Sunday, November 20, 2005

banana fana fo fina

Most people tell me they like their names. I think that your name becomes somehow inexorably intertwined with your inner core in a substantial way. Looking at it with distaste would be like finding fault with the appearance of some aspect of your cardiopulmonary system or something.

I have often wondered, is it stressful, therefore, to be an Elizabeth or David or any other name that is frequently tossed around? Or do these people feel the same warm and tender stroke of their inner-personhood when they come across their special (but not really all that special) set of letters?

And, conversely, if you have an unusual name (without it being off-the-wall bizarre or off-putting), is there a less modest reaction when you hear or see it articulated or scribbled somewhere? Do you have a sweeping grin stretching from one organ to another as you think to yourself “wow, this one’s about me?”

I almost never encounter any Ninas. When a Nina does wind up in the same space as I am, I have a hard time believing she is a Nina. I see her more as a nina or maybe Nina, but never Nina.

Man, does my gut feel possessive about that little letter combo. And why shouldn’t it? Nina has stayed with me my entire life. It has followed me from the principal’s office (“Nina, you have to do as Miss Kaufman asks you to do in music class. You are not to drop the music book on the floor with a bang, no matter what you think of her request.”), to the county courthouse (“making an appearance, along with her attorney, Nina L.C.”).

It is, therefore, strange and disconcerting when I come across the name randomly, unexpectedly, brazenly. It happened this afternoon, at my local little Italian deli. I’m still recovering.

Madison Nov 05 405