A Casual Essay Composed July 2009, writing with kids In the Word Up! Youth Writing Camp this past week at Louisiana State University-Eunice.
Me llamo David. Je m’apelle David. My name is David. The same in many languages.
I’m named after a very famous Hebrew king of Old Testament antiquity. After my oldest sister got the only secular name in the family (“Janice”), Mama, out of an act of Christian consecration, determined to give strong biblical names to the four of us who followed. On that basis, I could have been named Methuselah Pulling. Or Habakkuk Pulling. Or Festus Pulling.
Or how about Zepho Pulling? (He was one of Esau’s sons. Sounds like the nickname for a gangstah.)
So David wasn’t bad, considering what could have been.
The conclusion of the playful analysis from this writing exercise, whether we like our names or not, is that names are for parents. And mostly for moms. Like Sarah declared to me when we were thinking of names for our kids and she didn’t care for my suggestions, “When you can climb on that table in the delivery room and have the baby, then you can name the baby!”
Yes, naming babies is the privilege of maternity. So I am David because my mom liked the name above all other possibilities. And, she never consulted me in the choice. I live with the result, and “Hey, it’s OK.” If naming me David made her happy and proud, then I’m happy and proud, too, because without her, I would not only NOT be David, I would not BE! And I truly do like ME!