“His Name Is BLUE!”


There’s a story in my family that goes something like this – on the morning a very small person first came into the world, my dad called up first his parents and then his older brother and said, simply, “His name is BLUE.”

The very small person who bore that symbol of my dad’s unconventionality, of course, was me. And it was something I struggled with for many years until one day I didn’t anymore – one day, around my first year of college or so, I realized not only that having a unique name wasn’t the worst thing in the world, but also that it was a way to show people how cool my dad was.

It may sound strange, in this age of Keegans and Javins and Declans and Madysynns, to think that an unusual name could be cause for consternation in a young man’s mind. But it’s true – indeed, by first grade, I declared that I NEVER wanted to be called “Blue again. I would rather be one of a half-dozen kids named “Chris” in my grade than the only person I knew named “Blue.” I insisted that my parents and family call me Chris and would rage against those who reminded me of my unique name, not realizing, perhaps, that they weren’t making fun, but asking what kind of person might have thought to name their son “Blue.”

That person was, of course, my dad – the name evoked a certain American-ness, a hearkening to the wide-open spaces of the Westerns of his youth and the alluring open road of his late teens and twenties, a time when he crisscrossed the country as so many other hippie-tinged baby boomers did in search of some alternative to what they saw as the staid, anti-romantic America reality of their parents.

As I mentioned above, I came to terms with my name when I was in college – by then I realized the value of having a name that people remembered – but my dad, ever the contrarian, steadfastly insisted on calling me Chris, the name I insisted he call me at age seven.

But I could tell that every time I corrected him as he introduced me – “It’s BLUE, actually” – that he was proud that I had come around. And come around I had, realizing that there are worse things than walking around as a living, breathing symbol of one man’s uniqueness.



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