July 03, 2002

Hwu's on First? Well

Hwu's on First?

Well I want to say that I am just happy that merely by virtue of my NAME I have been able to bring so much joy into the world. Grant you, I have always thought it WAS a funny name. Partly, I reckon there's humor in the alliteration...like Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Huckleberry Hound. For some reason, that amuses.

"Fred" also must be an inherently funny first name. Fred Flintstone; J Fred Muggs the monkey; Fred Mertz. I use Frederick whenever I want to be taken seriously. Which is not often.

I have never quite forgiven my estranged father's estranged step-father for having such an goofy last name. Yeah, step father. My genes aren't First genes even! I as supposed to be Strickland. Nor have I forgiven my parents for perpetuating this injury of nomenclature. My father was Fred, and now I am Fred Jr., or, Fred First, the second. That's right. FRED FIRST. Try not to spit all over yourself when you say it.

"Please state your last name" she demanded. "First", I answer. The nice lady glowers. Smart alek, she thinks.

But there is the thrill of making a joke out of my name that has been available to every one of the thousands who have thought that he or she was the first, so to speak, to ever contrive such wittiness re my name. They crack their selves up. Ha Ha.

"Bet you're never last!" "Where's Frank Third?" "Is your brother Larry Second?" And there is always the inevitable: "Who's on First?"

That was especially a problem back when I was teaching at the community college. Wouldn't you know, there was a Chinese physics professor whose last name, unfortunately, was Hwu, pronounced WHO. We caught hell from faculty and students alike. I'm not sure he ever got the joke, with Abbot and Costello not being extremely popular back in his country. Crazy Americans.

What has incited this name-blame is the fact that today, for what reason I can only speculate, someone found my weblog by searching Yahoo for 'fred first'. Maybe they were looking for Fred First Ford of Someplace, Indiana. Also found is Fred's first trip to the hospital, all about Mr. Rogers' really scarry surgery thing. I dunno. I just thought it was weird to be 'searched for' by my name on Yahoo. Weirder than that, Fragments from Floyd is listed second among the thousands of hits for 'fred first'. I guess the searchers found me. Now what?

You know, I have always known that if I had been born Frederick Strickland I coulda been marked for greatness...a Man of Destiny. A CEO of a multinational corporation, a renowned statesman, a federal judge. That's a name that demands respect, sounds solid and refined.

But "Who's on Strickland?" That's not funny.

Posted by fred1st at July 3, 2002 05:51 AM
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