When Arthur explained why he’s Arthur, not Art, it reminded me about my aversion to the diminution of my own name, something I clearly inherited from my father.
As I’ve noted, when I was born, my father told his cousins that he was figured out my name, Roger Owen Green, making sure the initials, ROG – pronounced raj – could serve as my nickname. As far as I know, I was not named for anyone.
The name Roger doesn’t lend itself to the common nicknames. William can be Bill, Robert is Bob. Jacob, Michael, Daniel, Benjamin, Matthew, David, and Joseph, to note some boys’ names most popular in 2013, have common shortened forms, though I’m not aware of the same for Noah, Mason, Ethan, or Aiden, for instance.
Roger, BTW, is #584 on the Social Security list of boys’ names in 2014, down from #558 in 2013, and the new lowest ranking, below the #565 in 2012. It’s far from its best showing, #22 in 1945. On the other hand, Owen was up to #38 in both 2012 and 2013, and in 2014, it is up to #36, its highest ranking since the list began in 1880.
Dad was inclined to call me “sport,” which is also what he called his favorite cousin, Sheldon Walker, so that was OK. But that came only from him. Everyone else needed to call me Roger, or Rog. But DEFINITELY NOT Roggie. When some people tried it, especially one of my sisters, it used to make me very angry.
When I was in junior high school, a bunch of us would go by our middle names. I was Owen, Ray Lia was Albert. This guy Walter Sidorenko – not sure of the spelling – who we called Sid, tended to call me Owen Baby. It was oddly OK coming from him.
I was a janitor in Binghamton (NY) City Hall in the spring of 1975, when I dropped out of college, as I’ve mentioned. One of the other janitors -his name escapes me, so I’ll call him Jack – started calling me Flash. It was because I had an eight-hour day, and I got through my routine in about six and a half hours, whereas he and his co-worker Henry would milk their jobs to take the full eight hours by working more slowly. I’d spend the rest of the time, when there was no emergency, reading, or cleaning again the glass doors at the front entrance, which always had fingerprint marks.
Jack, I did not like. In part, it may have been, I must admit because he had two children by two women, neither of which he was married to, and was quite boastful about it. So when he, or Henry, following Jack’s lead, would call me Flash, I would act as though I did not hear them at all.
I DID have a library coworker, Anne, who called me Raji, in which the first syllable sounded like the first syllable in rajah, and somehow, she pulled that off.
But most can’t. So Roger or Rog are my preferences, thank you very much.
Why do people say Roger when they’re talking on their CBs — even though the person they’re talking to isn’t named Roger?
Note: I have been nominated by my buddy Lisa over at Peripheral Perceptions to participate in the Five Photos, Five Stories meme, which simply says I should post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge.
The problem is that almost all my posts are stories and have pictures. So I’m cheating and writing only one new post. And I’m nominating YOU!