My real name is John Earle Patrick, Jr. It’s on my driver’s license and diplomas, but I’ve always gone by the nickname “Rick.” Long story short: my grandfather, Earle Patrick, went by the nickname “Pat” all his life, and to avoid confusion with my father’s name, my nickname took the other half of our surname, and I’ve always gone by “Rick.”
However, I now believe it is time for me to change my legal name, since it is offensive on so many levels.
Let us begin by examining my first name “John.” As you may know, john is slang for both a toilet and a prostitute’s customer. This is clearly unacceptable and has hindered my acceptance by others as early as the kindergarten playground, when I was subject to much abuse for having such a moniker.
Next comes the British spelling of the name “Earle.” While a traditional part of family lore, who needs tradition, right? It also seems to signify a kind of elitist British connotation, due to the fact that an earl is an Anglo-Saxon title of nobility. I neither want to offend (a) the lower classes, nor (b) those with origins other than Anglo-Saxon.
Third comes the surname “Patrick.” This is actually Scotch-Irish in origin, as were my ancestors. Two problems surface immediately with regard to this name. First, the Scotch were fond of drinking their Scotch whiskey. I can testify to the fact that many family members were indeed quite fond of the beverage. They were neither moderationists nor abstentionists. I grieve their sins and would like to publicly apologize to all those who were affected by their substance abuse, as well as their descendants, who also suffered from the consequences of my ancestors’ alcoholism. The second problem has to do with the Scottish kilt. At a Scottish Heritage Museum, I learned the phrase “A man in a kilt is a man and a half!” Apparently, they were proud of the rugged and masculine tradition of wearing kilts. However, in today’s world they frankly resemble a woman’s skirt, and I do not want others to think of me as a cross dresser.
Finally, there is the matter of “Junior.” For evidence that this description is pejorative, I simply invite you to view the third Indiana Jones film, in which Indiana’s father refers to him as “Junior,” a term he hates with a passion until his father finally calls him Indiana when he’s about to yield to the temptation of the Holy Grail. Junior seems diminutive, unimportant and of lesser quality or value.
Clearly, I need a new name. My current one reeks of toilets, prostitutes, drinking, cross dressing, elitism and inferiority — all at the same time. How can I possibly witness to others today, lead anyone to Jesus or preach the gospel? My name hinders my ministry. I need a new one.
Help me out, SBC Voices! Call me some names!