon is a nice name, and actually flows quite well with our ethnic, I-don't-have-a-damn-clue-how-to-pronounce-this-so-I'm-going-to-botch-it-up last name. In fact, according to Lunatic Girlfriend's Google game (which is really fun to do with the names of all of your friends!), Damon is "front and center," Damon is "greek for 'constant one'," and Damon is "a warm hunk." Funny - I think those all may have applied to Matt Damon.

My dislike for the name Damon reaches all the way back to the first grade. I know what you're thinking: "Boy, that chick has some issues." Yes. Anyway, when I was in the first grade, I had the chicken pox. I remember it quite vividly, because I was ill with the dreaded pox over the Thanksgiving holiday. I have always enjoyed Thanksgiving. For many years, my family would travel to a different city to visit my grandmother and aunt, and have Thanksgiving dinner at my grandmother's house. When I was a kid, the football teams for the University of Texas and Texas A&M would duke out their ultimate rivalry on the actual Thanksgiving Day, not on the day after like they do now. We would ALWAYS watch this game. My grandfather, who died when I was about 3, was an Aggie from A&M. He was even in the Corps, and we have a photo of him with all of his siblings in which he is wearing his Corps uniform. Needless to say, my grandmother was a little partial to those Aggies. My mother, however, graduated from the University of Texas, and my father was a professor there (and, I might proudly add, their king supreme band geek). I made my first limestone Bevo sculpture before the age of ten. So, there was the intense rivalry being played out on my grandmother's tiny TV sets (one in the kitchen for the cooks, one in the living room for me and my dad) and the fun rivalry right there in my grandmother's home.

This is, by the way, how I became a football geek.

I remember that Thanksgiving, the one in the first grade. I was miserable. I remember the fever. I remember how itchy I was. I remember that nothing tasted good and nothing seemed like any fun. I remember my mother taking care of me. I remember wanting to go to my own home, and sleep in my own bed.

When I was in the first grade, we had the little rectangular desks, the ones where you sat on one side of the desk, according to which hand you could write with, and all of your books, pens, rulers, crayons, etc. went on the other side. My elementary school teachers were notorious for pushing these desks into little groups of four or five instead of the traditional rows. I remember always being upset because my friends would be in different clusters of desks. Across from me, in my little cluster of desks, in that fall season of first grade, sat Damon. Damon had the chicken pox right before Thanksgiving. I remember he was absent for several days, then, upon his return, he was covered with all of the little scabs, the remnants of the dreaded pox. Unfortunately for me, he wasn't cured.

I have tried over the years to have a little sympathy/empathy for little Damon. Perhaps he insisted on going back to school because he was bored and missed playing with his friends. Perhaps he had a working mother, who simply was not able to take more time off work to be with her sick son, back in the days before the FMLA. Perhaps our teacher called his parents and threatened to flunk him since he had missed so many days (although I doubt that seriously. Mrs. E. was always very nice). Maybe his parents just thought he was well.

No matter the reason, how could I possibly name my child Damon??? Again, nice name. But the repeated trauma of remembering the chicken pox every time I call my child's name is more than I can imagine. It's a little closer to PTSD than I'm willing to get.

Sorry, Sperm Donor. I love you anyway.

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