Last night I had a dream. I awoke from this dream and couldn’t go back to sleep. Even when my eyeballs were yo-yoing out of my head. Even when I had that gritty eye ball feeling that requires chop sticks to prop your eye lids open.
But I happened to be out of chop sticks. So I used my fingers.
In my dream, I didn’t appear on stage in a diaper. My mum had a normal head on her torso. I didn’t get pulverized by a tidal wave and discover my super cool underwater-breathing super power just as I thought I’d blow a brain vein from lack of oxygen.
Nope. Someone said a name. And my beauty slumber was banished to the planet Gonozzz.
I now request permission to rant.
‘PERMISSION TO RANT, SIR!’
‘Request acknowledged, soldier.’
‘THANK YOU, SIR!’
‘State your reason for this request.’
‘Why do you need chop sticks, soldier?’
‘FOR EYE BALL PROPPING, SIR!’
‘In that case, soldier, request granted.’
‘THANK YOU, SIR!!!!’
There is a great phenomenon in my country surrounding the ability to formulate the correct number of syllables required to say a person’s name.
In other words, we hardly ever say a person’s real name correctly. It is my estimation that this phenomenon leaves the one involving a gazelle, a priest and a rubber ducky far behind and sloshing around in bubbles.
(I must tell you about that sometime.)
Take the name Elizabeth, for instance. Elizabeth is not too hard to say, right? But when do we ever say Elizabeth? Hardly ever. We usually always call them by some variation of Elizabeth. Like maybe Liz.
Then there’s Martin and Marty, Peter and Pete, Olivia and Liv, Jessica and Jess…and so on. It’s like we were born with the unquenchable desire to shorten our fellowman’s name down to one syllable on pain of death.
In Australia, you’ll even hear names like Roger get culled to ‘Rog’. I can only guess it happens elsewhere.
Last night in my dream, someone shortened my little brother’s name. Out of every name on this great massive planet of ours, this name has special meaning for me. Maybe because it’s the name of a special little six year old. Maybe because it’s mostly remain unshortened to this day – a precious and holy thing in my sight. Amen. Maybe because I was there when it was said for the first time.
Or maybe because I was left out of the barrel of Name Shortening people. They must have picked me up as a baby and said, ‘Nah, she’s no good’ and tossed me in the basket labeled ‘Sentimentally Odd’. Because the honest truth of it is, I feel like crying when someone shortens my little brother’s name. Actually, I lie. I feel like the Queen of Hearts, screaming ‘Off with their heads!’ and sending my army of cards to BBQ someone. But after that I feel like crying.
So what’s wrong with our names? Why do we have to change them? It saddens me to watch a nickname commit gruesome and unholy murder on a real one.
So I will leave you with these final two thoughts.
1. Names are beautiful things. If your name hasn’t already been shortened and people haven’t already forgotten what your real one is, keep it that way. Don’t murder it.
Unless your parents named you Ogbay in which case I give you permission to assume a nickname.
2. If you abbreviate my little brother’s name, don’t be surprised to find me launching myself at you, screaming ‘Off with his head!’. You’ll find yourself flat on the ground in an arm bar lock, but don’t worry too much.
I still love you. You just have to solemnly vowel never to breath the word ‘Matty’ or ‘Matt’ again. It’s Matthew, it’s pure, innocent and unshortened. And I am the angel of The Unshortened.
And I have a really pointy sword.
Which I now have to go forge.
So do we have a deal?
xx The Girl in Trousers