Saturday, 27 February 2016

We Need New Names: Musings

My name, as far as my family and all those who know me through my family are concerned, is Boy. Yes, Boy, and no, it is not a metaphor. It does not stand for something awesome; it is not an abbreviation for beautiful or awesome in Spanish or Latin or Singhalese, it is not an anagram of my real name, it does not mean something different: at best, it is a term of endearment and at worst it is offensive, derogatory: a male servant. In some dictionaries Boy is a synonym for Sweetheart, Beau. But isn’t that the thing with synonyms? A is not a synonym for B if B refuses to be a synonym for A. They are like relationships, synonyms, we cannot force it, you cannot force something to mean something: Sweetheart is not a synonym for Boy. I have been called Boy all my life, as a matter of fact, I have been called Boy more times than I have been called my actual name which was given me on the day of my naming, BOMI EHIMONY . It began, of course, as a pet name, one which would endear me to people, perhaps – an expression of affection, a syllabi of fondness of some sort. However, from my point of view, for the last few years, this expression of affection and fondness has spiralled and has mostly become incomprehensible. How is it endearing to call a person in his mid-twenties looking to start a life Boy?
And this is the thing with names, isn’t it? I have read a million times: The Shakespearian idea about names is that there is nothing in a name. In Romeo and Juliet, Juliet went on and on about how a name does not really matter and is just a name. 'What’s in a name?' Juliet asked Romeo. 'That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.' And I agree with Juliet’s logic to an extent. But this fact is ineluctable: a name is among the first and arguably the most important gifts you are given when you come into this world but even more, a name is an introduction, it is, in my mind, the simplest yet most potent first impression there is.
In December of last year, I thought about warning everybody to stop with the nonsense. You don’t call an adult Boy because you like him, I thought. And truly, the name was becoming somewhat embarrassing. Especially when it came from people whose only knowledge about me was the fact that I am called that. And then people who would stand by the gate and shout BOY! on the absolute top of their lungs and expect me to show up. But this is why we are blessed with the gift of thought, thank God. I thought about it for days and I realized that we are defined not by what we are called but by what we are. So I let it be. I suspect that I would never stop being called boy but I also suspect that I would never mind too much.

Till next time,, Keep dreaming!

3 comments:

Yori Ehimony Jnr said...

Worry not, i will extend your greviances to tje rest of the fam. Atleast now you know how i feel being called Junior.

champ king said...

Lol!

champ king said...

Lol!