Monday, July 27, 2009

What's in a name?

I used to think it was cool that I was named after a saint, but I was also a little freaked out because that saint was beheaded.


How many people are personally acquainted with anyone named Agnes? I'm the only person I personally know with that name, and when I was younger I used to think it was great because it was somewhat unique. There are a whole bunch of Jennifers, Jessicas, Christinas/Kristinas, more than any one person is probably capable of counting. But I'll bet the number of Agneses in the world are countable by any single person.
When I went to the gym for a trial membership, one of the friendly staff introduced herself to me. Her name was Betsy. She was probably around 50 years old with slightly greying hair but she had a very bright personality.

When I finally signed up for full membership several months after my encounter with Betsy, I ran into her again. She approached me and said, "Hi, you're Agnes right?"

I was more stunned than anything. I hadn't been there for months and she managed to recall my name and my face, despite the hundreds of people that walk in and out of the gym every single day.

"Yes," I said. "You remembered?"

"Yeah, my grandmother's name was Agnes. There's not many of you left anymore," she said. She also told me that I could ask her if I had any questions. Then she left me to continue on biking while I pondered on the reason she remembered me: because her grandmother's name was Agnes.
At work there was a point where I answered phone calls for a few months. There was one particular phone call where a lady was desperate to find out if a certain item was in stock. I told her that while we at the time did not have it in stock, we would be more than happy to call the manufacturer of the item and get back to her the following day.

She seemed very happy with the assistance I provided her, asked for my name, then said, "Oh, that's great. My mother's name was Agnes. I think its a sign."
I met Gretchen's pastor when I went to visit her. His name was Eric, and when Gretchen introduced me, he went on to explain that my name meant "lamb."

In the Bible it is taught that Jesus is the shepherd and we are his flock. So my name meant lamb eh?
At Bank of America one day I sat down with a Lebanese banker. She was very friendly and told me about the sick quota-based commissions bankers receive. As she looked down at the paperwork in front of her, she recited my name to herself quietly. Then she said that Agnes is a very unique Catholic name. Then she went on about how she went to a Catholic school but that she was an Orthodox. "Orthodoxes and Catholics are very close, its just that we have different saints," she explained. "Do you practice [Catholicism]?"

I went along with the small talk, but I was more focused on how she reminded me again that my name had religious significance.
Gretchen has my number under "Angus Beef" in her cell phone. When she told her boyfriend that the number belonged to me, he said, "Who names their kid Agnes?"

I couldn't help but wonder the same question...
So, in short my name is more uncommon than a lot of other names. I am not acquainted with anyone else named Agnes in my age range. All the other Agneses I know are older. But my name really could be worse. Had I been a boy my mom said she would have named me Dion Paolo. Nothing wrong with that name... I just couldn't imagine being a guy named Dion Paolo.

Regardless, its not a name that defines a person anyway.

1 comment:

  1. We have Agnes McPhetres here in Saipan, if you may recall. And there is Mother Teresa of Calcutta whose real name is Agnes ....