Ed’s note: Don’t forget to read letter No. 46. I posted/wrote it yesterday on a whim because of the irony. By the way, My Play Mother hated her first name as well because no one could pronounce it though it was simple. Most people know her by her middle name.
I can empathize with your situation. I used to be one of you. As a teen, I despised that people would call me “Damien” and not “Damon,” even after I just introduced myself. My name is not that hard to pronounce.
I often thought to myself: “Self, if I say my name to a person, how can he/she try to correct me on the pronunciation of it? It’s my name.”
Besides, Damien is that devilish kid from the “Omen.” That is not my name nor what I wish to represent.
Before I left for college, the problem got so serious that I decided that I would go by my middle name. I got to my first class, Italian I*, and introduced myself to my instructor and class as “Scott.” But I never told anyone else to call me that. My class called me by my middle name for my entire freshman year.
I can’t tell you how many times I blanked out when a classmate called my name because everyone outside of the that class knew me as Damon. Sometimes, my teacher would really need to scream at me (some Italians really do incessantly raise their voices).
My plan to change my name failed. But my friends called me a myriad of other things: D, D-Man, Big D, Tenacious D, Dame, Vic Damone Jr. and D. Scott. There are a few more out there. But these are the ones that still illicit response.
But I no longer have a disdain for my name. See, I stumbled upon the meanings of my name. It made me appreciate it and my grandmother Darlene who named me (our initials match). Damon means “to tame,” which I find perplexing.
There’s also an interesting Greek tale about two friends, Damon and Pythias. They lived on Syracuse in 4th Century B.C. Pythias was sentenced to death, but asked the king at the time to let him go free to tend to his personal affairs before his execution. Damon agreed stand in Pythias place until his friend returned. Amused by it all, the king allowed Damon to serve as collateral just to see if Pythias would comeback. Pythias returned just before Damon was set to be executed. Their friendship’s faithfulness impressed the king so much that he threw out Pythias’ sentence. Both men were set free.
When I first read that story, I stopped disliking my name for the reasons I listed earlier. To me, Damon means to be a good friend.
If you don’t know yours, learn the meaning behind your name. Don’t know where to start? Go to Behindthename.com.
If you have a parent who decided to just start throwing together syllables or you’re one of Sarah Palin’s kids (naming her kids is the only thing Palin accepts responsibility for doing), I can’t help you that much. Ask your parents. If they can’t tell you … *crickets*
Try your middle name. If that doesn’t work, a name change wouldn’t be the worst thing… Or you could define your name through the vessel that is your life. That’s how these name things came about anyway, right?
Your Friend Damon
P.S. Humor the gallery with names that make you *smh* — celebrity or otherwise — in the comments, please. If you have a similar story, please do tell.