Say Your Name
Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you have the choice, would you rename yourself?
You know my name: James Wesley Clark. Everyone knows that my name is Wesley and I go by Wes. Not everyone knows that my legal first name is James. There is a (not very good) story behind my names. Want to hear it? Too bad I'm going to tell you anyway.
My Dad, Dave, as many of you are well aware served his country with honor in the United States Army. As a result, my family was blessed with the best health care service tax dollars could provide in 1979 at Fort Gordon, GA. The federal government is known the world over for providing nothing but the best medical care for those willing to sacrifice their lives in defense of their country. It should come as no surprise to you to know that the doctors at Fort Gordon used nothing but the most modern techniques when revealing to my parents that in December 1979 they would be welcoming a brand new baby girl.
I imagine that the doctor performed the following tests on my Mom to determine that she was having a girl.
- Heart rate: My little baby heart rate must have been over 140 beats per minute. What they didn't know is that I was in the womb constantly shadowboxing which was keeping my heart rate up.
- Urine Test: As everyone knows, if you are having a girl then your pee becomes extremely bright. It must have been like staring at the sun every time my mom went to the bathroom with how girly I turned out.
- Sweet Treats: Mom must have been consuming gallon after gallon of rocky road because the sweeter the tooth the baby will clearly be a girl.
- Car Key: The doctor asked my mom to pick up his car key and Mom picked up the key by the narrow part so science dictated that I was to be a girl.
After going through all of these gruesome and highly scientific tests my parents had the challenge of picking names for a daughter. They already used up all the girls names they could remember on their 5-year-old daughter, my sister. How in the world could they possibly be expected to come up with two more names for a girl?
The solution was simple. My Mom had a mom named Mary. My Dad had a mom named Katherine. Why don't we throw the names together and name her Mary Katherine? The perfect name was created.
Time dragged on and I grew in my mom's tummy (that's how it works, right?) December 1979 rolled around and my due date came and went. In 1979 at a military hospital there was no such thing as induction so after some false labor my mom was sent home. Then she went back. Then she went home. After about 6 or 7 dozen visits to the hospital and a month late I was finally born.
I know it must have been a beautiful day at Fort Gordon, GA around 2:00am on January 23rd. After I was born my dad was finally be allowed back in the delivery room. Fathers weren't allowed in the delivery room back then because in ancient times it was believed that if a father ever actually witnessed a child being born they may die of shock. I can just hear the conversation now as my dad finally walks into the room and holds me for the first time.
Mom: Dave, look at her. She is beautiful. Hold her (Mom hands me to Dad).
Dad: She is amazing. You did such a great job, Sue. I love you.
Mom: I love you. Her name is perfect. She looks just like my mother.
Dad (taking a closer look): Sue, Mary has a penis.
Mom (confused): What do you mean she has a penis? Girls don't have penises, do they?
Dad: I'm no doctor but I'm pretty sure that girls don't come with a penis.
Doctor: Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that. It's a boy.
Dad: When did you plan on mentioning this?
Doctor: I figured you'd notice sooner or later. She's got to get a bath sometime.
Mom: You mean he?
Doctor: Yeah sure, whatever. I'm pretty drunk.
Dad: Well, I guess we should come up with a different name.
Mom: We should name him after the cross-dressing corporal on "M.A.S.H."
Mom: Yeah, how about he call him Klinger?
Dad: How about we just use the same method as before. James after your father and Wesley after mine.
Mom: Then we can still name him after the cross-dressing corporal but just use the actor's name. You know, Jamie.
Dad: No way I'm calling her Jamie. Lets just call him Wesley.
Mom: Yeah sure, whatever. I'm pretty drunk.
That is how I got the name James Wesley. I was called Wesley because I was always around my grandfather named James so I was called Wesley just to be different (at least that is what I tell myself). Things worked out well with my name. I wouldn't change my name if given the chance.
However, I would be willing to rent my name to corporate sponsors. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in a five-year lease on my name. Summer's Eve Clark. It has a nice ring to it.
P.S. Some of the information provided above has been exaggerated for comedic affect. I'm sure that my mom's doctor in the delivery room was way too stoned to drink.