Thursday, September 25, 2008
Pete & Repeat
I used to hate my name. Even as a five-year-old I thought it was really nerdy.
I wanted to be called something more normal and mainstream (years before the extrovert's desperate bid for attention kicked in). I wanted a name that was more American. I started writing 'John' on all of my kindergarten art work.
"Look what I made for you at school!" I'd proudly announce to my mom.
She thought I had taken the wrong Crayola masterpiece home with me.
"You'd better take this back to whoever John is," she told me.
"No, that's me," I tried to explain. "I'm John, now."
"No," my father said, "you're Peter and you'll always be Peter."
The name Peter is such an easy target for nicknames and teasing - Peter Pan, Peter Piper, Peter Rabbit, Peter Parker (although, being associated with Spiderman wasn't so bad) Peter-Peter Pumpkin Eater . . . Peter-eater.
Okay, that last one became a given. But back then, who knew?
Even in the suburbs of Tokyo, my Japanese classmates called me Peter Pan ("Pee-tah Pan"), which, in the Japanese language, naturally evolves into Peter Pan-tsu. The literal translation of that is 'Peter Underpants.'
I eventually learned to joke about it, myself:
"Peter-Peter, pumpkin eater
Had a wife and would not eat her
Put her in a pumpkin shell
'cause he did not like her smell"
There are worse things than being born a boy named Peter, however. My parents had names picked out before I was born. If I had been a girl, my name would be 'Arlette.'
Blech. No thanks!
(Thanks to Sunshine and her post on alternate names for inspiring today's entry!)