A LIST ABOUT NAMES
and how obtuse I was in school.
- •Graduate school was only three semesters, but each semester was a fresh horror. In grad school, you are mostly concerned with not sounding stupid. This was stressful. But we were all stupid, which I realize now. But then, the stakes seemed higher.
- •Anyway, you had to take a certain number of the highest-level courses. Like, the hardest courses. I think it was like two. So I took two of those classes. The one class was called Theory of Composition.
- •I remember trying to find out what composition was before I took the class. In my defense, the Internet was not as robust as it is now. A general search for composition did not yield the results that it does today.
- •This is more of an aside, but I had already completed the course before I really understood what composition was.
- •Anyway, what should have tipped me off was that the class was filled with teachers of freshman composition, or writing, as it were.
- •I haven't even started the story. The class was taught by Professor Tom Newkirk. The first day, he asked everyone to share a story about his or her name. As a way of introducing ourselves.
- •It turned out everyone had a story about their names.
- •Tom Newkirk went last. He said he was the first person in his family to go to college. His dad hadn't finished high school, but loved Shakespeare. Growing up, Tom remembers his dad telling him, over and over, "Boy, I named you for a fool."
- •It wasn't until Tom was in college, reading Shakespeare, when he realized his father had named him after the fool in King Lear. And as Tom continued his studies, he learned that fools are devices used by Shakespeare to introduce truth and wisdom among the characters and to the audience.
- •I loved that story. 🙃
- •I was named Elizabeth, after my mother's mother.
- •When I was little, I was always busy. So they called me Bizzy or Bizzer. My brothers shortened it to Biz. (My sister, who is the eldest and thirteen years older than I am, has never once called me Biz. My brothers have never called me Elizabeth.)
- •About 10 years ago, I was looking at snapshots of my grandmother, the one I'm named after. On the back of the picture of her friend and her at Lake Erie was written "me and Biz at the lake." No one had realized that she, as a young person, had gone by "Biz."
- •At certain jobs, they won't let me use the name Biz. They say it's unprofessional.
- •Happy Sunday y'all.