Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Name's a Name

I have a strange name - apparently. My full first name is Christian. A name usually reserved for men. My Dad wanted to name me after my mom, Christine, but my mom didn't like that. She didn't want any pressure for me to feel I needed to be like her. Whew! Thanks mom. So instead, they chose Christian. I don't know how or why, they just did.

I had it better than my sister I think, she was named after my dad's girlfriend of the time - although he was married to my mom. She has since redeemed her name and made it her own. She's an awesome sister.

When I was a kid I was always mistaken for a boy because my mom made me cut my hair super short and go by my full name. I hated it. Now that I'm an adult I go by "Chris" and most people assume it's short for Christine, Christina, etc. So when I run into an 'official" issue I usually get the run around about whether or not I'm really Christian Zupke. Sometimes I get somebody really stupid and even after I show them two forms of picture ID as well as my social security card, Zoo membership card, etc. they still don't believe me (because I'm so cool someone would want to pretend to be me), but have no choice so then they start into why my parents would name me that. Seriously? Just take my information and keep your opinion to yourself. I mean, what special name have you reserved for your kid? Is Christian really that strange?

We named our son Zachary. Now as far as I know Zachary is a fairly old name based upon the name Zacharias which appeared as long ago as the old testament times (see said book in the bible KJV). Note the spelling - ZACHarias. So why is it that everyone wants to spell it ZACK? Are we really that stupid as a society that we can't even spell names right (I'm sorry if you named your child Zackary - you spelled it wrong). This is a phonetic spelling - another words it's spelled for people who can't read properly - is that who we are as a society? It drives me crazy when I see people spell his name wrong. People also rib us because Zach's middle name is Heinz. He is named after Paul's father who was one of the best people to ever be placed on this earth. Paul loved him, I loved him and we considered it an honor for us to be able to name our son after him. We wanted to have Heinz be Zach's first name, but we were afraid he would get teased too much - I guess we were right because people tell us we should have named him Zach Del Monte Zupke.

Paul was a substitute teacher a number of years ago and had two kids in his class who's names were Orangejello and Lemonjello. Pronounced O-raan-ge-lo and Le-mon-ge-lo (think French pronunciation).

When I was in high school we had an English teacher who freaked out every time we pronounced a certain Shakespeare character's name incorrectly. I don't even remember which character it was, but most of us were pronouncing it - you guessed it phonetically as we saw it. He lectured us for two days about how important it is to pronounce someones name right, how disrespectful it was not to. After a day and a half of this lecture I got tired of it and asked him how HE knew how to pronounce the name. Did he know Shakespeare personally? For all he knew HE was pronouncing it wrong. I earned a detention for that one, but to this day I still think I'm right.

I guess my point is a name is one of those things a parent agonizes over for close to 9 months and then worries afterward if they chose the right one. It usually has a lot of meaning - I know Zach's does, all three parts. I don't know exactly why my parents named me Christian, I doubt they even remember why anymore. I do know that I love my name now. It's unusual, it's cool and I'm proud of it. At the very least I get to make jokes about being transgender (when Zach isn't around) and freaking out the rude people who decide to be nosy and question it.

1 comment:

  1. my name is robin. yeah, got alot of teasing for that. everyone who ever made a "batman" joke acted like they were the VERY first person EVER to think of a batman joke to me. wow. you're so original. i like my name now though.

    i think Heinz is a fantastic name. we wanted to name our son an old fashioned german name and Heinz was on our list. but being from pittsburgh, yeah, it just wouldn't have worked. so we went for Conrad. so far, no bad spellings or pronounciations on it. but i'm sure we'll get some.