What's in a name?
Everyone has a suggestion for a name when you are having a kid. Perhaps it is human nature to try and give your opinion on what a person should be called for the entirety of that new person’s existence. Something buried deep inside that forces us to give our two cents about the name. Usually it is a suggestion to keep the name alive of ourselves or someone who we love and respect. I get it. Passing on a name can be a small way of keeping the past alive. Essentially making someone immortal.
Recently, we were happy to welcome the sixth member of our little family (yes, dogs and cats do count in that number). We assigned him the moniker Quentin James Clark. I think it is a good name. I think it is a strong name. But, what’s in a name? Here is how Quentin got his name.
Many of those that know me also know that I’m a big fan of movies. So I’m sure your first thought was “Oh, me must be a Quentin Tarantino.” Well guess what, kids? You would be wrong. Not that I have anything against Quentin Tarantino. I think he is a perfectly fine filmmaker. Fortunately, the genesis of Quentin’s name is far nerdier than a simple homage to a well-known film director.
My favorite movie of all-time, without question, is Highlander. I love the movie so much that I dragged a few friends and a fiancee off to see the fictional home of the character in GlenFinnan, Scotland. If you still don’t believe me you can read all about it in a previous blog, There Can Be Only One. I love the movie so much that I knew that if I was to have a masculine child I would want him to be named after the Highlander, Connor.
“But wait, his name isn’t Connor?” You’re right and clearly your observational skills match those of a young Sherlock Holmes. As you may or may not know, Connor isn’t the only Highlander (despite the fact that the tagline for the Highlander universe is There Can Be Only One). If you dig deeper you will see that the Highlander character from the TV series is named Duncan MacLeod.
I know, I know, we still aren’t there. Connor and Duncan just wouldn’t fly with Rizzo. Why? Because she didn’t want a the kid to be called CJ or DJ (more on the “J” later). I tried to use the argument that no one would call the kid CJ or DJ unless we starting calling him CJ or DJ. That sound logic fell on deaf ears. And so, we had to move on to option three.
Quentin. The noble name of the Highlander from the short lived Highlander: The Cartoon. This was a terrible show and that is saying a lot coming from a guy who loves the Highlander Universe. The show is somehow set in the future where immortals can take another immortal’s power without chopping off a head (which is just ridiculous), except the main bad guy who is going back to the old way through the sword. Quentin must fight to stop this evil immortal with the help of Ramirez (a character embodied by Sean Connery) even though Ramirez was already killed in the original movie and again in the sequel. The cartoon even has a weird talking dog/monkey/cat thing that is friend/pet of Quentin because the producers needed to sell toys. Regardless, Quentin is a MacLeod, which makes him a Highlander, which makes the name worthy of any noble child.
Quentin also happened to be Cece’s favorite name of the three. Rizzo and I spent several months asking Cece questions like “Which do you like better, Quentin or Connor?” We changed the names asked and the order of the names to make sure we weren’t giving one name an advantage over the other. In the end, Quentin was the name Cece picked most of the time and so the conclusion was that our young man would be named Quentin.
The name Quentin led me down a path of thought that will seem long and weird but try to bare with me. Along with Highlander, I’m a huge James Bond fan. Yes, I’ve seen the movies. Yes, I’ve read the novels. Yes, I have gone through a phase of drinking shaken, not stirred, martinis but I always thought those were terrible so I’ve grown past that phase. If you are reading this and are even remotely familiar with the James Bond franchise you know where this is going.
Q. As in Quartermaster. As in they guy that supplies James Bond with all those wonderful toys. That watch with the laser that bond uses to cut a hole in the bottom of a train car? He got it from Q. That Aston Martin with the ejector seat and the machine gun headlights? He got that from Q. The famous Walther PPK Bond always carries? Yep, that came from Q. Q is a great identifier, a cultural icon, and the nickname for the little guy.
Q also takes my mind down another path. On the day we found out that we were going to have a boy the topic of names came up. Dad leaned over to me and said, “You know what would be a good name? Terry.” Terry was the name of my dad’s brother; my uncle’s name. I never knew Terry. He was killed while serving his country in Vietnam. I’m very proud of that fact and I’m very proud of my Uncle Terry.
However, I just can’t do the name Terry. I just don’t like the name. I would love to have honored Terry with a naming but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. But there is a bright path that, granted, seems convoluted but in my head makes perfect sense. The James Bond character of Q was originated on screen by the great Desmond Llewelyn. Uncle Terry’s middle name was Desmond. So, while indirectly, I do feel the connection between Quentin and Terry is real.
The middle name of James is a much more straight forward story. My first name is James. I go by my middle name, Wesley. When asked, the tale I tell is that I was named after my two grandfathers, James Luther and Charles Wesley. I don’t ever recall meeting Charles Wesley but I knew, and was very close, with James Luther. So to avoid confusion, I was called Wesley while my grandfather was called James. Really, my grandfather was called Pop.
So we decided to pass on the name James to Q. It was somewhat of a tradition that originated on Rizzo’s side of the family. Cece’s middle name is Kathryn, which is also Rizzo’s middle name as well as the name of Rizzo’s mom; a family name. Rizzo’s dad also shares a middle name with Rizzo’s brother which was also the name of Rizzo’s grandfather; a family name. We wanted to pass on a family name as well, something that Q and I will share the same way that Rizzo and Cece share a name. Thus, James was the logical choice.
There you have Quentin James. A Highlander, a James Bond character, and a family line. It is a good, strong name with lots of meaning to me. What does your name mean? How did you get it?
P.S. I don’t know how I didn’t think of this earlier. Q is one of the most powerful and most recognized foils of Captain Jean Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise in Star Trek: The Next Generation. TNG is one of my all-time favorite shows so it would make sense to name the kid after one of the best characters on that show. It all comes together.