A Parent’s Sense Of Humor
In my case, I do wish my parents had put more time and thought into naming their first-born. Though it was probably a popular thing to do in the sixties, these days you do not often hear of children named after their parents resulting in surtitles such as “Junior” or “the 3rd.” Those connotations on their own tend to spark an air of snobbiness. There was (and is) no chance of me ever becoming a snob even though I most certainly do possess “Junior” at the end of my name. Just as many of my cousins, we were all named after our fathers.
I would be willing to bet that kids in school were never quite as cruel as the kids in the seventies were. With that, my name is Paul E. Edelman, Jr. That’s right, the initials of my name spell PEE, the same thing as urine, wee, or piss. I do not ever mention my middle name, because even in adulthood, that would only draw more snickers. Teachers would instruct us to write only our initials on class and homework assignments to save time. Of course, then the teachers would have “volunteers” collect the papers, and eventually help to return them. Right there in the top right corner of the paper in capital letters was P.. E.. E., which triggered my classmates with the usual response, “I’ve got pee in my hands.” Thanks, Mom and Dad.
Some of the great nicknames and phrases I had to deal with:
You scared the piss out of me
Be careful, there is PEE on the floor
Yes, kids were cruel. I love my parents and I am proud of my father. But if it is all the same, I could have used a different first name. There was no intuition from my parents to anticipate the ramifications of my naming. The name calling eventually subsided, but only as emotional taunting turned to physical bullying in later elementary and middle school years. A new high school in another district gave me the opportunity to start anew and learn from my personal spelling lessons.
One unintended consequence from my parents naming me Paul, Jr., my wife has now been added to my “torment”. Her name is Wendy. Together, we are now known as PEE-WE. Our daughters have been spared.