|Voltron, the OG of robotic animal-driving fighting forces|
Today I want to talk about names. There is power in a name. Doubt me? If you're in a store and yell, "Sir!" odds are that only one or two people will turn around. Do the same thing with "John," and every John in the building will turn your way. When I was younger, I used to name my cars. I guess it gave a feeling of total ownership by bestowing a name upon a machine. When you're younger, your car is your pathway to freedom and destiny, and it must undertake a gravitas that it stops possessing when you're in your 30's and just need a way to get to work.
The first car I drove was my dad's old Dodge Dynasty. It really wasn't a bad car at all. And hey, it was more-or-less mine (at least when I had the keys in hand). I called it White Lightning. It was white, but didn't go particularly fast. I had little to no gas money, but a wealth of sarcasm.
The first vehicle that was specifically for me was my 1993 Ford Ranger: The Green Hornet. This truck was awesome! It drove great, had plenty of room to haul stuff around in the back, and by gosh it was mine.
After the Hornet was wrecked (not my fault), I drove my dad's black Mustang for a while. Man that was great! I called it Tupac ShaCar. My best memory with this car was watching my girlfriend/current wife as she helped me wash it before prom. She was properly attired in short shorts and a bikini top and it was fantastic. Just fantastic.
|This is the only way it could have been better, but alas, she doesn't own this outfit.|
Before long I was in The Ghost, a 93 Grand Prix. I liked this car a lot and drove it for probably three or four years. I'll say this though, this was a car that really hated alternators and brakes because it rejected them about every 18 months.
Midway through college I got a Grand Cherokee named Chief Runs-On-Gas. This was my favorite vehicle to date. Plenty of room, ran good, very few repair issues. When the air conditioning went ka-put about four months before Sean was born, I had to replace it.
I did the right thing too... sort of. My wife was about to have a baby, and so I took on the Taurus she had since college and we got her a Grand Caravan. Nice huh? Too bad that van is the biggest piece of crap we have ever, EVER owned. Still I didn't get a new vehicle until a year or so ago when I got a Ford Escape. I haven't named it, maybe it's just not that important anymore since I've got Sean. And no, I haven't been able to get my wife to do another bikini carwash for me. Did I mention how fantastic that was? Just fantastic.
|Pictures do exist, but she would clobber me. Instead, here's Brak.|
Sean is named for two paragons of manliness. Sean comes from Sean Connery, the greatest James Bond of all time and one of those old guys that is so cool he could walk up to the hottest of today's starlets, demand their underwear be placed in his hand, and succeed. His middle name is Logan, because of the X-Men's Wolverine. I had that name picked out since my teens, and I was lucky enough to marry a woman willing to let me go ahead with it. Let me quickly point out that I had "Logan" picked out a decade before everybody named every kid in the world "Logan" so I win.
My first name came from a super-boring source: a baby book. My middle name is Brandon, and my mom got that while looking at a "Where Are They Now?" issue of TV Guide and seeing Brandon Cruz from The Courtship of Eddie's Father. It would be a cool story if even a quarter of the people my age had heard of the show. I usually explain it by saying that Eddie's father was Bill Bixby, aka The Incredible Hulk. Then I walk away sadly decked head-to-toe in denim. I hitchhike down a lonely road with nothing but my hobo pack and melancholy piano music.
|Do do do doooooooo, Do do do doooooooo....|
My dad's name is Fred, and he was named for his grandfather. Let me give you a snapshot of my dad: when we were at the hospital awaiting the birth of my son, we had a wonderful labor and delivery nurse named Tammy. My dad was there, but she didn't know his name. Dad asked her, "Tammy, if a baby boy is born, and he is the ugliest baby you've ever seen, what would be a good name for him?" Her answer was "Ummm...ok...I don't know...Fred?" It was golden. She was immediately embarrassed when she found out that was his name, but he was fishing for it and got her hook, line, and sinker.
I'm not sure why names were on my mind this Father's Day. I guess names represent who we are, and I would not be who I am without the fathers in my life. From my zoot-suit wearing paternal grandfather to my Air Force Veteran paternal grandfather to my dad, who is so assured in his faith that it is awe-inspiring, I owe all that I am as a man to these men. Heck, I'll even throw in my brother, who celebrated his first Father's Day as the father to a precious little girl. I hope you talked to your dad or grandfathers this weekend. If you didn't know them, I hope you called an uncle, a coach, or a neighbor who was a father to you when you needed it. Children need fathers and father figures in their lives, and we all owe them more than we can ever repay.