A Jake by any other name…

Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?

I was born in the early 70s and my parents named me after a John Wayne character in a film, Jacob ‘Big Jake’ McCandles. I think I was nearly a Jack, after my grandfather. I would have liked that I think. But they gave me the name Jake.

In England in the 70s and 80s almost no one except me and fictional characters were called Jake or Jacob. Me, Big Jake, Jake the peg with his peg-leg, oh and my friends dog, Jake. Nobody my age had seen the John Wayne film.

There is a funny annoying song about Jake the peg.

Needless to say I got called ‘Jake the peg’ plenty and asked about my ‘extra leg’.

‘Jake the snake’ Yep, good one. I also found out that in some places a ‘jake’ means a mans penis. Disappointing. But then again you could call your thing your ‘Arthur’ and it would make as much sense. In fact maybe I’ll start doing just that.*

*No. Just no. For Arthurs’ sake no.

You could guess that in my early years I yearned for a more usual name. One less subject to the poking of fun. Then again any name can be played with and turned into an insult so you may as well have one that’s distinctive. And learn to make jokes back. That’s the fun of teasing as long as you don’t take it all to heart.

Would I have changed my name. Maybe I thought about it. Jason Carter would be a more heroic name and easier to spell and pronounce. Jack Steel, that’s a solid name for a man. Then again my name is part of what makes me, me. So it stays. For now. Or for always.

I like my name. It’s mine.