Month: June 2008

what’s in a name?

have you ever uttered the sentence: “funny, he/she doesn’t look like a ?” i met a (black) man named shamus with a last name that is equally irish. it set me to thinking. our parents (presumably) carefully select a name that will reflect who we are, or who they would like us to become. i did not have a name for the first week or so of my life. my mother wanted to see what type of personality i had instead of giving me a name and hoping that it fit. i was “bright eyed and bushy tailed” to hear her tell it, and emerged into the world curious and ready for something new, so she named me Eshe, Swahili for “life.” how much of who we are is determined by the name that we carry?

i have often met people who didn’t seem to match their names. i have known certain names where the bearers share similar characteristics (i would never name a child bertha). many a person has renamed themselves upon reaching adulthood because they felt mismatched with their given name. there is a certain power in naming something. a thought, a feeling, person can seem intangible until you give it a name. on several occasions, i have struggled to find the words to convey an emotion, and once i found them, i felt more at peace. God gave man the great responsibility of naming all that he had created. are people trapped in the wrong name doomed to a life of feeling out of place? it must be terrible to wake up every day feeling…not yourself.

if you can speak things into being, and i believe that words carry weight well beyond what we are willing to admit, then by haphazardly naming a child, a parent does them a great disservice. we spend so much of our lives trying to find ourselves, that adding a name mismatch to the equation is just cruel. to all people: choose your words carefully, and to the parents: name your children wisely.

“Well then, if i’m a Namer, what does that mean? What does a Namer do?…When I was memorizing the names of the stars, part of the purpose was to help them each to be more particularly the particular star each one was supposed to be. That’s basically a Namer’s job. Maybe you’re supposed to make earthlings feel more human.”

–Meg/Cherubim, A Wind in the Door, Madeleine L’Engle

dj snobbery

i am just going to go ahead and admit it. i am a dj snob. unapologetically so. i don’t care if a place is empty, if i’m loving the dj, it’s a great night. i have lived in arizona for almost three years now, and i have yet to be impressed with any of the local disc jockeys. that’s right, i called them by their full names, isn’t that what your parents do when you aren’t acting right? because these folks are not (acting right).

i always know when the dj is good because i don’t leave the dance floor, i pass out from exhaustion when i get home, and my body hurts the next day from working it out all night. if i hear an entire song, it had better be something so hot that it’s going to blow up the air waves in a month (because good djs play music you haven’t heard on the radio) or it had better be the end of the night! if my hips stop moving or i have to pause and catch the beat, you, mr. dj, are NOT doing your job! and the cardinal sin of djing is dead air. not the “oh no, the speaker went out” or “the power just died” dead air, the “i waited too long to cue up a record, and the previous song has come to and end” dead air. a dj should not just be a glorified record player, he (or she!) should be an artist, like the french say it.

i want to hear more than 2 songs in ten minutes, i want to hear songs i forgot existed but love so much that i dance too hard on some random dude and then have to escape when he asks for my number. i don’t want to have to ask the dj to “play my song,” because i want to be too busy having a good time to notice that he hasn’t. my hope for the summer, is to find that elusive great night. the one where i walk to my car with a happy glow (you know, the sweat sheen from dancing too hard), shoes in hand because my feet hurt so good, and on my way to some late night after the club food because i have burned enough calories to earn a post game meal. i’ve got two months, let the quest begin…