The quote in the title is, of course from Act II, Scene II of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The words, spoken by Juliet were an attempt to get Romeo to shed his family name, Montague so that the two young lovers could enjoy a happy ever-after.
As a modern-day Shakespeare might put it, that was so not to be.
Family feuds aside, I think that names are very important. What we call people and how we label things seem to have a significant impact on how we view those people and those things. It’s a psychological thing, which makes it very important, indeed.
Take the name, “Mitt” for example. I would never hire a guy named Mitt, much less vote for him for president. I would, however allow him to take hot dishes out of the oven, since that’s what mitts are for.
The name, “Barack” is a little weird, too, but at least it doesn’t sound like “mutt.”
Every girl I knew in high school and college named, “Melody” was a nymphomaniac. At least, that’s what we used to call them, way back when. Nowadays we might refer to them as “liberated” or “sexually active.”
I dated a “Melanie” once, but either she didn’t realize how much her name sounded like “Melody” or she just didn’t get the memo.
Guys named, “Leonard”, especially if they’re Jewish seem to be in a hurry to grow old and turn into their fathers. Or grandfathers. Lenny Bruce may have been the exception, but his premature death makes any speculation into his psyche difficult.
Some words are so powerful that we can only refer to them by their first letters, like the N-word and the F-bomb. It’s likely that Paula Deen dropped a few of those F-bombs when her use of the N-word leaked out.
The most enigmatic of all names are those used to refer to God. Indian Christians have a list of 950 names of God, while the Kabbalah lists 72. Muslims refer to their visage of God as Allah.
Jews are the most meticulous about the “Thou-shalt-not-take-the-Lord’s-name-in-vain” thing. Unless in devout prayer, observant Jews will not utter the name of the Lord and they will not write it. “G-d” would be the closest one would come to writing out the English reference, but I’m not sure how that applies to its digital appearance.
Religious Jews usually refer to God by the name, “Ha-Shem,” which literally means, “the name.” Yahweh and Jehovah are other non-God names invented to avoid using the Hebrew word “Adonai.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses decided that the only proper way to pray was to use the word, “Jehovah.” They apparently misinterpreted the Jews’ use of the word, just as they misinterpret your desire to have them ring your door bell while you’re eating dinner.
I was thinking about this whole, “What’s-in-a-name?” thing this morning as I was wandering around Costco. I ordered a Diet Coke at the food counter and couldn’t help noticing that the guy’s name tag read, “Heyu.”
I didn’t want to offend heyu, in case it was a family moniker or some ethnic thing, but it piqued my curiosity. It could have been his real name. Wasn’t Woody Harrelson’s name in Hunger Games, “Hey Mitch?”
As it turned out, Heyu was not his real name, he said that was just what everyone at Costco called him. I’m guessing his supervisor hadn’t seen the name tag yet.
Today’s world is a complex minefield of politically correct names and references. The people we used to think were Oriental are really Asian. I guess that makes sense, but I still think Oriental sounds more exotic.
There’s a hundred groups of hyphenated-Americans, not all of which have anything to do with a person’s lineage.
We have to be careful how we refer to people who might be driven to fly airplanes into skyscrapers, lest we offend one of the groups of their provenance.
Juliet certainly had her problems with the parental units, and all, but the tragedy is that she never got a chance to wake up and smell the roses.
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