I farted, and it got me thinking about names.
Names used to have meaning, over and above the person to whom they were given. Several North American native tribes had a concept called “spirit name”, which is given to a tribe member later on in life. You might have one name growing up, but at a coming of age ceremony, you’d get another name, carefully selected by tribal elders. It might reflect your nascent personality, or perhaps give you an ideal to work towards – hopefully both. If your name was “flying eagle”, you’d better set your sights high – you need to live up to your name.
In European traditions, one was often given the name of someone in the family. The original idea here was twofold: one was to honour the ancestor for some reason, and the other, I believe, was to give the young child someone to look up to, someone of quality character to aspire to be. This really only worked well if the family was close, and the kid with the name got to know and respect the ancestor like the parents obviously did.
With society getting more and more self-centered over the past few generations, those ideas are getting lost. Names are pleasant-sounding, fashionable labels – a way to differentiate yourself in a group of other humans. Names used to serve as a connection to something outside of yourself, something bigger, something to aspire to.
I farted, and it got me thinking about names. Mine would be “Farts Pungently”.