I’ve been asked by many how I got my real name. You see, I’m a Junior. My real first and middle name is Dale Allen, Junior. There- I’ve said it. Let the Doctor’s deep dark secret spread and profligate on this demonic beast that is the Internet!
In addition to being a Junior, I have a name that is distinctly from an era immediately preceding the second World War. I have a name that is more at home during the Cold War than during the 70’s and 80’s; when I grew up. If you’ve never lived with this archaic and unfortunate quirk of nomenclature, you’ve never felt the shame of TRUE playground taunting. Some of my friends reading this have heard this story, others haven’t. So, now, I share my shame with the rest of the world.
You see, when I was created in that mad burst of gamete and ova melding – it was the first year in that crazy, groovy decade called the 70’s. My father, a police officer and only freshly out of college, had met my mother at the end of the summer of love. Sometime in April or May of 1970 they found out they were soon to be burdened with a bouncing bundle of infant joy. At that time, there was no way of knowing the sex of a baby, but my mother knew early on that I was going to be a boy. She could feel it.
So began the arduous task of choosing baby names. They never really came up with a girl’s name due to my mother’s persistent belief that I was to be a boy. (For all I knew, my mother and grandmother had done some strange, Old World, Irish divining of some sort). Needless to say, my mother and father quickly came to an impasse when it came to my name. My mother wanted me to be a Paul James (Paul was decidedly Catholic, and James was her favorite brother’s name). My father got it into his head that he wanted me named after him.
“Dammit,” he exclaimed on numerous occasions, “My boy, the fruit of my loins, will bear my name! It’s tradition, it’s my legacy; my immortality!”
“That’s nice, Dale,” she would say, “but there’s no fucking way you’ll name him after yourself! I will not have a Junior!”
“We will too,” my Dad argued, “I’m the man! You’ll listen to me, woman.”
And, although it was the 70’s, my mother gave him such a withering look that he realized that to further pursue this line of thought would result in significant pain and injury. Especially to the very same organs responsible for the current need to come up with baby names in the first place. So my father walked away, grumbling and resentful that he wasn’t necessarily the wearer of the pants. It should be noted that all husbands come to this realization at some point, but it makes it no easier a pill to swallow. It is hard to admit that your will has been broken.
So, I was officially to be a Paul James. My parents went on with the preparations for my eventual spawning. Spring bloomed into summer. Summer withered into autumn. And autumn gave way to the deathly cold of a northern Ohio winter. It was there - just past the threshold that is winter and on a cold and snowy December night - that I came squalling and shrieking into the world. Dogs stopped barking, the moon turned blood red in the winter sky, and people shivered in their warm beds; knowing in the dark part of their minds that something evil had come into being.
But that’s another story.
Back to my name. So, the doctor, after slapping me on my undead ass turned to my mother and said, “Mrs. Zombie, you have a beautiful baby boy. Never mind the cloven hooves; we can remove those later. Any way, you have a baby boy. We need to fill out the birth certificate. What would you like to name him?”
My mother, being heavily sedated and on various mind-numbing painkillers, said, “Greeblegrox Bunglesterm”
The doctor frowned. Besides being unable to spell that, he was certain that was not what she really wanted. So he went out to the waiting room and found my father.
“Mr. Zombie,” he said, “you have a beautiful baby boy. Never mind the forked tongue; we can sew the ends together. Anyway, you have a baby boy. We need to fill out the birth certificate. We asked your wife, but aren’t really sure what she said. So, what would you like to name him?”
“Pau…” my father started, and suddenly stopped. All have his resentment and all of his arrogant beliefs in a legacy and immortality were suddenly at the fore of his devious mind. He made a decision then. A decision filled with guile and deviousness. Thoughts of potential schoolyard taunts of “Junior” never crossed his mind. Thoughts of a child having to explain that, yes, his name actually had a comma in it never came to mind. Thoughts of years of therapy for that same child when he was an adult never came to mind. None of that happened. It was at that moment that my father found himself at a cross roads… and he choice the wrong path.
With a wide, proud smile, he said, “Dale. His name will be Dale Allen, Junior.”
Somewhere, in a nursery in another part of the hospital, a small infant began to cry…