What's in a name?

At a very young age I recall thinking that my parents somehow had it in for me by choosing the name “Kevin.”

While you may think this is somewhat of a normal name, it just didn't have the same ring to it as other people with the truly NEAT names. You know ones like Pugs, Clint, Cody, Jesse and other names with a certain historical reference or Hollywood coolness about them.

Some kids had all the luck at christening and, because of their cool names, were given opportunities the rest us missed out on. A coach looking down the bench just naturally gravitates to a Casey or Jack or even a Billy without giving the rest of us a second glance.

Some kids are also lucky to have a cool middle name and, if the first name is a tad old fashion, they can go by their middle one. My friend Margaret, thinking that exact thing, was able to go by her middle name Anne which became Annie and just like that, a star was born. Who cannot like an Annie or Jeannie or other named ending in “ie?”

My girlfriend Paula, now known as Trixie to all of you so that she doesn't know when I am writing about her, decided at an early age that she didn't like her given name so told her parents (Billie and Shot, now who wouldn’t like to be called “Shot,” by the way) that she liked Sandy or Christy or just about anything that wasn’t “Paula.” But, Paula is what she remains.

My dad wanted to name me Kirk Patrick Kirkpatrick and thereby seal my doom everlasting among mankind. Thank God for a loving mother who at least saw fit to give me a name OTHER than that. My grandmother was shooting for James McClain, a mix of my great grandfathers’ names, and that certainly has a cowboy sound to it. I might have been famous if not for my mother and father.

Not being satisfied with assigning me the name Kevin, my parents then tagged on my dad and grandfather’s name, “Fred,” as my middle name. Now if your name is Fred, I think that's a fine name but it just didn't leave me with that nifty middle name to save the day when I wanted to be cool. 

My own children, Kellee and Kody, have cool names. Since I got so much input into the names, however, their mother chose how to spell them. She did her best to ensure that both kids could never get a mug or keychain at the state fair by spelling them weird.

“Kelly” and “Cody” souvenirs are a dime a dozen, but nothing for my “Kellee” or “Kody.” Of course we saved a ton of money on vacation as they never could find their names on any of the items in the shops.

Having lived as a Kevin all this time, I decided to change my name to something neat or at least nifty. 

My neighbor back in Kansas always talked about his dad, Bubs, and Bubs’ best friend, Dutch. It was always “Bubs said this” or “Dutch did that.”

Coupled that with my appreciation for Ronald “Dutch” Reagan  in those Death Valley days movies he hosted Saturday afternoons and I had my nickname, “Dutch.”

Let me advise you, if you are going to change your name, you will encounter resistance among family and friends who forget you now are one of the cool people and no longer merely a “Kevin.”

Try as I may they keep annoying me with this issue and in fact, have a silly grin whenever I ask them to call me “Dutch.”  They act like it’s some inside joke on a slightly crazed man but they tolerate me and ever so often, get it right. I then smile, lean back looking cool and say to myself, “that’s right, I’m Dutch.”

Trout Republic reader, if you are suffering from some name that a mom or dad or other relative tagged you with, celebrate this week by choosing your own name. Get moving as life is passing you by with the benefits the neat named people have had all along. The names are out there and it cost nothing to choose Chase or Kelsey or Trace or whatever you’ve always wanted. 

Speaking of “cool” names, Cooper and I are in Kansas bow hunting for deer this week. Cooper is nervous being on the road, but he will grow to love the warmth as we move South.  You can catch up with us on TroutRepublic.com. Wherever today finds you, get out and enjoy the blessings of the great outdoors. It’s free of charge and the memories you make last a lifetime.